Sunday, May 9, 2010

What's Growing on the Farm

No E coli on the Romaine at your local direct farm to market stand

When multiple farms' harvests are combined into one - it makes it rather difficult to isolate the problem. The result - massive recalls.... The Latest Outbreak.....

One of the many valid points by Brad Stufflebeam at the hearing last week - IF, a small direct market farmer had a problem with one of their crops, which they rarely do as a direct result of the kind of farming we do - it would be traceable - immediately. The entire country's market of lettuce and anything containing it wouldn't need to be shut down and recalled. When will they learn?

Meantime, Life on the Farm...
Spring is being pushed out by early warm temps and dry weather in April. April showers? not in North Texas....I'd have to double check, but I think we had a grand total of less than an inch here on the farm. May is not starting out any wetter.

So that means irrigation is going full speed ahead and with our "off the grid" system down due to a lightening strike taking out our circuit board, I'm having to do my part at stinking up the air which i hate. But, we have to get water on the gardens, too and we're not getting much help from Above right now.

Since we need to rebuild our board anyway and do some rethinking about things, I am thinking about a long term solution that includes sinking a dc powered well pump into some pipe out in the pond. Seems there are far more choices for dc powered well pumps than continuous run land pumps we're finding and we'll need the ever expanding power of a larger pump as we continue to expand and need to irrigate more crops over time. We'll see what our wonderful volunteer engineer says. Seems I've taught him well as he's now busy growing a successful home garden for he and his wife and doesn't get out to the farm as often....

A drip tape monster is tamed

We were on the receiving end of the gifting of some drip tapes from farmer Sharlena who moved on to AZ to be with family. While finding all of the little leaks that come with prior years' tapes takes some time, being able to re-use the tapes that would otherwise have ended up in a dump before their time is a good thing. We do our best to patch and plug, thankful for the savings of not only our capital.

Naturally Beautiful

We're harvesting the last of the lettuce this week before it bolts with the early heat that came on last week and the one before. They are sure pretty and what our CSA can't consume, will go out for our hungry market day friends on the 15th so be sure to come, 9-noon. The Gleaning Network and a few local "hungry families" will enjoy the rest that is left.

Market Day's have been fun and busy this spring. We have a few new farmers/producers this year and our little "boutique" market is coming along nicely. Far as we know, we're still the only all organic/clean food market around - maybe in the state. And while it keeps us small, my point for sticking to this policy is that if you're going out of your way to look for good, local, food, might as well find clean, nutritionally dense food, too. Food that is grown locally is great, as it is fresher than the supermarket's offerings for sure - but I don't want pesticides on my food and I want to support those who support the earth's sustainability in their growing practices for many reasons.

We have an organic dairy and produce farm scheduled to join our market in June and as the produce comes in, so will the farmers we've been talking to including a local garlic farmer and various market farmers' seasonal produce growers with things like corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, squash, etc.

The rainbow of carrots are looking good here at Eden's - from above anyway - and I can't wait to harvest them. Beets, collards and the chard are dodging whatever has been eating the green mustard and our kale. Looks like a small black beetle that nothing else wants to eat. I don't like to use Spinosad, as it is non-selective even though it is an organic product, when eaten, accidentally in a water droplet or on the leaves as pests consume them, it will kill it's eater. So struggle as I may to stay with a target use control, we'd like to have some green mustard before summer comes on and I'll carefully spray just those plants when the winds die down. Bt , another organic tool, (this one is a specific insect targeted control), needs to go on the squash and tomatoes as I've started to see signs of nibbling - usually a caterpillar of some sort.

Parris Island Romaine at its Peak

It's dry and I suspect that is what the plants are hollering about - We Want Water! I'm doing so with irrigation, but nothing compares to a nice, gentle soaking rain. We pray.

Probably our biggest disappointment this winter has been the spinach and strawberries. Too much rain this winter kept several rows under standing water much of the growing season and roots need air to breathe as well as moisture to grow. We'll see about converting these obviously low and flood prone areas to compost areas rather than growing rows in the future. The compost piles will serve as water breaks and the "tea" that does run off should make anything downhill quite happy. :)

Our CSA potluck picnic was lots of fun and everyone seemed to really enjoy getting to meet others who are like-minded in the support of small, local urban farms - this one in particular. We toured the back 40 and saw where the honey bees' new home will be later this spring/summer. There are spring shares available - for details on how to join us and help support a small, local growing farm.

Supporting local farmers, organic or not, and growing some of your own food, helps send a message to DC and your state that you want choices in your food sources. We're not advocating an end to big ag, just a correction to what the results of it have produced.

Many thanks for your support of local farms, farmers, and clean food.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

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