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Monday, August 26, 2013

EatWell Natural Farm Week 23

Well, that hint of fall weather last week sure was nice but summer came back strong this week. There were some bright sun shiny days with temps back in the low 90s. Maybe it was the heat but I did a horrible job of taking pictures this week. In particular, I had two awesome volunteers on Thursday, Kara and Sarah. They both teach 5th grade in Arlington and believe in good food. They saw the truck making deliveries one day and found me through the website. On Thursday they arrived at 7:30 and worked with Gayle and I all day to do all the harvesting for Friday's delivery. I sent them home with goodie bags of fresh food and they actually said they would come back! Thanks Kara and Sarah! You ladies rock!


Summer harvests are slowing still and a few of the fall crops are coming in slow. I have a list of notes for myself to plant more summer successions and start more fall crops sooner. Timing is so important in farming and I feel like I don't quite have the hang of it yet. This little guy sums up how I feel about this week's harvest:

In the harvest bins this week: Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula (so pretty!), Chard, Squash, lot of Peppers, Green Beans, Baby Beets (the first for the fall), Baby Carrots, Basil, Fennel, Red Leaf Lettuce, Baby Choi, Purslane.

Production and Distribution

Peppers, Green Beans, Squash, Carrots, Basil, Arugula,  and Beets delivered to Grillfish

Cultivation and Maintenance

Here is a little Tomato Hornworm montage for you....
Ready for his close-up
Removed from the tomato plants where he was up to no good

This guy hitched a ride on my sleeve
and made it this far before I saw him

My favorite kind of Hornworm, one that is being eaten by
predator wasp larvae.

The winter squash are coming along....

Baby Pumpkin
Baby Butternut
 Sunday Lane and I went to Lowes to pick up about 2 tons of Organic Composted Manure...



I did a lot of planting this week and didn't manage to get pictures of any of it. Here are some Egyptian Walking Onion Sets, gifts from Chef Del's Nona...

And all of these transplants went in the ground... Broccoli, Lacinato Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Endive, Red and Green Cabbage. 
This is the Broccoli a week ago, it was much bigger going in

Eating Well


Have you heard of Purslane the Wonder Weed? We call it a weed only because it is growing prolifically uninvited. For a while I was pulling it out like all my weeds, just getting it out of the way of the plants I want growing. However, Purslane is quite the stylish garnish right now. It has three times the Omega 3 as Spinach and has stems rich in vitamin C. On top of that it is just plain yummy. The thick red stems and green wedge shaped leaves are succulent and have a peppery flavor. Read more about power-packed Purslane at Mother Earth News.

Our new Chef at Logan Tavern is really excited about the Purslane and used it in this Salmon Dish. You can follow Chef Delian DePietro  on Twitter @deliandipietro and @logantavern
Salmon Garnished with Purslane at Logan Tavern.

Puddy Time

Since I was so lame at taking pictures this week Puddy Time is a scavenger hunt. Go back through all the pictures above and if you find her leave a comment below. Good luck! I promise extra cute puppy pics next week.  (Sorry, Dad)

What I do have is a photo of a huge flock of wild Turkeys in our lower field. When I tried to get closer they ran off into the woods so this is as good a pic as I could get. there were maybe 6 adults and 20 babies. It was so sweet, like a little Turkey nursery. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

EatWell Natural Farm Week 22

What a lovely week it has been. We had an early preview of fall weather with a few days that started in the 50s and stayed below 80 with low humidity. We should be back into the upper 80s by mid week but it was nice while it lasted. 


In the harvest bins this week: Arugula, Chard, Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Squash, the last of the Zucchini and Cucumbers, Green Beans, Butter Beans, Peppers, Fennel, Mint, Basil, and Choi.

The thing about harvesting melons is, it's hard. Each variety has it's own tells on when it is ripe. I cut open this Snow Leopard Honey Dew and it was 70% ripe but could have used a few more days. Hopefully a few melons will be ready next week.

Tomato Harvest with Andrew
Butter beans- we cut the plants and have to pick off all the pods

Gayle harvesting Arugula, cut and come again

Sweet Frying Peppers, we harvest them
once they turn red

Production and Distribution

Double washing Arugula

Arugula-Bagging and Drying

Music and Flowers make washing and packing more pleasant

Friday's delivery to The Pig

Cultivation and Maintenance

I have a new practice with the Arugula. I didn't do it during the spring but right now I am growing it under row cover and the result it incredible. No bugs have gotten in to chew tiny holes and leave scars. This is some of the prettiest Arugula I have seen. I'm quite proud

The gate to the lower field pulled out of its post and had to be re hung. I often find myself using the skills I learned in my high school stage craft classes on the farm. Thanks Mrs Archard and Mr K. I was also reminded of a poem I wrote in Mr LaMore's class...
So much 
depends upon

an eight inch
crescent wrench

tied with
black line

at my hip


No actual planting this week, just lots of care for the seedlings and the seeds that were started last week. I also pulled out a few more summer crops and prepped some beds to transplant and seed more crops next week. 

