Question for the farmer? Email

Sunday, October 27, 2013

EatWell Natural Farm Week 32

I got a new toy! Lego Farm!!!



In the Harvest Bins this week: Arugula, Tomatillos, Peppers, Red Sails Lettuce, Carrots, Hakurei Turnips, Rainbow Chard, Kale, Mustard Greens, Spinach, Easter Egg Radishes, Watermelon Radishes, Shiitake Mushrooms and a tiny bit of Broccoli. 

Turnips and Carrots


We had our first frost this week on Thursday night so that day I harvested all of the peppers off the plants. The frost killed the plants so no more peppers until next summer.

Production and Distribution

Don't these turnips look lovely!
Row of Turnips, three varieties

Washing root veggies

Carrots and Hakurei Turnips

Delivery to Grillfish: Mustard Greens, Tomatillos, Carrots,
Hakureis and Arugula

Sneak Peak at The Heights renovation pre-construction,
happening in the barn at the farm
There was more than just produce production happening at the farm this week. Our carpenter-extrordinaire Ray was working in the barn building some new seating for The Heights which is undergoing renovations soon.

Cultivation and Maintenance

Frosty Raddichio

I mentioned the first frost... well, it was right on schedule. Our frost date in Southern Maryland was October 21st and it came on the 24th. Actually, we even got a bit of frost on the 23rd when the weather reports predicted upper 30s. I think have figured out that our micro-climate at the farm has us as much as 6 degrees cooler than La Plata itself. 

The frost did kill off the pepper plants so I ripped them out....

I also turned the compost this week and it is really starting to look good inside...

With the cold weather coming now I spent a little time winterizing a few things. That floating row cover on the right is protecting some lettuce and the straw I spread over the newly planted garlic and the baby strawberry plants. Because it can get pretty windy on the hill I stretched the netting I bought for the cicadas over the straw to hold it in place. On the garlic I weighed it down with some big rocks from the new field. On the Strawberries I used fiberglass poles to hold it in place. This is the third job this netting has done. First it protected the orchard from cicadas, second it protected the blueberries from birds, now this and it's got years of life left in it. 

Planting- Garlic!!!

Gayle and I planted the Garlic on Monday. It won't be a lot this year, just 16 ounces of soft neck, 8 ounces of hardneck and 40 ounces of elephant garlic. We also planted an ounce of perennial Egyptian Walking Onions. 

Here are a few helpful diagrams that show the difference between hard and soft neck garlic...

I ordered the Garlic from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and followed their Garlic Planting Guide

Prepping Garlic to plant

When you plant garlic what you are planting is the clove. Each clove will produce a new bulb. You separate the cloves being careful to leave their papery skin attached. This helps to protect them from disease and rot. 

6" Spacing on the regular Garlic, 9" on the Elephant Garlic

Finished Row

Eating Well

Blackened Tilapia with Butternut Squash Puree
and Watermelon Radishes from the farm at Grillfish
Katie and I enjoying dinner at Logan Tavern
with my camera shy brother-in-law

My sister Katie showing off the farm salad at
Logan Tavern featuring my Arugula.

It wasn't just the people eating well this week. Tilford aparently loves raw root vegetables and was chowing down on all of the split radishes that I discarded and even a carrot that I inadvertently dropped while washing.  Perhaps strangest of all he went after the Watermelon Radish roots that I had cut off and was intending to compost. He even taught Puddy how tasty they are and the two of them must have eaten a half a pound of radish roots between them. 


Watermelon Radish

These are the roots they were eating

Puddy chowing down on radish roots

Puddy Time

Once Tilford got a hold of that carrot I figured I had better make him work for it. This is one of his better tricks....

Stay. Stay. Stay. Ok, carrot!
After all that snacking Tilford worked off some calories chasing water around the paddock. Really. It's like his favorite thing to do.

After a long week at the farm

And Sprocket...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

EatWell Natural Farm Weeks 30 and 31

I skipped a week. Did you miss me? Mostly it just rained the week of October 14th so I was decked out in rain gear and not trying to take a lot of pictures. Also the dogs stayed home most days so there weren't even any cute puppy pics to post.

Rain coat, boots and pants...

But I'm back now. Today may be the last warmish day. Yesterday was the official frost date and it will be in the mid 30s later this week. Things have slowed down a lot which means harvests are a bit less with more recovery time in between. It also means that everything that still grows tastes a bit sweeter. In defense against the cold lots of roots and greens create more sugar which acts as a sort of anti freeze. The delicious side effect of that is sweeter Kale, Beets and Carrots. :)

In the harvest bins these past two weeks:
Sage, Lemon Grass, Thyme, Mustard Greens, Arugula, Romaine, Red Sails Lettuce, Kale, Chard, Beets, Carrots, Radishes, Tomatillos, Spinach, Turnip Greens and Hakurei Turnips, Peppers, and Shiitake Mushrooms.

Hakurei and Scarlett Queen Turnips harvested for the greens
to thin out the very thick planting

Yaya Carrots!

Chard- the fall weather does it good

Stocky Red Roasters and Orange Bell Peppers


Production and Distribution

I am only delivering once a week now since things are growing so slowly. 

Washing Watermelon Radishes

Watermelon Radishes

Logan Tavern Delivery: Spinach, Beets, Radishes

Logan Tavern Delivery: Chard, Peppers, Arugula,
Romaine and Mustard Greens

Delivery to The Heights: Kale, Arugula, Peppers, Turnips, Beets, Lemon Grass
Chard, Watermelon Radishes, Carrots

Cultivation and Maintenance

I did a little self cultivation over the last two weeks. A sweet perk of being involved with EatWell DC  is that I am already plugged into some of the local food here in the DC area. I was invited to attend an intro barista class at Ceremony Coffee Roasters in Annapolis, MD where I learned (in theory) how to pull the perfect shot of espresso. EatWell offers this local roastery's coffee at Commissary, The Pig and The Heights
Commissary's New Brunch Barista Chris soaking it all in

Practice, Practice, Practice

Lessons in caffeine
Zoe is really excited about espresso

The following week I took a trip down to Slade Farms in Virginia. Clifton Slade is a farmer and Vegetable Produce Specialist with the Virginia Cooperative Extension. He took some time out of his day to give me and my part time helper Andrew a tour of his vegetable operation and talk about his hoop house production. He grows a lot of vegetables and is also transitioning into growing organic seed for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. It's always good to get off your own farm and see how other people (especially those with more experience) are doing things. 

Cliff's Hoop House, Clean and ready to plant

He sent us home with some huge sweet potatoes

Mr Slade talks Sweet Potatoes

Mobile Chicken Coop cleaning the Asparagus

Tractor set up for Garlic Planting

Maintenance also got done back at the EatWell Farm. Lots and lots of weeding this week. Here is some beautifully weeded Red Sails and Romaine Lettuce.

My sister Katie dumping the compost from Commissary

Eating Well

My sister Katie is in town and came over one night to make farm pizza with us. Lane made the crust and we topped it with peppers, spinach and mushrooms from the farm.

Hand made Meatloaf with EatWell Mustard Greens at Commissary!

Puddy Time (and all things Adorable)

Betty came to the farm to visit and had a good run around with Puddy

Puddy and Tilford keeping a weather eye on the horizon

Beckett! (nothing to do with the farm but still adorable!)

Nori and Finn practicing for their next farm visit.