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Monday, May 13, 2013

EatWell Natural Farm Week 8

Hakurei Turnips, Turnip Greens and Spinach

The harvests are getting a little bigger each week as the weather warms up and the days get longer. This week I harvested Radishes, Spinach and Turnip Greens again and added Hakurei turnips to the mix. They are a small, white salad turnip and one of my favorite vegetables. 

Hakurei Turnips

Of course we also harvested Mint, Sage and Thyme and I even got a little help from my mom who came to visit me for Mother's Day weekend. 

PuttingMom to work harvesting Mint

And check it out! Our first Strawberry of the season! This was a very pleasant surprise. I have averaged one ripe strawberry a day since Saturday but there are hundreds that are just around the corner. Hopefully I will be bringing them to the restaurants next weekend.

First Strawberry of the year. It was delicious. :)

Production and Distribution

So we have this stable at the farm and one of the rooms had a concrete floor. The room already seemed to stay cooler than the rest of the building so it was an ideal place to build our cool room. Our handy dandy carpenter Ray insulated and sealed the room and installed a wall unit AC and some shelves. It was finished just in time to store Friday's harvest for an early Saturday delivery. And a good thing too because everything would not have fit in the fridge I had been using. 
Framing it out

Voila! A cool room. 

Saturday morning my mom and I got up early, finished harvesting and packing and headed into town with deliveries for Grillfish, Logan Tavern, Commissary and the Pig.

Mom modeling the Logan Tavern delivery

Cultivation and Maintenance

4 3/4" of rain in 36 hours
Rain, Rain, Rain. We had A LOT of rain this week. It actually gave me time to do some research and go to the Farm Services Agency to begin applying for a grant for a high tunnel. Most farms are eligible for grants through the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). I am applying for an Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) grant. It requires coming up with a conservation plan and demonstrating how the project will help protect the land and conserve resources. The cool thing about the high tunnel grant is that the goal is to help local growers extend their season in an environmentally responsible manner. It's really a grant aimed at helping small local producers. The piles of paperwork are daunting but the staff at the NRCS and Farm Services Agency have been walking me through it very graciously. 
Piles of paperwork
2 slugs

I saw the first slugs this week. I only found a few but they were enjoying our spinach.

Future Blueberries!

These green beans exploded after all the rain and then an 80 degree day. I swear I looked at this bed Friday afternoon and there was nothing. By Saturday afternoon the entire 2 rows I planted had emerged and were 4" tall. Incredible. It kind of blew my mind.

Green Beans growing like gangbusters 

I felt a little like a doomsday prepper this week as I took some measures against the upcoming Cicada emergence. We are about to witness the appearance of the 17 year Cicada swarm here in the north east. These crazy bugs only appear above ground once every 17 years when they come up, sing like crazy, mate, lay eggs and die. Then their offspring hatch, burrow underground and come back 17 years later to complete the cycle.

The young cicadas are nymphs and emerge from the ground and try to find a tree where they will eat the leaves and then morph into their adult form. The adults fly around, sing and mate and the females lay eggs. It's the egg laying process that we are worried about here. You see, these ladies have a serrated ovipositor. That is to say they saw into small branches to lay their eggs inside. They prefer branches that are pencil width or smaller. Once female can lay eggs in several branches and each branch can die because she does that much damage. If all the tips of branches on a young fruit tree die then the tree is pretty much doomed. So, we picked a great year to plant a fruit orchard.

There is a way to save the trees. We just have to keep the female cicadas from landing on the branches. Solution? Netting. If you come to the farm now you will see the entire orchard and our chestnut trees covered in 1/4" netting. It looks weird but it should work.
Cicada Netting

Cicada proof pear tree

Move it along lady cicada, nothing to see here.


Remember those Squash, Zucchini and Cucumber seeds that got dug up by the mouse and stored in my boot? That was a weird morning for me, but I replanted all those seeds and they sprouted and grew up nicely. This week they were ready to go in the ground. I transplanted them out into the field. The varieties are all mixed up but I think I at least got the cucumbers together and the Squash/Zucchini together. 

How to lay drip tape when you're working alone

2 rows of transplants in


Once I got all the plants in the ground I covered them with a floating row cover. This is a fabric held up by fiberglass poles. It allows sunlight and water to pass through but it keeps bugs out. These plants are cucurbits and are very susceptible to damage and disease transmitted by bugs. This will help them to grow strong before they have to deal with fighting off diseases. Once they bloom though I will have to remove the cover so that their flowers can be pollinated.

Floating row cover in place

Eating Well

I enjoyed two great meals at EatWell Restaurants this week. Friday night I picked my mom up from the airport and we met some friends for dinner at Grillfish. Between the excitement of my mom's visit and the atmosphere at the restaurant I completely forgot to take pictures. :(  I loved my meal though, I had the daily pasta which was beet and ricotta. The rest of the table ordered Rainbow Trout, Scallops and Swordfish and everyone loved their plate. 

Saturday after making deliveries my mom and I got to have brunch at Logan Tavern. I had the vegetarian benedict and it was SO tasty. We also enjoyed a freshly made blueberry jam. 

One of my favorite things about this farm is getting to see what the chefs come up with for the veggies I deliver. This week Chef Milanes at Grillfish displayed the Hakurei Turnips beautifully and made a gorgeous salad out of the radishes.

Logan Tavern also featured the Hakureis sauteed with pearl onions served with a Ribeye Steak.

Puddy Time

Watching the rain

Ridin with my mom

Puddy and Maddie, farm friends

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