Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Everything Loves the Hot Weather!

Tomatoes in our high tunnel.
It seemed like the first day of summer today. It was hot and humid and we all got a little too much sun on our backs. It seems like the heat will keep up for the next few days. Our crops are loving the weather and everything is doing very well these days, especially with a bit of a chance to dry out and see some sunshine!

We have been doing tons of planting. We are planting tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant both in our high tunnel and in the field. The field versions of these nightshade crops are still under a row cover though. We are also planting melons, celery, fennel and tomorrow we should be planting our crop of winter squash, which is a bit of an undertaking.

Happy chickens on pasture.
The dry weather is also letting us get to some weeding projects, which are much needed. We completed a full pass of hoeing through our brassica (broccoli, cabbage, kale, etc.) field today. Yesterday, we hand-weeded our carrots which are looking so clean and that should allow our crop to be excellent.

Even the chickens love the sunshine!

Shelling peas growing!

Field tomatoes were transplanted into the pick-your-own field.

This is the site of our new pick-your-own pumpkin patch: Burdock Hill!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The First Week of CSA

Our wonderful spring offerings.

The first week of CSA pick-ups was a success! It was so wonderful to see everyone. Our CSA Room was packed with luscious green produce and storage crops from the fall. As I welcomed members, everyone mentioned just how glad they were to be back at the farm and enjoying the "real" and delicious food we have to offer. In the winter-time, we sure get tired of the grocery store.

Bread for sale. Yum.
Not only was the CSA Room stocked with our high-quality organic produce, we also had Krijnen Bakeriji bread, dairy products from both Berle Farm and Gammelgarden Creamer, and Kontoulis Family olives and olive oil. And we will soon be getting a freezer selling local frozen pork from a nearby farm. We like to think you can get all food groups right here at the Mighty Food Farm CSA Room. Becoming a member never sounded better! The hardest part is choosing your items...everything just looks so good.
Three generations of beautiful ladies at the farm to pick up their share.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Surprise Sunshine!

We are washing so much let
Today we had a wonderful surprise: sunshine. It was so nice to work in the sun and know that the fields were getting a bit of a chance to dry out. And, the best part is that we were not even expecting it.

This morning was our first large CSA harvest of the season, which is really exciting. We harvested 180 heads of lettuce alone! So our cooler is full of wonderful produce to give out to our CSA members. Tomorrow we will harvest for the Farmers' Markets. It's great to finally have a sizable harvest to look forward to and to occupy our mornings (not that we don't have tons to do...).
Planting parsley in PYO field.
We have been planting herbs in the Pick Your Own field, the one just across from the farmhouse. The soil in the field is just wonderful and we love having our herbs over there, especially for our CSA members to harvest as a part of their share.

We are also getting excited about the prospect of getting warmer crops into the ground. Though it may not feel like it is warming up considerably, the last frost date is getting nearer for sure. We already have planted some Cucurbits (cucumbers, zucchini, and summer squash) and they are doing well.

Cucumbers in the ground waiting to be row covered.

We hope the surprise sunshine keeps up (but we won't expect it). 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

CSA Begins

 CSA: community supported agriculture.

The Mighty Food Farm CSA begins this coming week: Tuesday the 17th, Friday the 20th and Saturday the 21st. We are excited for a number of reasons. The biggest is to be able to feel the community aspect of our operation again. In this lag-time between seasons, we almost forget the importance of the community at large which supports us. We love having CSA members and their children coming to the farm to pickup vegetables and we love arriving at market to greet loyal and new customers with excellent food. Without your community support, we would be nothing: just dirty humans with too much food. So thank you all for being a part of this farm and keep on supporting us and we'll keep growing for you.

