In the field!
- Baby ginger is here. Succulent and juicy, I love to add its zest to just about everything. Even now, I am eating a luscious chopped choi salad with all our greens, a few of our roots and a tablespoon of ginger!
- It seems we are going to get one crop of carrots this year. Number three of four is the one and we are going to start bringing crunchy bunchy's to market this week. On the frowny face side of things, the storage carrots were beyond salvation and we practiced throwing in the towel. Of course it took me 1.5 beds of hard weeding time to figure that out...
- The greens are in full fall effect! If we offer a sort that you are unfamiliar with, please ask to try a taste and for ideas on how to use it.
- That blasted cover crop seed is spread. Crimson clover and Telia annual ryegrass, spun out by hand over the acreage that has gotten much of Lake Divide air time over the past few weeks. Before I spun out the seed, I disced over where we plowed. It was BUMPY! I had to wear my seat belt to keep from hitting my head on the roof of the tractor cab, and persistently wondered if I was doing something wrong. I mean how could it be so bumpy? The next day, I sat down on the stoop to have a beer with Jim, really felt all that bumpy-ness. I am almost unsore now. But rebooted the soreness with spinning the seed. That took me six hours of diligently marching back and forth across the now less bumpy but still bumpy terrain. At first I kept myself busy, worrying about whether the seed was being spread even enough that phase lasted a few acres. Then I imagined making cards for all the people I am grateful for and handing them out for New Years (I better start now!) Eventually I settled into marching to the rhythm of my activity, stepping, breathing, spinning the handle. I would snap out of it and gleefully realize I had made a few passes without even knowing it. In the end, I was just hoping it would be over soon. And it was. And now it is done and it is no longer up to me to make it do anything. I just have to hope it rains.
In my mind:
- One of our biggest challenges this year has been weed control. Both the time it takes to weed large plantings and the reduced yields that result from a weedy crop. We anticipated this, because our fields had been abandoned for so long, but as Jim said, when coaxing me out of a weed induced despair, "seeing it is a little different". One thing that can help is better soil preparation. We are laying the groundwork for a less weedy 2018 by cover cropping the area we are planning to use next year. We also plan to determine ideal timings of bed prep, seeding/planting, flame-weeding, and cultivation to reduce handweeding as much as possible, and stick to those timings as closely as we can. But of course, the ideal is just something to strive for, and typically, we float around in reality, perpetually in the act of attempting to achieve, which brings me to my next thought:
- Knowing when to throw in the towel! As best I understand it, every vegetable farmer loses crops in a given year, especially a diverse vegetable farmer. On occasion, the situation looks so bad, it seems for certain there is no way to recover any gain from it. Sometimes, if you throw enough energy at a situation like that, the crops can recover and it can be said it was "worth it." All successes that result from working within the sliding scale of a living system, like ugly but delicious vegetables, or tiny misshapen yet plentiful yields, fall into this category. Sometimes, quite the opposite is true and the situation becomes an energy eating monster that will take as much as you can give it, physically and emotionally, and never give anything back. The part I am still trying to figure out is how to tell the difference. Years of experience will help make that clear, along with keeping good records and making observations. In the meantime, while we build that database of crop successes and failures over time, we need to think of a good way to decide when to throw down and when to give up.
- We are going to stop growing crops that don't give back what we are putting in, at least for the meantime. We don't know who is going to get cut yet, but this winter, that is something that will be considered while reviewing this seasons metrics
- We have struggled to keep a full staff this season. One of our goals for next year is to make working with us more enticing. We have a few ideas bumping around (housing/pay rate) but are still on the hunt for solutions.
- We need to retain some level of humanity through the growing season. When mid-August rolls around, I find myself barely able to think because I am so tired. For the past tow weeks I have been resting up by calling it a day a little earlier (easy to do with the ever decreasing daylight hours) and taking Monday morning to sleep and relax. I have noticed that my mind is clearing. It is easier to logically choose the best action, easier to do arithmetic, easier to read, easier to laugh. This return to my mind, reminded me that while sometimes going hard is the only way to get through a tough time, I am a lot more effective when I have a little energy in reserve. I am really excited to look at how many human hours went into getting through this season and figuring out how to distribute them more effectively over time and shoulders.
TOMATO SALE CONTINUES!
- "Seconds" (less than perfect but still perfectly delicious) are $2 per pound or a full tray for $20
- 5+ pounds of tomatoes of your choice $2.50 per pound
- 10+ pounds of tomatoes of your choice $2.00 per pound
- 3 pints of Cherry Tomatoes for only $8
Fresh from the field
Beets by the pound
Carrot by the pound
Summer squash (limited)
Sweet Salad Turnips
Turnips - classic!
Tomatoes- lots of heirlooms
Yukina Savoy! delicious new green!
*We send this email out before harvest, and although we do our very best to make accurate predictions, crops and quantities found at market may vary.
All the best!
Helen, Jim, Exie the dog, and the Lake Divide Farm Crew!
Markets, always rain or shine!
(we begin attending on dates listed above)
Wednesday: Ann Arbor
The Ann Arbor Market is located in the Kerrytown District at 315 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI. The market runs from May thru December from 7 am to 3 pm.
The Stockbridge Open Air Market is located on the square in downtown Stockbridge. It runs from May thru October from 4 pm to 7 pm
Saturday: Ann Arbor and Chelsea
The Ann Arbor Market is located in the Kerrytown District at 315 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI. The market runs from May thru December, 7 am to 3 pm and January thru April from 8 am to 3 pm.
The Chelsea Farmers' Market is located in the lower library lot along Park St. It runs May thru October from 8 am to 1 pm.
The Howell Farmers' market can be found in the heart of Howell at State st and Clinton st, adjacent to the historic Livingston County Courthouse. It runs May thru October, 9 am to 2 pm.