Participating in the Farm’s CSA program and receiving a weekly share gives us the chance to experience the seasonal nature of the harvest over the course of the year. Participating from year to year provides an even broader perspective of how nature changes the harvest from one year to another.
Here’s a look at what 2013 was like (click on highlighted text to reach an associated post) –
Though there are apples from the previous Fall harvest in cold storage, January is the time when the trees themselves are dormant. This is when the trees were pruned in preparation for their next crop.
As the fields became dry enough, rows could be formed for new plantings. The green of cover crops just sprouting can be seen in the background, while the field in the mid-ground is full of transplants, and is pictured in other posts in July, August, and December.
Planted at the end of the previous year, cover crops go through their own progression. Pictured here are February cover crops in the Upper Fields. The mustard just beginning to bloom, while the rye and legumes have yet to reach full height.
While cover crops are planted in the fields, the orchards have their own carpet of grasses in February which are just tall enough for a bobcat to hide in.
Dormant since November, late February is when the apricot trees begin to bloom as well. Beginning as tiny buds, it only took a couple of weeks until the blossoms burst forth (below).
The fields themselves can change very rapidly. These are the Lower Fields in mid-March; the rows that were bare dirt in mid-February now covered in seedlings.
And here are the same fields less than three weeks later. Notice how much the crops grew with the returning sunlight and warmth as Spring arrived.
These are the same cover crops pictured above. It’s the end of March now, and you can see how the rye overtook the mustard. The cover crops stayed in the fields another couple of weeks. Long enough for Tom and Elisa to have some fun in them.
During the last half of March, the apricots went from bearing just blossoms to having a mix of blossoms and leaves.
And by the end of March, small apricots were appearing. This is a critical time since the growing apricot has to shed the brown remains of the blossoms (called the jacket). Otherwise, the jacket can trap moisture and encourage a certain fungus to grow which damages the maturing apricot.
At the end of March we held our 4th Annual Sheep to Shawl event. The Lower Barn and surrounding area were prepped for throngs of people hoping to glimpse the sheep shearing, make some cool crafts, and eat some delicious food!
As is typical, though, with our coastal weather, April began mostly foggy. The hens in one of our flocks were out and about enjoying the mild day. They had to be wary though …
… since the low fog kept a red-shouldered hawk roosting nearby, until the day cleared enough for it to look elsewhere for prey.
By the end of May the apricot leaves were looking hardier in preparation for summer. In contrast, the once green grass was already brown.
The apricots themselves were plumping up nicely. It was shaping up to be a bumper crop.
Meanwhile, along with many other things happening in the fields, it was time to thin the apples in order for the remaining ones to reach a large enough size. This bunch would be thinned down to two or three.
By the end of May, the blackberry vines were covered in blossoms.
Blackberry blossoms are a wonderful combination of white and pinkish purple. Looking almost tie-dyed.
As much as farmers do their best to keep crop production consistent, every year still brings its own differences. While the raspberries were wonderful, due to unfavorable weather conditions there weren’t as many this past summer as there have been in previous ones.
It was an abundant summer for blackberries, though, which stepped in to fill the gap left by the smaller raspberry harvests.
The end of July brought consistently warm days, and heat loving crops like these Poblano (often called, Pasilla) peppers sized up nicely. It was a very active time on the farm, with crop variety increasing almost daily.
Like June, October is another transition month. There was still a large variety of crops available or becoming ready, like this Romanesco cauliflower which creates a nest of leaves in which the head will mature.
With no rain predicted in October, we were still irrigating fields like this one of Romanesco. This is the field that summer squash was growing in during August. Just beyond is the cucumber field, now covered in weeds and waiting to be plowed and planted with lettuce seedlings.
The angle of sunlight increases after the Equinox, and it takes on a golden tinge that triggers a response in the leaves of trees like these apples, causing them to yellow and fall.
This has been just one year in the life of Live Earth Farm. We want to thank all those who have participated in our Community Supported Agriculture program over the past 18 years. The Farm would not exist without the support of its community. As the Farm begins its 19th growing season, all of us here are dedicated to continuing to provide our community with the best organic produce possible, and to maintain the connection made between you and the source of your food.
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