Farm Update September 23, 2017

We are finally starting to put together a fall/winter crew of farmworkers after an entire summer without full time or even part time helpers. Full-season interns and HelpXers will start to arrive in late October and by mid-November we should have a full crew. Various short-term wwoofers and HelpXers will come and go throughout the winter season

Thank you so much to all the volunteers that have helped and continue to assist me through this difficult time. I would not have been able to make it through the summer without your help. Although I am not out of the proverbial woods (desert?) yet regarding help on the farm, I can at least see the edge of the trees (cacti?) now.

This week I ordered the materials to complete our high tunnel. This includes roll-up doors on each end, a new 12 mil woven cover, and additional tie-down straps. These should help to prevent another dust devil disaster like the one at the beginning of the summer that shredded the old cover. We will also be improving the structure by replacing the 1”x3” ribbon boards with 2”x4”s. Once all this is in place we will have a large greenhouse for the winter that should extend our tomato, chile and pepper season, along with allowing us to have a steady supply of greens regardless of the winter low temperatures.

If you are inclined to volunteer, we will be needing a fairly large crew when we install the new high tunnel cover. Additional information will be included in succeeding newsletters as we approach the day.

As we have been mentioning the last few weeks, we will be selling CSA shares for our fall & winter CSA season that will start on November 12 and continue until mid-March. The forms will be available at the Sunday market, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here.

The first set of CSA share income is what paid for the high tunnel materials. The next thing we will do with the share sale income is to replace our old battery bank with a new and better one. Thanks for your support!

We will see you at the market!

sweet potato bed
five beds of winter squash, butternut and delicata

Farm Update September 16, 2017

It is a little chilly this morning, the temperature as I write this is 58 degrees. It is starting to feel like we are easing into fall; another summer is winding down.

The Rillito farmers’ market will be having a chile festival this weekend and we will be selling sinahuisa, jalapeño, poblano and Aleppo chiles.

As mentioned last week, we will be selling CSA shares for our fall & winter CSA season that will start on November 12 and continue until mid-March. The forms will be available at the Sunday market, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here.

We will see you at the market!

baby patty pan squash
freshly picked shishito peppers

Farm Update September 9, 2017

We are slowly getting the weeds under control, with help from our volunteers John and Chris. Once the weeds are gone, the grasshopper plague should be more manageable.

We are harvesting a bumper crop of tomatoes, over 400 pounds per week. If you or any friends are interested in making and/or canning some tasty tomato sauce, please let us know and we will sell you tomatoes in bulk for a great price.

Our chile plants are now producing nicely. We have sinajuisa (similar to a serrano, but better flavor), jalapeños, poblanos and Aleppo. All of these will be at the market on Sunday.

Our late summer succession of summer squash is also cranking. We will have zucchini and patty pan at the market again starting this weekend.

We will be selling CSA shares for our fall & winter CSA season that will start on November 12 and continue until mid-March. The forms will be available at the Sunday market, and in the CSA box on the right sidebar of this website, and here.

We will see you at the market!

a pomegranate (var. Parfianka) from our mini-orchard
tomato vines loaded with fruit

 

Farm Update August 26, 2017

The Great Ripening is upon us! We are harvesting loads of plum tomatoes now. Yesterday we harvested about 80 pounds from about 2/3 of the row. We have the tomatoes at the market this Sunday and should have them until early December.

Also, the corno di toro Italian sweet peppers are finally ripening en masse, as are the jalapeños and lunchbox peppers. All of these plants should continue to produce for a couple months at least.

We have had a few volunteers this week and have been able to get a bit more done on controlling the massive volume of weeds in our field. Little by little we are getting a handle on the weeds.

We will soon be selling CSA shares for our fall & winter CSA season that will start in early November and continue until mid-February. Please let us know if you want us to reserve a share for you.

Thank you for supporting local, organic, sustainable farming in southern AZ !

garlic, california early white
verona plum tomatoes

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