Farm News – September 5, 2013
Happy Labor Day! I hope you are all enjoying the picnics and family gatherings that are part of the holiday. And I hope you have been able to put to good use the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor in preparing dishes for your events. Here on the farm of course, we continue to labor because the veggies won’t wait! That’s not meant as a complaint, it’s just the reality of our business. There will be ample time to rest during the winter months. It does seem like an appropriate occasion to give praise and thanks to my crew.
I have a team of a dozen field workers who have been working long days and through much of the summer seven days a week. Anyone who has run their own business will tell you that the biggest challenge is staffing. This is especially true in vegetable farming which is a labor intensive endeavor and one which most Americans cannot endure. I am very fortunate and grateful to have a group of men and women who have worked tirelessly without complaint through extreme heat and inclement weather to plant, cultivate and harvest the crops you have all been enjoying. I am especially thankful to have found a crew leader, Manuel, who has managed this large group with patience and good humor. The workers come from poor families in Guatemala and Nicaragua and are grateful for the chance to improve the lives of their families. They have told me on several occasions “trabajamos con amor”. It is gratifying to me that, with the support of my members, I am able to provide this opportunity.
And now for news of the farm… We are still very dry as we have been circumvented by the scattered storms that have been passing through our area. We have one more chance at some precipitation this Monday afternoon and evening. Summer squash has come back into heavier production with the third planting kicking in. Beans are abundant, with the heirloom pole bean known as the Rattlesnake bean being the star producer at the moment. These are very sweet and tender flat type beans which are streaked with purple. We are temporarily out of lettuce again for the next few weeks, due to having to cut many varieties at a small size before they bolted. We are also short on herbs for now, until the parsley regrows and the dill and cilantro reach harvestable size.
What we do have is a bit of “flavored” basils – Thai and lemon. These varieties seem to be resistant to the blight which strikes the basil during the humid August weather. Melons have come to an end, but we still have a few very ripe cantaloupes and some watermelons which we will send as an extra.
As for news of the farm purchase, I have received a tentative promise of financing from Farm Credit East and have signed a contract with the owner. The next step will be ordering an appraisal. I will know in a couple of weeks if the appraised value is equal or proximate to the agreed on purchase price. I am extremely grateful to those of you who have pledged to prepay for the coming season and allowed me to take this large step forward. I will keep you apprised of the progress.
The share for this week will be: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, red potatoes, yellow onions, beets, summer squash, string beans, basil, and choice of kale or Swiss chard. For extras there will be hot peppers, tomatillos and okra.
Enjoy! Farmer John