Soshito Peppers at HUSK! We are growing these this year!!!
Loyal Readers, I apologize about the hiatus in blog posts last week as I was on a food/ farm – cation down south. I am very
Yes, these are carrot transplants. Make fun all you want but after the weed fiasco, we are transplanting EVERYTHING
much a hands on visual learner so it was refreshing and amazing to see other farmer’s operations and also to visit restaurants whose chefs feature seasonal local produce. Despite there being a seasonal and soil difference between locations, this trip gave me a lot of ideas and also got me thinking about our little farm back in IL. At the end of the season last year my thought process was More Land = More Money = More Profit = Successful Business. (That is a lot of = signs. 🙂 ) I am now thinking that is not the case. I saw a lot of successful operations done very well on 1/2 the amount of land we have this year. I think that with a smaller amount of land, done right, someone can make just as much money. Right now, our 1.5 acres has some empty beds waiting for transplants to harden off. Some of that empty space is due to over growth of weeds taking over direct seeded beds. We are amending that with transplants that will go in the ground next week. However, I also think I could be better at succession planting and maximizing the space I have on a smaller scale. With all of these thoughts I also have to ask myself if the beds were all full would Hendrick House be able to use all of this produce during the summer when business is slow? My brain is racing with all of these questions and I am eager to find answers.
We are now at the point in the season where we are thinking about students coming back in the fall, as I like to call it…. “go time”! We have a greenhouse full of plants that are starting to be hardened off this week. Although weeding is a necessity, I much prefer planting and harvesting ESPECIALLY when I know the demand for this produce will increase. I do have to give a huge shoutout to Lance, Adam, Ryan, Chris and Ian! Even though we are in slower months they have never said no to me even when I asked them if they wanted to buy 300lbs of squash/ zucchini, which is a lot for anyone. I have said it before and I will say it again…. this project would not be possible without the chefs on the other end buying and creatively using the fresh farm produce!! I also need to give a shout out to my farm assistant, Sarah. She did a fantastic job while I was gone and the farm looked great. My sincerest gratitude!
Because we have a plethora of squash right now I pitched the processing kitchen the idea of making squash/ zucchini pickles. They are similar to dill pickles and it seemed like a great way to not only use the excess of squash and dill from the farm but also to redistribute the product in the fall. Stay tuned and I will let you know how it works out. It could be the most disgusting thing on the planet but I have a feeling it won’t be 🙂 .
All Hail!!! Miraculous Watermelon!!!
By the grace of something we have watermelon!!! Must have been all those sleepless nights fretting about it and hoping my little/ gigantic mistake of not pollinating them would somehow go away. I didn’t even have to take a cue tip to collect pollen from another source, although I had them ready. This is seriously a freakish phenomena and I have 0 way to explain it, although grateful it worked in my favor. The watermelon are growing like crazy and we are predicted to have our first harvest in two weeks.
Noooooooo! First signs of Tomato Horn Worm on Potatoes. (Special thanks to AKL for teaching me to use Snapchat)
I was finally able to hill the potato beds today. This is after waiting almost a month for the soil to dry out. They look good and healthy, although I did find an unwelcome invader on one of the plants. Hornworms are so huge it still gives me the creeps squishing them. There was only one and I was grateful I haven’t seen any signs on the tomatoes yet. But where there’s one there are sure to be more. My eagle eye vision has been shifted into high gear.
Using the compliment sandwich method and putting the bad news “sandwiched” with the good…. we have a serious bacterial spot problem. Because our tomatoes are fruiting I have started to see early signs on some of the fruit. We are fertilizing once a week and spraying copper, desperately trying to cure the problem. Jeremy says they look better this week compared to last but I secretly think he was just trying to make me feel better. I will be contacting Rick and hopefully he will have some amazing words of wisdom, like he usually does.
First of the cherry tomatoes. Yum Yum
Speaking of tomatoes, I had a delicious lunch today consisting of 6 ripe cherry tomatoes! The first tomatoes of the season always gets me so excited for the fall. They were juicy and delicious with the perfect amount of acidity. It was a phenomenal welcome back present.