January Thaw

Storage vegetables, as you might guess, are kept in storage, from the time they are harvested (usually October, for us) to the time they are sold and eaten. For us, storage is three separate rooms in the barn; each room is insulated, one room is kept cool and humid (for most veggies, like cabbage, kohlrabi, potatoes, carrots, beets, radishes, etc.), one is kept cool and dry (for garlic, shallots, and onions), and the other is kept warm and dry (for squash and sweet potatoes). 

The goal is to keep the vegetables in a dormant state - different veggies have different requirements to stay dormant, as you can see from above. When we started out, we lumped a lot more things together because of space limitations, and we had a lot more rotting and a lot more vegetables sprout in storage. 

Having the three separate storage rooms this year has really helped maintain the quality of the storage veggies. Even with the better storage, however, we clean and trim the storage veggies weekly before market to make sure that they are fresh and looking their best. For example, when we harvest storage cabbage, we leave the outer leaves on to try to keep the most moisture we can in the cabbage. Then, before market, we peel off the slightly dehydrated outer leaves to reveal the fresh cabbage inside and trim off any excess stem. See below for a before (left) and after (right) example. 

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We continue to make progress on getting the new greenhouse ready for the 2017 growing season. This week's project has been getting the electric wiring and panel set up. Our electrician, Russ Tremblay, did most of the technical work, but we got to help out - we pushed (while Russ' machine pulled), nearly this entire spool of electrical cable (below) down a pipe from the barn to the new greenhouse! It probably would not have been possible to do that if the temperatures had not been in the 40s, so we did luck out with this little January thaw.

We will have some greens at market this weekend, but limited quantities since last weekend was so cold!

See you at market,

-Ailish

The Harvest Continues

We are NOT going to the Brunswick Farmers' Market tomorrow! See below for details!

Sometimes, when you fill up your trucks, you have to use the tractor. We have two tractors that we use pretty regularly - the Kubota you see above (about 35-40 hp) and an Allis Chalmers G (see below). The Kubota is our workhorse tractor: it lifts heavy things, it digs vegetables, it chisel-plows and rototills the soil. Before using it to transport the cabbage you see above, I had used an implement called a bed-lifter to dig underneath and loosen a whole planting of rutabaga.

The Allis Chalmers G, on the other hand, is light, very easy to handle, and precise. We use the G to mark rows in our beds, to weed, or cultivate, crops. Nick converted the G to electric from gas the winter after we got it, so now, when it's not in use, we plug it into a special socket in the barn. Sometimes, however, we prove that we are still figuring it out - since it's been cold the G hasn't been holding its charge as well as it does in the summer. Ben used it to cover all the garlic we planted Wednesday and Thursday, and just after he finished, the battery gave up! So below you can see Ben and the crew pushing it back from the garlic beds. Fortunately the G is very lightweight and can easily be moved by several people. 

We are NOT going to the Brunswick Farmers' Market tomorrow because it is going to be raining sideways all day and there are predicted wind gusts of up to 50 mph! We WILL be going to Crystal Spring Market on Saturday, however, with the full array of veggies and eggs. 

Stay safe tomorrow, everyone, and see you Saturday!

-Ailish