Farm Update May 6, 2017

We started harvesting extra early this morning to beat the heat. By around 5:30a we were working in the field. We will stop by about 1pm and take a break until 6pm, then work until a little after dark.

On Wednesday we put in 77 t-posts to support our trellises in the high tunnel. We should have the high tunnel fully planted within about 2 weeks if all goes well.

There are tiny berries on the blackberry bushes. Our plan is to put the shadecloth and bird netting up by the end of May, hopefully sooner.

Right now we are in the transition between the spring crops and the summer crops, so we will have a bit less variety at the market, but we will have plenty of greens, beets, carrots, cabbage, kale and onions.

The spring/summer CSA share distribution will start in about 2 weeks – May 14 at Rillito and May 15 in Green Valley. We still have shares available. If you know of anyone who might be interested, send them our way! The forms are available at the markets, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here. We will stick with a 50-share program this round, so please let us know if you are interested in a spot. The summer shares will include potatoes, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, flowers, cucumbers,  melons, okra, squash, salad mixes, among many other delicious ingredients.

sweet potato slips

Farm Update April 29, 2017

We have had the wind this week ! On Tuesday the smoke from the Sawmill Fire was blowing our way all day. It is warm and windy again today. I am always happy when we transition to the summer heat and the wind dies down. There is maybe another 3 or 4 weeks of the windy season out here.

We planted asparagus crowns yesterday, putting in a bed that is 160 feet long. The variety is UC-157, developed by the University of California Davis for growing in a hot, dry climate. We will be able to harvest the new bed in 2019. Now we have 3 asparagus beds. My plan is to put in an asparagus bed each spring.

This week we also planted two varieties of bush beans, one purple and one green. We should be harvesting them in 7 or 8 weeks.

The spring/summer CSA share distribution will start in about 2 weeks – May 14 at Rillito and May 15 in Green Valley. We still have shares available. If you know of any family members, friends or neighbors who might be interested, send them our way! The forms are available at the markets, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here. We will stick with a 50-share program this round, so please let us know if you are interested in a spot. The summer shares will include potatoes, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, flowers, cucumbers, melons, okra, squash, salad mixes, among many other delicious ingredients.

new asparagus bed
potato plants just starting to sprout

Farm Update April 22, 2017

This last week we have been spending a lot of time and effort preparing the soil in the high tunnel for our summer crops. As you can see in the image below, we will have seven beds in the tunnel. We have applied compost and coco-peat. Next we will till these amendments in to the soil. After that we will put up the trellises; everything growing in the high tunnel this summer will be trellised to optimize space utilization.

The weather at the farm has been spectacular this last week – cool mornings and sunny, warm afternoons. Everything is growing rapidly as a result.

We still have space in our summer CSA program and this week at the market we continue to reserve spots and accept payment. If you know of any family members, friends or neighbors who might be interested, send them our way! The forms are available at the markets, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here. We will stick with a 50-share program this round, so please let us know if you are interested in a spot. The summer shares will include potatoes, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, flowers, cucumbers,  melons, okra, squash, salad mixes, among many other delicious ingredients.

We’ll see you at the markets!

soil amendments nearly complete in the high tunnel
carrots on the washing rack

Farm Update April 15, 2017

Today we will finally get our Kennebec seed potatoes in the ground. We have been preparing the soil for the last week or so and it is finally ready. Yesterday we dug the trenches for the potatoes; it took a chunk of the afternoon to complete the digging.

Yesterday I noticed that the blackberry plants are starting to bloom. The plants have been pruned and fertilized with compost. We added a couple driptapes to the bed to ensure the bushes receive plenty of water. Next, we will put shadecloth over the bed and put up netting to keep the birds from feasting on the berries. If the heat doesn’t fry the blossoms like it did last June, we should have a bumper crop of blackberries in late June.

As a reminder for our Green Valley customers, we will be delivering CSA shares to the Good Shepherd Church on Monday mornings between 9:30a and 11:30a, STARTING MONDAY MAY 15. I neglected to indicate the date in last week’s newsletter. Our Green Valley customers who are not CSA shareholders this summer are welcome to email us your orders by noon on Saturday and we will bring your order to the CSA distribution location. Please email or call if you need more information.

As mentioned in the last few newsletters, this week at the market we continue to reserve spots and accept payments for the spring/summer CSA program. The forms are available at the markets, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here. We will stick with a 50-share program this round, so please let us know if you are interested in a spot. The summer shares will include potatoes, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, flowers, cucumbers,  melons, okra, squash, salad mixes, among many other tasty ingredients.

potato trenches
Shaun and Hannah harvesting spinach

Farm Update April 8, 2017

Our order of seed potatoes arrived yesterday late in the day. We have been getting the beds ready for planting and there is a bit more to do before the soil is ready for planting. We will rip the soil deeply and then add cocopeat and compost. Then we will turn the soil a couple more times to mix it all thoroughly. Finally, we will dig furrows and plant the seed potatoes. This season we are planting Kennebec russets. They store longer than the Colorado Rose potatoes that we grew last year. We have also increased the number of rows, so we should have a larger harvest than last year. We will find out in early June when we dig the potato crop.

This week we did our last market in Green Valley for awhile. We will likely return to the market there in the late fall. Thank you to all our customers in Green Valley! We will miss you this summer.

We will be delivering CSA shares to the Good Shepherd Church on Monday mornings between 9:30a and 11:30a. Our Green Valley customers who are not CSA shareholders this summer are welcome to email us your orders by noon on Saturday and we will bring your order to the CSA distribution location. Please email or call if you need more information.

