Peak tomato harvests and new flavors coming in!

The tomatoes are coming in in all colors, shapes, and sizes! Here's Pink Berkeley Tie Die in front, with some German Johnson in the background:

We've been so busy the last couple of weeks processing the garlic crop, and picking summer veggies like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, husk cherries, and tomatillos, that I missed writing the blog the last two weeks. Here are a few highlights from recent harvests:

Husk Cherries (also called Ground Cherries) are in now! Come have a taste if you've never had one. It's about the closest thing to a tropical fruit that we can grow in Maine. Fruity and funky.

Here's Kate packing tomatoes for you for this weekend's markets! We'll have the full variety of heirloom slicers, cherries, plums, pastes, and beefsteaks. Plus plenty of seconds for your salsa and sauce projects. Interested in a bulk order of canning tomatoes? Let us know how much you're looking for, and we'll try to set you up right.

Thanks for reading. I'll try not to miss any more weeks this summer!

Best,

Ben, family, and crew

The garlic harvest is on!

Howdy folks, well the garlic harvest is on and I'm going to get to that, but I would be remiss not to mention my dad Nick Whatley's 60th birthday today! We are celebrating with family here tonight, including my brother and his wife Nora, who just got back this morning from their honeymoon. We are all happy here today to be together again, and the crew is doing a great job harvesting for market, planting, and bringing in the garlic..!

This is how it comes out of the field: The tractor drives down the bed with an undercutter bar, which slices through the soil just below the roots...the soil looks like it's rolling and flowing like a river while the tractor goes through. It's a really simple tool but it works beautifully!

Then we load up the bins (above is the view from the tractor while we drive down the row filling it with garlic) into the farm trucks:

You'll always know our trucks by the "TOPSHAM" on the side! That means we can drive these rust buckets within a 20-mile radius of the farm, as long as they have working brakes, lights, and a few other things...

Next we bring the garlic into our "shade house," which is a small high tunnel covered with shade cloth...here is where we cure the garlic before processing. We build up these stacks of racks, with thins of layers of garlic and enough air flow to dry the crop down. After a month or so, we can begin trimming the necks off the garlic and grading for size. Our biggest and best bulbs go for seed garlic, both for our own replanting and for sale to gardeners and farmers like yourselves!

Lastly, we are very excited to bringing fresh Pekin duck to the market this weekend! These babies are really beautiful birds for roasting on the grill in the summer (use a drip pan to catch the fat). Come to market this weekend and talk to Logan, Samantha, or Ben about it. 

Best wishes,

Ben and the folks

Crunchy summer veggies are in!

Howdy friends, we sure are happy to have carrots back! It's been too long. They are very crunchy and tasty. In fact, now is when lots of crunchy and juicy veggies are starting to come in: kohlrabi, cabbage, cauliflower, and lots of different cucumbers:

Try the Lemon cukes and Silver Slicers while you can! The light yellow cukes we grow are really exceptional heirlooms which don't last very long once powdery mildew and other pathogens start attacking cucumber plants.

Lots happening here as always! We will have fresh Pekin duck at market this weekend, and garlic scape pesto. And we will begin harvesting our seed garlic tomorrow. It needs to cure for a month or so, but we should be able to begin bringing garlic to market by Labor Day.

Finally, an update from hog land: Our 7 large black pigs are happy and healthy as can be, and growing well as you can see:

Hope everybody's summer is going well! Hard to believe July is almost over. Time is flying by on the farm!

Ben and the gang

Fruits and Flowers are coming in!

Hello friends,

We are very excited that raspberry season has started! They are very tasty, and picking is probably the most popular job on the farm right now :) We have been selling out, so come on the earlier end for berries. Here's the crew picking for Friday market:

Flowers have also taken off! You can find our nasturtiums at Enoteca Athena and The Brunswick Inn right now, as well as at market. Try some, they're peppery and sweet. Here's Sophie picking some early one morning:

Today was a nice rainy interlude to a hot week, and as soon as we could split some people off off the harvest crew, we went a-planting! Transplanted watermelon, cukes, squash, lettuce, basil, scallions, and cabbage in a mini-marathon. Felt good to get some planting done in such ideal weather for it!

Ben is recovered from Dan's wedding and will be at market this Saturday, so I hope to see you then!

Best,

Ben and the gang

Weeding on the Fourth of July!

We weeded hard on the Fourth of July, and I still think the weeds grew faster than we could pick em! But we quit an hour early and had a chicken BBQ for the crew and their families. It was a good day, and I think we all feel better looking at some clean fields. Besides weeding, we're starting to harvest more variety out of the gardens, including lots of this lovely cilantro:

Our Pekin ducklings are growing up quick! Here they in their teenage years...Remember to email us or talk to us at market if you'd like to reserve one when they are ready at the end of July.

We harvested a load of garlic scapes to process into a big batch of our garlic scape pesto! We should have that available at market in a week or so--it's delicious! Check out Scarlet Begonias in Brunswick, who is running a Whatley Farm pesto special right now using our garlic scapes and basil. Here I am with 120 pounds of scapes...

Come on out and see Logan, Hannah, and Sam this weekend at markets. The Whatley Family is splitting up the weekend off, in order to recuperate from Dan's wedding last weekend! We hope to see you soon!

Ben, Laura, Nick, and the gang

Dan Whatley's wedding, and Garlic Scapes!

