Week 7: Broadfork

Jean-Martin Fortier at Abundant Acres

Jean-Martin Fortier at Abundant Acres

This week in the pack we expect to have lettuce, beans, squash, herbs, green onions, peas,  beets, kale and chard.  We might have: cherry tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers.  There will also be a fruit.

This week on the farm was very exciting in a farm geek kind of way.  We hosted Jean-Martin Fortier, a leading young farmer from Quebec, along with 50+ other farmers at Abundant Acres on July 27.  How unusual to be able to connect with other farmers in the middle of the season when all of our farms are so busy!  Everyone agreed that this season has been highly unusual and we’re all feeling  a little beat up.  However, Jean-Martin’s message is that we can make a good living if we are focused on the most profitable parts of the farm.  He also reminded us to allow the soil biology to do the work for us.  Right on!  With the right combination of tools and techniques, we can build soil quality to the point that weeds are less of an issue, and crops grow so well and so fast that their canopy covers the raised beds before weeds can even get established.  We also learned many important little details like what time of day to harvest salad mix; how to graft tomatoes; and the importance of using 2 ties on a row cover bag, not one.

Lori’s partner Andrew let David take the machine he’s been working on out of the shop and out for a field test.  I should clarify, Andrew has been working on the machine for months and deserves a lot of praise for his efforts.  We are also grateful to Lori for giving up access to her partner while he tried to find time for the machine in between work shifts.  This machine is for weeding and hilling crops, and hauling compost.  We hope it will save us — and other farmers — a lot of time.

We also, sadly, said goodbye to Eliza and Isabeau.  I hope they will both be back!  What joy and sweet spirit they brought to the farm!

The crops are doing well and we are encouraged by the production potential.

Here are a few photos from this last week on the farm:

Gertie, our truck, was running well on veggie oil the other day.  Switching tanks may have helped the air intrusion problem.

Gertie, our truck, was running well on veggie oil the other day. Switching tanks may have helped the air intrusion problem.

Alice and I finally trellised the seedless grapes.  Actually Alice did most of them.

Alice and I finally trellised the seedless grapes. Actually Alice did most of them.

Isabeau and Bernard cleaning fish from the fishing weir

Isabeau and Bernard cleaning fish from the fishing weir

Bernard got some broadforking pointers from  Jean-Martin

Bernard got some broadforking pointers from Jean-Martin

Sidonie and David picking peas

Sidonie and David picking peas

After the garlic harvest, Victoria made garlic earings

After the garlic harvest, Victoria made garlic earings

David and Andrew looking over the crop hopper

David and Andrew looking over the crop hopper

Crop hopper in action

Crop hopper in action

One sunflower for each apprentice

One sunflower for each apprentice