Yesterday we provided a farm tour to a group of middle school students from The Gregory School. We showed them our solar panels, our watering system, our seedlings in the hoophouse, the growing beds, the new high tunnel and our washing/prep facilities. They asked lots of great questions. We served them some freshly harvested baby carrots and sent them home with some big bags of spinach to share.

This week at the market we continue to reserve spots and accept payments for the spring/summer CSA program. The forms are available at the markets, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here. We will stick with a 50-share program this round, so please let us know if you are interested in a spot. The summer shares will include potatoes, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, flowers, cucumbers,  melons, okra, squash, salad mixes, among many other tasty ingredients.

We’ll see you at the markets!

late season broccoli
kennebec seed potatoes

Farm Update April 1, 2017

Today is a busy one at the farm. One crew is harvesting, another is making a new asparagus bed and we are also working on installing fixtures in the tiny house.

Yesterday was cool and blustery most of the day. A full rainbow was visible to the west for over an hour as the rain was moving through the area while the harvest progressed.

We started delivering to the Sierra Vista Food Co-op again after a hiatus since last September. Yesterday I delivered red and green salad mix and large leaf spinach in 5 oz. deli boxes. This packaging is made from bioplastic and is compostable.

I also made an early evening delivery to The Quarry in Bisbee. If you are in southeastern AZ, check out our produce at either of these two places.

This week at the markets we continue to reserve spots and accept payments for the spring/summer CSA program. The forms are available at the markets, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here. We will stick with a 50-share program this round, so please let us know if you are interested in a spot. The summer shares will include potatoes, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, flowers, cucumbers,  melons, okra, squash, salad mixes, among many other tasty ingredients.

new asparagus bed
new bed of braising mix

Farm Update March 25, 2017

This week at the markets we will be reserving spots and accepting payments for the spring/summer CSA program. The forms are also available on our website, in the CSA box on the right sidebar of the site, and here. We will stick with a 50-share program this round, so please let us know if you are interested in a spot. The summer shares will include potatoes, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, flowers, cucumbers,  melons, okra, squash, salad mixes, among many other tasty ingredients.

We now have a full crew of interns – 4 total. We will have this crew for 3 more weeks and then the number will decrease to 3 for the duration of the summer. You will be seeing these hardworking people at the markets throughout the summer.

We are excited to announce we will be supplying ingredients to CafÈ Roka in Bisbee starting this Friday, so if you are in Bisbee, please stop by CafÈ Roka for a delicious meal.

We’ll see you at the markets!

Iitoi’s onions
farm interns Ian and Bobby preparing Iitoi’s onions for the restaurants

Farm Update March 18, 2017

Next week at the markets we will start to reserve spots and accept payments for the spring/summer CSA program. We will stick with a 50-share program this round, so please let us know if you are interested in a spot. The summer shares will include potatoes, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, flowers, cucumbers,  melons, okra, squash, salad mixes, among many other tasty ingredients.

As you have also likely experienced this week, it continues to be warmer than normal for this time of year. This is mainly a good thing for our crops, but certain ones are sending up seed stalks – primarily the greens beds that we use for our salad mixes. Fortunately the spinach and baby romaine haven’t bolted, but it won’t take many more 90 degree plus days to precipitate it. Our collard greens think it is summer and the plants in the newer bed are bolting. Stay tuned for more wild weather! It isn’t even spring yet.

We’ll see you at the markets!

These carrots will be ready to pull in about 3 weeks!
New red and green lettuce mix

Farm Update January 21, 2017

Another weekend and another winter storm. The wind blew through here at gale force around 2am this morning. Some minor damage occurred in our field, a few broccoli leaves broke off, some of the rowcovers blew off and many of the supporting hoops are bent a little, but nothing major. We had a little snow blowing around late in the evening mixed in with the rain, but no snow accumulated.

As a reminder, the delivery this weekend marks the beginning of the second half of our winter CSA season and the second half payment is due for those shareholders who chose to pay in 2 installments. Thank you for the half-season payments already received.

We’ll see you at the markets!

img_1092_winterstormclosinginonthewhetstones-copy
Winter storm closing in on the Whetstones

Farm Update November 5, 2016

We are finally feeling some cool fall temperatures in the early morning. The afternoons the last few days have yielded some very pleasant working conditions.

Our fall crops are growing nicely in these conditions. As you can see in the image, the Hakurei turnips are ready for harvesting. We will have them in the markets for months now.

The spinach seedlings are up; our hardworking interns thinned them yesterday afternoon. The parsnips and rutabaga plants have sprouted; we completed the thinning and infill planting yesterday as well. The carrots have some very small, pale and thin roots starting to develop. The largest beet tops are about 8in tall and some of the beetroots are at the baby size.

Seasonality is also taking away some of the tastes we have been enjoying as the summer crops slowly fade. There will be no more of the Suyo Long Cucumbers that we have been eating for months. We’ll see them again next summer. The chiles are finally slowing down, too.

We will have the Tohono O’Odham yellow watermelons for awhile, though. When the frosts come, we will do a salvage harvest and keep the ripe ones until they sell out. The okra plants are still cranking, as are the sweet peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and mousemelons.

I hope the frost holds off a little while longer, although I won’t be sad to see the end of the grasshoppers, harlequin bugs and cucumber beetles after the first few hard freezes. The last two years the first hard freeze happened on November 2 and then it was warm for a few more weeks.

We have room for a few more CSA shareholders. If you would like to sign up for the next season, we will continue taking payments/reservations for our 16-week fall/winter CSA share program, deliveries for which will begin the middle of November and run through the middle of March 2017. Shares will cost $250 for 16 weekly deliveries.

We will have the forms at the markets this weekend, and they are also available on our website, here.

turnips-copy
hakurei turnips
napa-copy
napa cabbage