We are very excited that Ben's brother Dan will be getting married on the farm this Saturday! We've been doing a lot of cleaning up and things are coming together nicely. Lots of his and Nora's friends and family have been helping out, and the farm crew as well! Here's the tents going up for the reception:

We are very excited about the Georgian Fire garlic scapes we picked today! We will have nice bunches at market this Friday and Saturday, along with salad greens, herbs, pork, and duck eggs. Here's Hannah G, Anastasia, and Hannah W bunching this afternoon:

And I'll leave you with this self-portrait, entitled "This is Your Brain on Garlic Scapes"

Logan, Samantha, Hannah and Maple (Hannah's Lab puppy) hope to see you at market this weekend! We'll be here with family celebrating Dan and Nora's wedding.

Ben and family

Happy Solstice!

We've had a great working nice long days in the sun, and now everything would like a good rain! Happy Solstice to everyone (yesterday). We hope you enjoyed the lovely evening!

Today we picked a big mess of garlic scapes, and they are beauties! Here is a shot of Ben in front of the barn, which just got finished with insulation and plaster. You won't recognize it! The drywall guys are doing a nice job.

We also picked a load of greens, herbs, and radishes! Logan made a delicious radish salad with Maple-Miso dressing:

Of course we did a lot of planting this week, including this Bubba Blue baby ginger from Hawaii! We have been pre-sprouting it in the greenhouse for about 2 months now, and this is what it looks like when it goes in the ground:

See the white sprouts with the pink tips? We are looking forward to harvesting "hands" of baby ginger late in the fall. We also planted some Hawaiian Red Turmeric, and Lemongrass! It's going to feel tropical in our greenhouse this summer.

All the critters here are doing great, too! Pigs, layer ducks, and Pekin meat ducks. And the farm dogs when they come in with their owners to work...Here's Hannah's dog Maple. 

 

Have a great week, everyone!

Ben, family and crew

Basil, Pigs, Aliens and other tales!

Hello friends of Whatley Farm! We've had a great week working hard in the to help our plants and animals grow. They've been thirsty, and the ground is now, too...so we're hoping for rain...Just not at a time that's inconvenient for market shopping, or anything that any of you wanted to do outside, for that matter ;) It's probably too much to ask, but we'll take what we can get!

Pictured above is a delicious salad we made with our first basil of the season! It will be available Friday at market, so get it while you can! Of course, lots more next week. This salad is all from the farm, save for the oil and vinegar: cukes, spinach, basil, red onion. Cukes coming soon to market too, but the first go to the farmers ;)

We welcomed these beautiful Large Black (English heritage breed) pigs to the farm the other day. They are down in a new field we cleared, rooting up a storm! They will be giving us meat in October, so plan on a full selection of cuts being available at the winter markets.

It's an alien! Okay, just a "greensprouted" potato...These seed potatoes sat in trays in our greenhouse getting watered and growing their sprouts in the sun for 5 weeks before being planted. It's a technique used for planting whole seed potatoes that hit the ground running when they go in the ground. The sprouts are very stout after a few weeks in the greenhouse, and it also helps us to avoid the first wave of Colorado Potato Beetles :)

Looking forward to seeing folks this weekend at the markets! 

Best,

Ben, Laura, Nick, and the whole crew

Sunshine returns! Watch it grow...

Howdy folks, well the sun is back and that makes us so happy! We had a great couple of days working hard outside to catch up on weeding and irrigation...Here's the long view, with Logan in there somewhere hooking up drip lines in the tomato and peppers tunnels:

We've also started harvesting more crunchy and leafy things from the field, like this Broccoli Raab (aka Rapini) and Chinese Broccoli! Radishes, spinach, lettuce heads, lettuce mix, and lots of herbs round out the spring selections this week at market:

And there's always something to look forward to in farming, such as these greenhouse cucumbers with itsy, bitsy cukes on em! Coming soon:

Finally, head on over to the whatleyfarm.com homepage to see a video of some baby Pekin ducks who just arrived! They're so cute. Hope to see you at market this weekend! Looks like beautiful weather for it.

--Ben, family, and crew

"Skinning the Cat"--(it's not what you think!)

This week...besides harvesting our first crops out of the field (lots of baby spinach, lettuce mix, and lettuce heads)...and having a planting marathon (tons of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cukes, tomatillos, plus another round of all the spring crops!)...we "skinned the cats." Or "threw up caterpillars." Now don't jump to conclusions! It's all just farmer jargon for building temporary field greenhouses called "caterpillar tunnels" to grow heat-loving crops like tomatoes and peppers in.

Here's a pic of Sam and Hannah screwing together pipes for the ridgepoles:

Once those are all set up, we have to cover with plastic and lace it down with parachute cord. Here's Logan and Hannah tying it down, as seen through the hazy greenhouse poly:

Once it's all done, it ends up looking a bit like a caterpillar with scales, hence "caterpillar tunnel." While that term is in wide usage, and I have heard farmers joke about "skinning" greenhouses to refer to covering with plastic, I have to take personal responsibility for talking about "throwing up" of caterpillars...Here's a pic which shows some of the finished tunnels in the background, with Tara waving for scale!

I hope I haven't ruined your appetite with all this talk of caterpillars! Because in fact, we have been harvesting some delicious fresh food for you to buy at this weekend's markets: spring spinach and lettuce, and lots of different herbs! We still have lots of seedlings, too. Come check it out!

Best,

Ben