We Dig Vegetables
Week 12, 2009
I would like to dedicate this newsletter to my mother’s mother, my grandmother, Eileen Even-Phohl who passed away last Sunday evening at the ripe age of 97 years, the heirloom seed in our family, that will live on thru us and our grandchildren forever. Thank you, grandma, for choosing flavor and quality over appearance and quantity.
In a way, this entire farm is dedicated to my grandmother. This is a woman who was born and raised on a family farm, epitomizing a completely local economy in her youthful years. She used to tell us stories about how when she was young, their family only made a trip to ‘town’ for one or more of their families few basic needs that could not be made or produced at home such as flour or sugar. When I envision what it must have been like to be her when she was my age, 71 years ago, I think of a Wendel Berry novel that takes you into a farming village where roosters are crowing and free-ranging in the dirt road. I think of women in aprons collecting summer raspberries and making jam, I think of men driving horses to work their fields, and I think of large families sitting down together to give thanks over a meal of home-grown and home-made real farm-fresh food. What a very beautiful time it must have been to live.
Week 11, 2009
With some much needed heat, the peppers and eggplant are really starting to kick it into gear. We did leave quite a few peppers out there until next week to give them a chance to turn red as we have so many other things to give this week. We’re hoping that the tomatoes follow in the pepper’s footsteps and start to ripen up this week. Adam has been working so hard to keep the blight at bay so there is enough foliage on the tomato plants to cover the fruit and keep new flowers coming on. It’s been a tough year for tomatoes on our farm so far.
We’ve been making an extra, extra, extra strong effort to have a really great tomato year ever since mid March. Adam, who doesn’t even really like to eat raw tomatoes, has taken it upon himself to ensure that we have the best growing season for tomatoes so far. We got an early start on planting them in the green house. Perhaps, even, a bit too early. By the time it was warm enough to plant them outside, we jumped right on our first opportunity to get them out. Our slightly over zealous attempt at getting them out “early” proved to be a bit damaging since they were all hit by a late frost in late May.
Week 10, 2009
You know, it’s very easy when you’re a busy farmer like I am that works from home and only leaves the farm one day out of the week to deliver and market your produce, to slip into a little world that is all of your own. My life and my mind are so consumed with what needs to be planted next, weeded next and harvested next that I hardly give a thought to all of the terrible or wonderful things that are happening out there in the world that I live in.
Sometimes in the morning, I’ll switch on the radio and listen for a while to the politicians hashing it out over national health care, endangered polar bears and the economic crisis, and then when my breakfast is over, I turn the radio off again and move on with my important tasks at hand such as feeding my pigs and chickens and getting out to the carrot patch that we’re weeding at the moment. As the day buzzes on the trucks and cars drive by our fields, people are going places and picking things up and dropping them off, and I’ve only switched a gear or two on our six-acre vegetable field from one project to another. The days become divided by large and small projects, sometimes great big project and sometimes small quick projects. But we are here to cross project after project off of a never ending list of projects. All the while as the gears are shifting from one project to another, I watch the sun and the moon take turns looping around me. I just watch them and the changing cloud patterns move across the sky as I carry on with my weeding and harvesting.
Week 9, 2009
The rain that we’ve been getting in the last week seems to have brought a sigh of relief to the farm. The plants seem to be breathing again and we seem to be breathing again after somewhat holding our breath between storms. Before the rain that we got last weekend, we had only gotten less than one inch of rain in almost three weeks time, a bit of a drought was beginning to develop. But promising horizons are dawning. More rain is coming as I write this newsletter on Wednesday evening. I’m watching the radar map and seeing some rain heading our way right now. Yee Haw!
Something of a mild summer is putting a bit of a strange twist on the maturity of some of our favorite summer veggies like the tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, eggplants and melons. These plants need heat and humidity to fully mature. You might be seeing some of the conventional corn tall as usual and starting to tassel out as usual, right on schedule, but as I look around at our corn and our organic neighbor’s corn, things are a bit slower and behind. As you already know, it has been an unusually mild summer with abnormally cool temperatures. This adverse change in weather is consequentially causing our heat loving plants to mature at a much slower rate.