April and May are the months when many crops are seeded or transplanted in preparation for the upcoming main season. There are also many crops on the verge of being ready for harvest. Take a walk with us through the fields to see what’s coming up.
Thank you for taking this walk with us. We hope to see you on the Farm this Saturday, May 7th for the Season Kick-off of our Farm Stand, and on Saturday, June 4th for our first Strawberry U-pick of the Season.
Although the infamous Food Drought occurs during March, there’s still a lot happening in the orchards and fields. Here are some pictures of the various things that are in Spring bloom for you to enjoy. (Originally posted in March 2013)
Community Supported Agriculture, whether receiving a share or going to a Farmers Market, is the best way to ensure a farm like ours thrives and continues to provide a place for natural organic diversity.
Not much time to sit down, reflect and write – all our energy is focused on keeping up with the pace and intensity of the farm. It is as if Mother Nature is aware that these are the final weeks of summer. Galas are hanging ripe for the picking. The first block of winter squash (Delicata and Sweet Dumplings) is ready to be harvested. Everything is ripening and there are barely enough hours in the day to keep up with the raspberries, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and summer squash in addition to the usual staple crops of beets, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, and strawberries – to name a few. Now is the time we most feel the support of the team at play, and the smiles on our faces at the end of a 12-13 hour day are a mutual acknowledgement of this joint effort.
The “Naked Ladies” with their striking pink flowers (Amaryllis belladonna) are in full bloom, which is an early sign that summer is almost over. Knowing that shorter days are just around the corner, we are already preparing the fields and planting our fall and winter crops.
With summer vacations technically over after Labor Day, we invite you to extend that summer feeling a bit longer by joining us for another round of U-pick Community Farm Days the next two Saturdays – August 30th and September 6th.
Bring the kids to explore the farm; we have plenty of activities planned to go along with your harvest adventures – tractor rides, apple cider pressing, and farm walking tours. Now is the best time to pick and preserve the summer bounty to be enjoyed later during fall and winter.
Here on the farm we measure the end of summer when strawberry beds are prepared for planting and we stop picking tomatoes – with the typical extension of our coastal summer weather, the tomato harvest could last into mid-October. Hope to see you here on the farm to join the harvest effort.
The farm’s winter fields are a patchwork of cover crops and winter veggies. Take a walk through them with us and see all the changes. Click on the highlighted text to reach related previous posts.
Take a walk with us around the farm to see the changes from the recent three days of rain.
The season’s first rainmaker is predicted to approach the Central Coast this Friday and Saturday. Although no more than 1 inch of rain is expected to fall, it is enough to give us some drought relief. After almost six months of harvesting every single day, we are tired and dream of slowing down a bit during the hopefully rainier months ahead.
With the exception of a few more rows of Fuji apples needing to be picked, our apple harvest is done for the season. Soon all the apples going into our shares (mostly our sweet Fuji’s) will be taken out of cold storage. After this next rain the strawberries and tomatoes will also officially be done, plowed back into the soil with a winter cover crop planted in the fields to rest and recharge the soil. The only fruit still being harvested for awhile longer are the pineapple guavas and, starting in December, our Meyer lemons should fully yellow to be enjoyed in our shares.
Since crops are turning their energy inward to form seeds or store their energy in roots or trunks, winter is a good time to sow slower growing root crops that store in the ground over several months. The winter shares are a wonderful opportunity to enjoy both the nutrient dense earthy flavors of many of the root crops we grow (parsnips, celeriac, carrots, beets, and turnips), as well as the unique crisp textures and sweet flavors brassicas develop when temperatures drop into the thirties during the frostier winter nights ahead.
When the rain finally starts falling I will walk the farm to breathe a sigh of relief, surrendering to the inevitability of the more sinister decay of the farm’s crop lifecycle. The rotting windfall apples and tomatoes on the ground, I recognize, are the secret of fertility and the regenerative power of our earthly existence. I wish you all a spooky and safe Halloween!!
While some crops, like raspberry and blackberry canes, remain in the same place for a couple of years, as the season progresses most crops are rotated through the fields. Take a walk with us to see the changes.
Be sure to mark your calendar and join us on Saturday, August 16th for a Community Farm Day and Dry-farmed Tomato U-pick. Come take your own field walk, and enjoy the Farm!
The freedom to celebrate and express our unique individuality, our INDEPENDENCE, is closely linked to and made possible by the support and participation of a healthy community of INTERDEPENDENT members. As a farmer treating the land as a “living organism” always reminds me of that dynamic – the food we grow nourishes members in our community and is the result of an incredible diversity of functions performed by innumerable individuals – individuals all connected within Nature’s Web of Life. Happy 4thof July!
Quick Crop Update
Warm weather and long growing days have sped up the maturity of many of our crops. The Blenheim Apricot harvest, which typically starts near the end of July, was almost three weeks early and is over for this year. We picked the last ones on Tuesday, and I am so glad we were able to sneak in a Community U-pick the same day we celebrated this year’s Solstice. (Note: there will be no U-Pick on the Farm this Saturday, July 5th.) The peppers are starting to ripen, also very early. Our Farm Manager, Juan, and I tested some Padrons last week, and the first, small harvest of Yellow Wax peppers happened this week. This means dry-farmed tomatoes are just around the corner. Lots to look forward to!
Things are always changing in the fields. From month to month, week to week, and day to day. Here’s a photo essay to keep you up to date.
Summer is a great time to visit the farm, so come on by on a Saturday to shop at our Green Valley Barn Farm Stand, walk the fields and nibble on some freshly picked produce, and take in the sights and scents.
The past week has been a frosty one indeed. Take a walk through the fields with us to see how they look.