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

Getting ready for a whopper rain!

Howdy friends, we've been hustling to get field work done ahead of the whopper rain coming tonight! Hopefully it won't be too bad tomorrow, so you can come out to market in Brunswick and see us. There is always Saturday, which looks like it's going to be a great day!

These leeks that went in the ground earlier this week are going to love the rain, as is this ash tree up by the house:

That's our friend Daniel Wiener up there pruning out deadwood! He's quite a climber and is starting his own arborist service.

Now for a fun picture...don't be alarmed! We're not wearing these suits to avoid hazardous chemicals, just to protect ourselves from ticks while picking the nettles! The nettle patch is tick city with all the unmown grass.

We're coming to market with nettles and lots of other spring greens and herbs, lots of new seedlings which can go in the ground now (tomatillos, melons, basil, and much more), duck eggs, leaf lard and other delicious pork products. Have a great week if we don't see ya!

Ben

It's a Veritable Heat Wave!

Well I believe we got what we asked for! Temps over 90 F here at the farm today. But after harvesting and packing veggies and seedlings for market tomorrow, we got after another project that we have been picking away at: planting the pollinator hedgerow in between two of our home fields. We have approximately 200 native shrubs of diverse species going in there! 90 down, including all the Aronia, Witch Hazel, American Cranberry Bush, and Arrowwood.. Buttonbush, Spicebush, and more still to come!

Can you see all of us busy bees working in there planting tomatoes and peppers? First one person marks the holes, then another fertilizes, then another drops the plant, and finally someone comes along and plants it! Oh, and then we water it in with fish and seaweed juice...

And of course we have lots of seedlings for your garden coming to market, or if you miss us there, stop over to the Urban Garden Center on Rt 196 in Topsham. Here's a pic from earlier in the week (you can tell by their coats that it sure wasn't today). We have lots of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, cucumbers and more that are just loving this warm weather!

It'll be a good weekend to get the garden in! Come to Friday or Saturday market and get your organic plants (and free gardening advice).

Ben

Come on sun, shine here!

It has been a cool spring so far! The farmers are all talking about it up and down the coast...let's hope it warms up soon and that we get more sunshine. But on a diversified farm, if the weather is bad for one crop, it's good for another. And on this vegetable farm, while it hasn't been stellar weather for getting fields prepared, the grass and perennials are all growing great with the moisture.

But we're keeping busy as always! Here's Hannah and Kate putting up a ridgepole in the caterpillar tunnels (moveable greenhouses that grow tomatoes and peppers):

We also planted a lot of cool weather loving crops, like lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choi, and cabbage! We also planted our first peppers, cucumbers, and summer squash. Tomatoes this week. Here is a picture of Laura planting zinnias with Tara, a high school intern here for a few weeks learning the ropes. Her uncle is Dave Colson of MOFGA/New Leaf Farm, and she's a quick study!

Ben has to keep this short and sweet today, because he is headed to Texas for his cousin's college graduation! The farm is in the hands of our able helpers Logan, Hannah, Kate, and Sophie (as well as Laura Whatley, who is staying to take care of the ducks and get our new piglets settled in). Come see the extended family of employees at market this weekend! We've got lots of great greens. herbs. seedlings, duck eggs, nitrate-free bacon, and pork chops. See you next week!

-Ben