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

Whirlwind Week

This is the time of year when people start asking us, "So, are things slowing down on the farm yet?"

Hah. Not by a long shot. Granted this year is a little unusual because we are putting up two big hoophouses. Aside from the hoophouses, however, we still have thousands of pounds of storage vegetables to harvest, wash, and pack, summer vegetables to pull out of the ground and compost, and winter vegetables to seed and transplant. Not to mention markets! 

Speaking of the hoophouses, though, we have made quite a bit of progress on the unheated one, and we think we may be able to cover it with plastic next week. Hurrah! And this week, we had concrete poured for the floor of the other hoophouse (the heated greenhouse). Apologies if the picture is a tad blurry. It is getting dark so much earlier now that I didn't realize how poor the light was!

This week Chef Ali has a yummy recipe using roasted peppers: Roasted Peppers with Pomegranate Molasses & Walnuts! We will still be roasting peppers this weekend, though this may be the last weekend! All the plants died in the frost last week, so we are working off what we harvested then. We will, however, continue to have roasted peppers in our freezer through the winter until we sell out. We will have both sweet and hot options. 

See you at market!

-Ailish

Bounty

Not pirate bounty, but regular, real, food bounty! 

I described a couple weeks ago how we harvested squash - the total there is upwards of 4000 pounds. See the squash and sweet potatoes in their storage room below.

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Last week, we finished the potatoes - around 1000 pounds - and sweet potatoes - also 1000 pounds. This week we started harvesting the root vegetables that we will store all winter - carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, cabbage, etc. All in all, we estimate that we will have harvested over 20,000 pounds of storage vegetables this year! 

Above you can see that we had to use even the market truck to harvest carrots and beets on Wednesday. We harvested and washed 3,000 pounds of veggies on Wednesday alone, using our new barrel washer. We are going to use it again tomorrow so I'll try to post a video of it in action. 

At the market we display everything tidily in little baskets, so it can be hard to make the jump from what you see at market to what we pull out of the field. It can also be hard to wrap your head around just how much food you can grow on an acre of land. We are growing about 5 acres this year, and about half of it is very good soil for farming, and the other half is reasonably good. The veggies in the very good soil are often noticeably bigger, sometimes drastically bigger, even though we have treated them the same in terms of watering, weeding, and fertilizing. 

So it's part nature and part nurture, that is, a whole lot of love and hard work. Enjoy the bounty!

See you at market!

-Ailish

P.S. Brussels sprouts this week!

Tropical Veggies Come to Maine - for a short time only!

Ginger and lemongrass are here! Actually, they have been here at the farm for the entire summer. Being native to more tropical climes than Maine, they require some extra work to produce up here. Both of these plants begin to struggle when the nighttime temperatures dip below 50 and are killed by freezing temperatures. So what do we do?

We planted both the ginger and lemongrass in hoophouses - we can plant them earlier in hoophouses, so we extend the growing season a couple weeks, and they get extra heat every day. Ginger requires regular fertilization and hilling (like you would with potatoes or leeks). Lemongrass is less fussy, but it is a sedge grass, so it has razor-edged leaves. 

Ginger and lemongrass often appear in Asian, South Asian, and Indian cuisines - we recommend trying either of the recipes from last week with some of our ginger. Find them here.

I caught Ben in the act of making off with some freshly-cleaned ginger! No one can resist it. We are even leaving leaves on some of it for those of you who expressed interest last year in using the leaves. We will probably have lemongrass and ginger for the next couple of weeks.

Fall is, of course, also time for the usual suspects: beets, carrots, potatoes, squash, radishes, rutabagas, kohlrabi, etc. Since we are growing more land this year, we decided to invest in something known as a barrel washer. Here is a picture of it (as a work-in-progress):

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We will try to get a video up when it's finished and running. The motor on top of the barrel drives a chain that rotates the barrel, and there will be a hose attachment so that water sprays into the barrel from above. When you elevate one end of the washer and gently pour root vegetables in, they get sprayed and gently tumbled, which removes soil more quickly and using less water than spraying them off only with a hose. 

See you at market!

-Ailish

Fall

Fall is undoubtedly here. We got our first frost Saturday night. We harvested all the rest of our winter squash on Sunday morning - we think about 4,000 lbs! - with the help of two pickup trucks and a bunch of friends. Many great thanks to those who showed up Sunday morning and pitched in, even for a little while! Below you can see a Ben-cam view of the process (okay, I didn't stick a camera on Ben, I just held my camera above his shoulder).

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'Tis indeed the season of abundance: not only are the vegetables pretty much pouring out of the fields, but the new flock of laying ducks has started to come into lay, and the eggs are pouring in as well. 

Chef Ali has a couple new recipes for us this week, featuring the delicious Chinese (or Napa) Cabbage: Cellophane Noodle Soup with Beef and Chinese Cabbage  and Peanut Noodles with Asian Slaw.

See you at market!

-Ailish

Common Ground Weekend

Yes, the Common Ground Fair is this weekend, but we will be at all our markets, never fear! We we have the full array of veggies and the pepper roaster going on Saturday. Speaking of pepper roasting, Ben took half the crew this Thursday over to our friend Jenn's kitchen (Jenn owns and operates Turtle Rock Farm) and roasted and packaged over 200 pounds of peppers! 

Look for the frozen peppers in our little display freezer at market. We should have them all winter long! We have sweet and hot as well. 

It is green tomato season now too! Can you spot the green tomatoes above? I made this a little tricky, as this variety, Green Zebra, is yellow-green when it is ripe, however the bluish-green ones are unripe. On Wednesday, we took out all of the heirloom tomato plants, harvesting both the ripe and unripe tomatoes. Green tomatoes are excellent fried, and for making relish, jam, or pickles. We will be selling large quantities at a low price if you're tempted to experiment! We will also try to get some recipes for them out next week. 

Speaking of recipes, we are collaborating with our friend Chef Ali from the Brunswick Inn on Park Row in Brunswick to provide more recipes to our customers at our busiest times. This week Ali has provided no less than FOUR wonderful ideas of how to use the humble herb parsley. You can find them here. We will also bring copies to market.

See you at market,

-Ailish