A Wild Week

The prediction on Tuesday was for some scattered snow. We got three inches! On the left you can see the snow still left on Wednesday morning, but by Wednesday afternoon most of it had melted, fortunately.

 

We were not prepared for three inches of heavy, wet snow, and so we did have some losses. Fortunately we have a lot of plants under the protection of unheated hoophouses right now, and the low tunnels did a decent job of withstanding the snow, but the first round of broccoli and cauliflower is toast. 

That is part and parcel of this farming adventure. It's part of why we grow a lot of different crops and it's part of why we grow a lot of successions of the same crops. The next round of broccoli and cauliflower will be ready to go in the ground next week.

We were able to take advantage of the snow in a way, though! It has been so dry that some of the new transplants in the high tunnels are really thirsting for water. We were able to bucket snow into the pathways of the high tunnel, where it could melt and with hope, give the plants a drink!

We still have our PORK BOX SALE running! Check out the link or contact us at whatleyfarm@gmail.com for more information. Our recipe of the week is a (Duck Egg) Omelette with Tarragon and Chives. We will bring copies to market. We will have quite a few herbs at market this week - tarragon, thyme, oregano, chives, and maybe rosemary, too!

We are also excited that Amanda Parkhurst of Music and Magic Maine will be providing entertainment at the Midcoast Winter Farmers' Market on Friday from 1-5 - music, rhymes, puppets, and great fun for kids and parents!

See you at market,

-Ailish

Spinach!

Well, it has indeed been warm enough to get some good growth on the spinach! We will be bringing over ten pounds of spinach to market tomorrow and Saturday. I ate so much spinach this morning it made my teeth squeak. 

This weeks' recipe features spinach - and it's really back to the basics - in Spinach Grilled Cheese. Also, another recipe I would like to share is Bacon-wrapped Butternut Squash. I followed the recipe exactly (unusual for me), so I'm just going to shared the link here instead of copying the recipe over onto our website. I will bring some copies to market, however. 

This week we received all the potting mix we will use to start seedlings this year. The time is almost upon us - we will most likely be starting onions and some early greens in the greenhouse the second week of March. We are not in a rush, however, because even though it has been very warm in general this winter, that doesn't mean it won't be cold this spring. We try to plan for many eventualities so we can respond to the weather as it comes.

See you at market!

-Ailish

Warming Up

Well, we do not mind a little break from the intense cold. Neither do the plants. Below you can see some Dr-Seussian onions that we have planted in one of our high tunnels. It was plenty warm enough to take the row cover off them on Wednesday, so they got some more warmth and sunlight than they have been used to. We are experimenting with these overwintered onions for the first time this year. If all goes well, they should be ready for harvest well before the usual crop of onions is!

The warm temperatures also mean we are going to have some spinach this week - but most likely FRIDAY (TOPSHAM) ONLY, sorry! Most of the spinach is not quite big enough to pick yet. Another week of warmth, however, and we may get plenty of spinach next week.

We would like to invite everyone who shops with us to take our customer survey - here. We are trying to collect information about our customers and what you think of us to put in a business plan we are writing for the Farms for the Future Grant through the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. We really appreciate your time and feedback and would like to give everyone who takes the survey a $5 off coupon as thanks!

Fresh Ham Steaks are on SALE this week for $9.95/lb. We have TWO recipes this week - one with pork and one without. The first goes with the sale - Ham Steaks and Gravy in the Crockpot - and the second is Munich Beer Radish Snack-a-tizers. The Munich Beer Radish one is not exactly a recipe - more of a suggestion of how best to enjoy the Munich Beer Radish. 

See you at market!

-Ailish

Back to Winter

I am back from sunny Arizona and Ben is about to head out on his vacation. It is really nice to have a mental break this time of year, especially from the planning, which requires so much brain power. Still, it is great to be back in Maine... I even missed the cold, at one point! I went for an invigorating walk in the snow as soon as I got home, and I was inspired to take a picture of the sunset over our market truck (below).

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We are promoting a great special on pork starting this week:

Buy a mixed box of organic pork cuts and get over $250 worth of pork  for just $200 (over 20% off). Sample box includes:
1 Fresh Ham Roast
1 Fresh Ham Steak
2 Pork Chops
1 Shoulder Roast
1 pack loose Breakfast Sausage
1 pound Ground Pork
1 rack Spare Ribs
1 Loin Roast
*Please contact us for more details or to place your order*

Our weekly recipe can be found here - and we will bring copies to market as well!

I'm excited to be back at the markets tomorrow and Saturday.
See you there!

-Ailish

February Thaw

I hope everyone has had a chance to enjoy some of this balmy weather. We have been able to uncover the spinach and, with hope, give that a nice boost for harvesting some time around the end of February. 

The weather also allowed Ben to clear some chickweed out of the greenhouse. Our dog Meli thought this was an excellent new game, as you can see below.

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The barn cats have been out and about this week as well. Usually all we see of them is tracks in the snow and disappearing cat food. Below is a Where's Waldo of the barn cats. Here's a hint: there are two in the photo, one black and one white.

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I have spent some time this week working on the website. I updated information about our different products and moved some menus and pages around. If you have any feedback about the changes or ideas for improvements, please let me know!

We unveiled some new signs at the Brunswick Winter Market last week. We found we were having a hard time getting the word out about our pork and our frozen roasted peppers. They are in coolers, so they don't catch your eye the way the veggies do. Here's a picture of the new display:

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You can find our weekly recipe here: whatleyfarm.com/recipes!

I am going to be in Arizona until next Thursday, but I will be sending you all sunny thoughts. Ben will see you at market this weekend!

-Ailish

Arctic Blast

I don't know about you, but we were all a bit colder this week. All the greens and some of the perennial herbs are under row cover to protect them from frost damage, especially since this cold period follows an unusual warm period in December. Fortunately, though, that warmth means we actually got a bit of growth in the spinach - we will be bringing that to market today and tomorrow!

Still, ice is the name of the game. The deer leave lots of tracks; they dig through the crust of snow to get the remains of the last fall vegetables in the field. We are spending a lot of time reviewing our numbers and memories from 2015, and working on all the planning we will need to make 2016 happen.

Ben would like to share a hearty soup recipe that he made us for lunch earlier in the week: http://whatleyfarm.com/recipes/2016/1/7/whatleys-carrot-cumin-soup-for-a-crowd

See you at market!

-Ailish