Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Farm report

Thanks for all who checked up on the farm after hurricane Irene passed by.  We had one tree fall on across a trailer, but amazingly nothing broke. Since the storm passed on the eastern side of the state, we didn't get more than about an inch and a half of rain and wind gusts up to 40mph. We lost about 50 stalks in the sweet corn plot, 1/2 of our heavily fruited hot peppers have tilted over and another dwarf apple tree is falling over, but it was already starting to do that anyway. Seems to be their thing. The apples and remaining plums dropped tons of fruit in the high winds, but as I get around to picking them up, the pigs are really happy! And they have a great swimming hole under their sun shelter.

Off to prepare to harvest another several hundred pounds of potatoes for West Haven Farm's CSA. We made our first delivery last week, and we have 7 more weekly harvests before their CSA ends for the season.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Brown rot & black knot, but lots of local connections

I'm sad to say, our Mirabelle plum season is over, but we're still getting a few of the German Zwetschgen and a larger variety that seems to just want to rot on the tree before they are ripe. Since the trees were young and there were almost no fruit being produced on the trees in our first two years on the farm, we basically neglected the few non-apple trees that Kate and Jeff so lovingly planted a few years back. Now that they are old enough to produce some fruit, we've noticed a few black knot infections in the limbs, and we had a full bloom of brown rot until Sharon spent a few hours clearing every fruit showing any signs of spores from the orchard. We're still losing a good percentage of the fruit, but far less than a few weeks ago. I had no idea that you could lose 100% of a harvest from brown rot and black knot could kill the trees off entirely. We'll have to start paying more attention to that end of the orchard! The pigs are particularly disappointed that the plums season is waning, since they've been getting all the non-diseased seconds. But the apples are dropping lots of fruit now, so they're getting plenty of treats added to their pasture and grains diet.

The mirabelles sold very well. Most went to Felicia's Atomic Lounge and we sold another 25lbs to patrons and pedestrians on the sidewalk outside the lounge during a friday Happy Hour. They invited us to set up a table outside. And since they're serving drinks with some of our fruit..it sounded like a good connection. It turned out to be a fun time, and we did it again last friday with a few plums, tomatillos, tomatoes, basil, and magic molly potatoes. Other than selling some produce while tasting the amazing fruit drinks and pizza made at Felicia's (all while visiting with our friends), the coolest part of the evening was having Stefan and David from Wide Awake Bakery stroll by with baskets of their bread. They have a drop off of their bread CSA down the street at the Ithacamade store.  When they're done they stop by Felicia's and sell their remaining loaves. We traded our leftover tomatillos for a few loaves of their amazing bread (which was made from our friend Thor's wheat grown and milled at Farmer Ground Flour). Talk about a local deal.

Sunday we caught up with a few friends at Todd and Christine's wedding celebration. We found out that the Piggery will be opening up the cafe side of the Piggery Deli this tuesday! They also sell at the Ithaca Farmer's Market and through a meat CSA. We're excited to try everything out, and we'll be bringing down some dill for their potato salad. We've been leaving nose prints on their windows (they're across the street from the Farmer's Market) for a few months, and checking out the big harvest table made by another friend, Maria at Double Dog Timber Works, and watching the progress as they transformed the space.

One of these days, I'll sit down and write about my beliefs on the valuation of an economic multiplier for purchasing local food, and how it is under-represented in traditional economic impact studies. But right now there are tomatoes, plum, and pears so ripe they're just falling to the ground, and the birds are raiding our elderberries. And the much needed rain has stopped, so I'd better get back out in the field.