News from the Fields

Our farmers are bringing in many of the storage crops and tending to the crops that will stay in the ground until they’re harvested for the winter share. It looks like we will have another tasty and varied winter share this year. Here are a few crop reports.

Riverland Farm crop update
“All in all our fall crops are looking good. The winter squash yield will certainly be better than the last 2 years and having increased the number of fall plantings of broccoli family crops it’s looking like we’ll have a more consistent supply of broccoli and cauliflower than ever before. Our Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and most of our other root crops look good.”

Picadilly Farm crop news

winter squash in storage hoop house, Picadilly, 9/29/10

“Today [Sept 24] marks the beginning of the 2010 Picadilly farm sweet potato harvest! We’ve planted seventeen 500-foot long beds of sweeties (that’s about 18,000 plants) which we’ve weeded, fertilized, and sweet talked throughout the summer months. We’ve done it with fingers crossed for a hearty harvest, and today we strapped in for the job. After mowing the foliage, clipping the vines, folding up the landscape cloth used to suppress weeds, and running our spiffy potato digger over the bed, we come face to face with our long-awaited sweeties. And what a harvest it is! So far we’re looking at almost double our expected yield. True–we’ve only dug one bed, but it sure does look promising.”

 

Bruce and Jenny at Picadilly are hosting a CRAFT visit for eastern Massachusetts farmers today. I’ll be going and hope to have lots of pics to post of their farm and crops later this week.

Brookwood Farm
I visited Brookwood Farm at the Bradley Estate yesterday and walked their field of greens. Wish I’d had my camera with me! Farmers Judy, Jason and Anna have outdone themselves this year, growing row after row of lovely greens. Tuscano and Red Russian varieties of kale and beds of collard greens caught my eye. I’m heading down to Brookwood tomorrow and will snap a few photos so you, too, can have a ‘taste’ of the greens.

Farm Fleet

Every organic farm has a farm fleet — the equipment needed to make farming economically, environmentally and physically sustainable. On a recent working visit to Riverland Farm, I came across one of the nicest pieces of farm transport I’ve seen in some time.

That’s a blue Schwinn in front of a field of garlic; big red barn and hoop house in the background. Yep, those are blue streamers on the handle bars. On Riverland’s twenty-five acres it’s essential to have a way to get around. I’ll post more farm fleet photos soon.

Picadilly Road Trip

Picadilly farmers Bruce and Jenny Wooster are well known in the eastern Massachusetts farming community as skilled organic farmers and exceptional teachers and mentors to new farmers.  So, when I planned a road trip to Picadilly, I invited Newton Community Farm intern, Megan Talley, to join me.  The Newton farm is about one acre in size; Picadilly Farm has 25 acres under cultivation. Seemed like a great learning opportunity. And boy, was it ever! While Megan mastered tractor seeding, I helped transplant the celeriac that will be in the winter share. In the afternoon we hoed beds and beds of newly emerged potatoes with the farm crew. A very special thank you to farmer Jenny for making this such a great learning experience for Megan!

I ♥ farms

It is that time of year when greenhouses are cranking and seeds are sprouting. Soon the ground will thaw and farmers will head to the fields. Right now most of the work is still indoors. Last week I helped seed onions at Vanguarden and leeks at Brookwood. Beekeeping class at Codman gave me a chance to inhale the rich aroma of manure. Mid-February I visited Natick Organic Community Farm with friends and we admired Natick’s greens. I tried to chat with their pig (she didn’t have much to say). Here are a few photos from my farm visits. More farm visits planned for this next week, too.

Natick Farm's Pig Salad mix at Natick Farm

Farm Tour Fun

seedlings inside the hoop house one acre CSA field March 20

The first day of spring a handful of CSA shareholders and I toured my one acre field and hoop house. We tromped around in the mud. We looked at winter rye and frost-killed oats. We looked at the bed where garlic is supposed to be growing. No sign of the garlic yet. We looked at the farm equipment: red tractor, disk harrow and the sexiest transplanter on the east coast (more on that later). Skippy’s mom took some nice photos. I’ve posted some of them here.

The temperature was predicted to be in the mid-twenties last night. Way too cold for the seedlings in the (unheated) hoop house. Yesterday I spent a good deal of time trying to tighten things up. I added more layers of reemay (agricultural row cover) to cover the plants, secured the door a bit more and stuffed insulation in cracks. Today I hope to find a few bales of straw to put againt the sides of the hoop house. The next several nights are supposed to be cold, cold, cold. Please send warm thoughts in the direction of my hoop house!