Eating Well

Summer Salad at Logan Tavern featuring our Cherry Tomatoes

I made an amazing pesto this week using our Purple Basil and Pistachios. It came out incredibly rich and creamy. It's a whole different experience if you are used to pine nuts in your pesto.
  • 2 Cups loosely packed Basil
  • 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/3 Cup Pistachios shelled
  • 2 medium Garlic Cloves
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

In a food processor combine basil, Parmesan cheese, pistachios, and garlic cloves. Pulse until roughly chopped and then slowly adding olive oil until it resembles a thick paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Puddy Time

Chillin our maxin relaxin

Trying to catch something in the mint

Eyeballs deep in the mint. What do you see in there?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

EatWell Natural Farm Week 21

Can you believe it's already mid-August? I can't. It's time for a little time lapse to see where we've been and where we are going...

Field A- April thru August

Field B- April thru August

Weeding, Touring, Picking and Learning
This week we had our last summer restaurant visit from Logan Tavern. These guys were such a huge help. We harvested Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes and weeded all of the fall Chard and Beets together. 


Harvested this week: Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Peppers, Rainbow Chard, Squash, Zucchini, Green Beans, Cucumbers, Fennel, Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Basil and Sunflowers.

Logan Tavern Harvesting Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes

There is progress in the orchard and I harvested and enjoyed the very first fig. It will be the only fig this year, it was small, but delicious.
First Fig from the Orchard
First Fruit

Chapeau de Frade Peppers, super spicy

Island Sunset

Bell Peppers in all the colors

Production and Distribution

Free Boxes at Costco!

Cultivation and Maintenance

Concord Grapes

New from the orchard! On top of the tasty fig, the grapes are starting to color up. They won't be ready to harvest until September but here's a peak at the Concords turning purple...

The big maintenance project this week was pulling out the Collard trap crop. They were COVERED in Harlequin Bugs, adults, babies and eggs. I sprayed them with Pyrethin but it didn't even touch them. So, Gayle and I carefully removed and bagged all the plants bugs included and sealed them in for removal from the farm. Hopefully this action will put a big dent in their population for all of the fall brassicas coming up. After we removed the plants and cleaned the bed I place three Cleome plants in pots. Harlequin Bugs love Cleome. I waited a few days and checked the plants. They were crawling with the baby Harlequins who had escaped the trash bags. All three plants went into one last bag and hopefully that is the end of it. For now. 

Trap Crop Disposal

Cleome- Trap number 2

Cleome crawling with Harlequins

The Asparagus ferns are starting to die off. This is a good thing. It's part of the process. The ferns have done their job gathering sun and energy and helping the roots grow strong for next spring.

Baby Butternut Squash!


Direct seeded more Carrots, Golden Beets, Peas and Spinach. 

Broccoli coming up

Eating Well

Roasted Squash at Logan Tavern

Farm Life

Boots, Muckers, Back up Boots
This is the occasional farm life section of the blog highlighting what it's like to be an organic farmer.  This week's topic is Boots for all weather. With all of the humidity and rain I've been starting each day with my muckers. I finally invested in a decent pair after cheaping out on the last two. I got these at Tractor Supply for not much more than the cheap ones I've been using and they are already far superior. The dilemma with these is that you wear them to keep your socks dry, but they don't breath. So, by the time it starts to warm up you have to change them before your socks get soaked from the inside out, if you catch my drift. 

Birthday Boots!
That's when I switch to my hiking boots. I just retired my Keens which served me well all last season but have developed a strange bump under my big toe. I spent all my birthday money on a re-solable pair of Vasque hiking boots and I think I'm in love. They are incredibly comfortable even after a full day's work. They should also last twice as long as the Keens since I can replace the sole. 

I also have a pair of Bogs for cold and wet weather. They are super awesome but way too warm to be wearing in August. And if that's not enough, it's always good to have a pair of back up boots for the occasion when your main pair get soaked or accidentally left at home. 

All of my boots live at the farm and I come and go in Crocs and Socks. For real.

Puddy Time

Every morning when we arrive Puddy does a quick patrol. Just how quick depends on if she sees any rabbits as we drive in. If she does than she bolts out of the truck as soon as I open her door and saunters back a few minutes later, proud that she has kept those wraskly wrabbits at bay.

Puddy on a leisurely morning patrol

Puddy gets a treat at Culver's and drops some crumbs for Kathy