The privet hedge behind the house smells dreamy in the morning, and again in the evening. But the wild rose smell reaches out and catches you as you walk by any time of day. Bird gossip and flirting is getting loud as we learn the voices of goldfinches, grosbeaks, mourning doves, cardinals, cedar waxwings, and bossy bluejays. Another common sound is the walkie talkies everyone wears proclaiming in a female voice: “Power on!”
As the height of summer approaches, we are already looking forward to next year, planning out how to refine our production, thinking about hiring next year’s crew, and reflecting on our life on the farm and how to make it better for everyone involved.
So far, so good. Despite some wacky weather with the frost and cold weather this spring, closely followed by intense heat, the crops look good. We have been able to offer more choice to the early season farmshare than ever before. The new heated greenhouse is helping a lot with this. We hope to learn to use it better next year by planting a wider mix of early crops in it. I hope everyone likes tomatoes! Unless something unexpected happens, the trickle of tomatoes should become a gushing river soon. The peppers, eggplants, and other summer crops are also loving the deep heat of the last few weeks and are growing much faster than usual.
Of course the heat which is so good for the summer fruiting crops is not ideal for our greens. We lost a crop of arugula, bok choy and radish, and some spinach bolted before it was big enough to bunch. The next wave of greens looks good though. We are watering them constantly, which allows them to grow in the heat by cooling the soil through constant evaporation.
The farm crew is in good spirits and is taking on so much management responsibility, that Jen and I sometimes have to ask questions about what’s going on. I love it when we get to this point. For example, harvest organization and quality control is a complex and crucial job that used to absorb a significant portion of my time. Everything to do with the harvest is delegated to the point that Jen and I didn’t even know when the crew decided that they had to start work an hour early when the weather got hot. I told them it is important to get the tender greens out of the field before the sun gets strong. Next thing I know, Jen and I are being woken up at 5:45 am by the sound of harvest crates being loaded onto the tractor. Today is the first cloudy harvest day in a while. No early morning needed. The crew decided to start at 7 am. Not only is this self-managment a relief for Jen and I, it allows our crew to build a lot of confidence in their abilities to think for themselves, and enjoy the results of their hard work and careful planning.
As I write this, I can hear the crew laughing and talking as they harvest greens, hands flying in a blur of sharp knives, rubber bands and rapidly filling bins. Its time for me to go out and join them.
As always, we are very grateful for our farmshare members’ support. We love being your farmers and hope you enjoy this week’s bounty to the fullest.
David, Jen, Marshall, Rhi, Nicola, Erin, Hyla, Naomi, Kathleen, and Siggi
This week’s farm photos are below: