Newbies on the Farm: a Bug, a Truck and a Cow!

Let’s start with the “bad bug” news. The prolonged heat wave we experienced last week may have extended the harvest of dry-farmed tomatoes, green beans and peppers for a few more weeks but on the flipside it also attracted a new exotic heat loving insect pest, a stink bug called Bagrada.

bagradapestThis African native has already spread to many parts of the world, and was first spotted in Southern California in 2008. With a preferential and voracious appetite for plants belonging to the mustard family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, chinese cabbage, arugula, bok choi, etc.) it has recently arrived in the Central Coast. Warm, dry weather provides the perfect conditions for it to quickly multiply and spread. Last week’s heat wave must have been the best opportunity for the Bagradas to pay us their first visit. We first spotted them on a broccoli plant in the Discovery Program garden, and yesterday we could also see them munching on our second and still young planting of brussel sprouts. Half of the field was already affected. Without natural enemies and no effective organic control methods yet identified, we are facing a challenging situation. Many farmers in warmer inland areas have reported serious damage, especially to young plants. Only colder and wetter weather, something we are all praying for this winter, is our best hope to slow down the Bagrada invasion.

bella2On a more positive note, last week we welcomed the arrival of Bella, our first Milking Cow. Bella is owned by a group of members, and lives in the pastures together with our ponies. I milk her twice a day, and she has been giving an abundance of delicious creamy milk. My wife Constance is right when she questions my sanity of adding another project to an already filled-out life. I always dreamt of having a milking cow, and now that I have reached middle age I don’t believe in driving a sports car or acting any younger than I should, so why not let unfulfilled dreams come true. Writing my part of the newsletter might be bit compromised, though. I like to write early in the morning, the same time Bella needs to be milked. I hope you all understand!!

LEFtrucksTalking of dreams – here is another that came true last week. The farm at long last has its own refrigerated delivery truck. It couldn’t have come at a better time. With farm deliveries happening almost every single day of the week, many going all the way to San Francisco, we now have both more flexibility in our schedules and, most importantly, our produce quality is less compromised. This truck, a 2015 Mitsubishi, is brand new. It gives us better gas mileage, has no harmful emissions (water vapor and Nitrogen), and replaces our older trucks which will retire to serve more local and on-farm hauling needs.

The new truck’s refrigerator unit can be run separately, allowing the shares to be stored in it overnight so there is more room in our cooler and the delivery team (Luis on the right, Victor on the left) can get on the road earlier since the truck doesn’t need to be loaded in the morning.

By | 2020-01-15T14:29:29-08:00 January 1st, 2018|Farm News & Tom's Reflections|Comments Off on Newbies on the Farm: a Bug, a Truck and a Cow!