I spent some time organizing and cleaning the CSA room today, the site where our shareholders pick up their veggies and eggs. I was sweeping the dirt from the winter storage crops, cleaning and making room for the abundance the spring has to offer. I can just imagine the room filled with lettuce and kale and carrots or, better yet, when it is overflowing with melons in July or when the colors of the winter squash bring a festivity like nothing else. The room changes in character with every season and with the presence of every new crop. We love that and we hope you do too!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Potato Planting

Getting the seed potatoes ready to plant.
Today we cut the seed potatoes... all 2,000 pounds of them. Seed potatoes come as whole potatoes, in good condition, and growing eyes. We chop them into egg size pieces, being sure that we have about 2 eyes on each piece so they will be able to sprout once they go in the ground. We grow about 10 varieties of potatoes, including Yukon Gold, French Fingerling, and German Butterball.

We planted about 1,200 of these potatoes in the ground today on some land that we lease for many of our storage crops. We love our potato planter! It allowed Lisa and Douglas to plant all of these potatoes in just one afternoon. The potato planter has
Douglas on the potato planter.
disks and a shovel on the front which makes a trench for planting. Then, it has a hopper which fertilizes this trench. Behind this it has wheels that grab the seed potatoes with spikes and puts them into the ground. Finally, it has wheels in the back which cover up the seeds in the ground. This is all in one implement!! Not only does the potato planter save us a lot of time because it is so fast, it has the added benefit of fertilizing as it plants, which is environmentally friendly because we only have to make one tractor pass over the field instead of two. It is awesome and we will be able to finish planting the last 800 pounds tomorrow. Woo-hoo!
The view from our fields.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The First Market

Bedding plants loaded up in the box truck.
It was an early May morning and we were scrambling around the farm to get everything ready, obviously a little out of the weekly farmers' market routine. The first market of the season always brings excitement! But we loaded everything up, checked our lists, reveled in how beautiful everything looked and then Douglas and Lisa were on the road to the market, to sell and show off all the beautiful produce harvested the day before.

All loaded up and ready to go to town!
And things sure did look beautiful at the market! The stand was bountiful with tons of luscious spring greens. Even the carrots from last year were looking gorgeous! And all of our bedding plants were on display as well, looking for loving gardeners to take them home.

The market was lively, with many people bustling around and wonderful music serenading shoppers. The sunshine and blue skies added a very nice touch. It was a great way to begin the market season. We are excited for more!
Our storage crops still look beautiful at market.

Beautiful spring greens at market.

Peppers, eggplants, and tomato plants looking for someone to take them home.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Beautiful Friday in May

Beautiful radishes.
Today was a wonderful day on the farm. We got sun and dry weather for the first time in days and the fields dried out surprisingly quickly with the breeze.

This morning we harvested for the first Bennington Farmers' Market which was a pleasure!

We also got into the field to tackle some weeds in the beet and chard field. Now we're ahead of those babies and the plants themselves should outgrow the weeds, which is just what we want. We also transplanted cabbage, cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini and parsley.

Lots of fun and smiles here on the farm. Let's hope this drier weather keeps up so we can plant, plant, plant next week!

Harvesting ramps (wild leeks) from the forest.

These are our strawberries! Lisa thinks they look super awesome!

The happy Mighty Food Farm Crew!

Cutest Lisa and Clover at the end of work.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Strawberry Fields (Forever)

This is a bundle of strawberry crowns. The tag identifies the variety.

Last week we picked up 9500 strawberry plants, also called crowns, from a nursery in Deerfield, MA. These plants are for 2012's strawberry crop. Lisa has been perfecting the field just up the hill from the greenhouses as a home for this new crop. We were lucky to have some local dairy farmers spread organic, composted cow manure on the field. In addition, we spread wood ash and granular fertilizer. We call these amendments a slow release fertilizer. The strawberries need this because they will be in the ground for a couple of years and we want them to have everything they need. We love our strawberries!

We dunk the crowns into fish fertilizer before we plant.

Today, we got most of them nestled into the ground, but not before they got a nice swim in some fish fertilizer to hydrate them and give them a boost for a strong root system. After 9 hours of riding the transplanter, we planted about 6500 strawberry plants! The field has thirteen 285 foot rows. That's a lot of strawberries! We will take care of them this year to ensure a good crop for next year. This season they need to establish themselves and to help them do so we will prune their flowers and their runners this year.

This is the new strawberry field!

We can't wait for some beautiful, red, juicy berries... soon we will taste the fruit of our labor.