Friday, July 29, 2011

Watermelon Madness!

We began harvesting melons for the first time this week: a sign that August is right around the corner. So far, we have been picking the traditional red/pink flesh watermelons and the yellow flesh watermelons. For some reason, I love those yellow watermelons the best. The taste is different but only subtly so. Their delicate yellow flesh is unique.

Little Baby Flower is a new red watermelon for us. We are growing this variety because, as the name suggests, it produces really nice personal-sized melons.We know that not everyone can handle a huge watermelon!

Harvesting melons is a science. We only harvest ripe melons so it is very important that we are able to identify signs of ripeness. For watermelons (cantelopes are different), we knock the fruit with our knuckles and listen. If the melon is ripe, we hear a hollow and tight sound whereas an unripe melon sounds dull and dense. It is also important that, every once in a while, we crack one open... just to make sure it tastes good. We love melon breaks!

Enjoy the melons coming out of our fields! They are a true taste of summer!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Do a Rain Dance!

Kelly harvesting lacinato kale.
It was a hot and dry week here on the farm. Our crops are still doing well but we need some rain. I am sure the quick rain storm we had last night will evaporate quickly in the heat today. Perform your best rain dance for us!

Yet, the heat doesn't slow us down too much! On our harvest days, we start as early as possible (7 AM) to get the crops out of the ground and into the cooler before they get struck by the hot air. The quicker we do this, the fresher they remain for our customers. So, harvesting has been a bit of a race against the weather this week. 
First harvest of cherry tomatoes and eggplant.
We were also fortunate to get a lot of time in our carrot field this week. Hand-weeding and thinning the carrots is a very important job so that we can have big and beautiful carrots all winter. We are now almost through the entire field!

Stay cool!

The crew after a hot day of carrot weeding (still looking optimistic).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Garlic Harvest

The truck full of garlic!!
We harvested all of our garlic for the year this week! Actually, we got it in in just two days, which is quite an accomplishment. We pulled 7,542 bulbs of beautiful garlic out of the ground! The varieties we grow are Music, German White and German Extra Hardy. We planted this crop last fall, just before the ground froze. During the winter it stays dormant in the soil until the ground thaws. So this garlic has been growing since the wee hours of spring. 

The garlic is now laying to dry in two of our greenhouses and in the loft of one of our barns with a big fan to promote proper air circulation. It looks beautiful! The heads are beautifully formed and huge!

Garlic hanging in the loft.
Garlic is a very important crop for us. We sell and distribute garlic to CSA members all winter. We like to think that is keeps our customers healthy in the colder months.

Our garlic is truly the most flavorful garlic you will ever taste!

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's Cucumber Season!

It is July and we are in the midst of cucumber season! We harvest cucumbers, summer squash, and zucchini three times per week and the plants are really starting to produce! Our coolers are full of these crops. Yet, our customers at market and our CSA members are loving the cool cucumbers and the succulent squash... they are the real taste of summer! Now that we have had some warm weather, our bodies are really craving these wonderful summer foods.

We love eating cucumbers while harvesting them. On a hot summer day, they quench our thirst and keep us hydrated. 

We also like hunting for the biggest squash, cucumber or zucchini we can find. We try to pick them before they get too big, but sometimes we just can't keep up with their growth. When they're too big we take them home and make yummy things (like zucchini bread!).

Enjoy the beginning of cucumber season and get hungry! Pickles anyone?

This summer squash was too big. Now it's going to be Ariel's dinner.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cultivating in the Augenstein Field

Our sweet potatoes being cultivated.
Yesterday we spent the afternoon weeding in the Augenstein fields that we lease on North Pownal Road. It is quite a trek to pack everyone in the truck along with hoes and drive several miles down the road, so we only go over when we have lots of people. Because of the distance, we plant many of our fall storage crops in these fields. We have our winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and brussels sprouts over there as well as our later successions of beets, chard, and tomatoes.

A field of our winter squash.
We cultivated the sweet potatoes which are looking healthy! They are under a row cover so it is a bit of a task to uncover, cultivate and then recover... again it helps to have many hands! We also have been making an important pass with hoes through the winter squash. It is so nice to have a relatively weed-free field in which to harvest come fall, so we hope we can keep on top of the weeds (a challenge with a field so far away!).

Though it is a drive to get over to Augenstein's, we love the fields! The soil is beautiful and the atmosphere of the fields is very peaceful. We just thought we would share them with you...

Also, we weeded our onion and leek field (this is on the home farm) and it is looking gorgeous! That will make for a wonderful harvest and beautiful onions for all!