We’ve had a couple of weeks of nasty Saturday weather, and we’ve heard many of our dear friends and customers thank us for making the trip to market. Their gratitude is appreciated, but the truth is we’re the grateful ones: During CSA off-periods, market is where we make money. Without customers who are willing to brave cold, rainy days to go home with our produce, there’d be no point to the Saturday trek—let alone all the work we put into raising that produce.
In the larger scheme of the week, going to market is pretty easy, and I’m always excited for Saturday. Market is where I get to be briefly extroverted, to meet new people and check up with our friends. It’s a change of pace from our usual work and an opportunity to see that work turn into interest, delight, and satisfaction as customers return and rave about a new recipe or as I talk them into trying something like Hakurei turnips for the first time.
I previously posted “So what exactly do you do on the farm?” and as I pondered the thanks customers give us, I thought it’d be good to follow that up with discussing the work that’s invisible—the work that makes it possible for us to come to market with so many varieties of produce and which makes us so confident and proud of the quality of our vegetables.
Return to farm late in the day (whoohoo, cruising!). Work on the base for our fish compost pile* from 4pm-6:30pm. Ben works on prepping beds for planting.
Work through a rainy morning to build the fish compost pile. 11 layers of green, brown, and bloody.
In the afternoon, I make soil blocks (while listening to the radio and singing and dancing like a fool; it helps the structure of the blocks ) and later we seed fennel and lettuce and other crops into those blocks. They head to the germination chamber to get a head start.
Spend the morning making weight bags, moving row covers, and arranging row covers over the strawberry plants with help from our friend Josh—there’s a frost on tap for the night which will set the berries back if we don’t cover them. The afternoon is taken up by clearing out beds we’ve used for winter growing, using the wheel-hoes and raking them smooth for new crops.
More bed preparation. Because we’re working in between some crops we’re still harvesting, it isn’t as quick and easy as just running the tractor over a large space. Some crops are still under the low-tunnels, which means removing and replacing the bows that support the plastic covers, and sometimes re-augering holes for those bows. The weather is gorgeous, and it’s truly wonderful to be outside.
We plant lettuce, chard, scallions, potatoes, sugar snap peas, carrots, and other crops. Some of these are transplants and some of them are directly seeded into the soil.
It’s wet, and it’s going to stay that way. We take a large chunk of the morning to remove the row covers we’d placed earlier in the week; if we don’t, it’s likely all that rain will make the plants susceptible to mold and disease. Ventilation is important!
We harvest in the rain; the cold makes me slow, and even though we’re harvesting fewer crops, they manage to fill the time. Harvest continues after lunch, and cleaning, sorting, washing, and bunching happens throughout the afternoon and evening, until around 7pm.
Over lunch, I ordered 9 pounds of bees! They’re set to arrive April 28th. I’ve never kept bees before, but I’m in contact with local beekeepers and the local beekeeping association, I have my awesome mama for information, and it’s just plain time to dive in. I’ve been reading and dreaming about beekeeping literally for years, and I’m so grateful to have the space and support to take this plunge!
So that’s five days on the farm. Seeding, transplanting, and bed prep will continue to happen for the next few months; Ben says this week and the first week of April are going to be particularly busy. Of course I’ll continue to find time to blog!