Holiday Hustle

We got a lot of things done this week! On Wednesday morning, we covered the new greenhouse with plastic (see photo below - the new greenhouseis on the right). That effort took the whole crew plus a few helpers for a total of eight people to get the plastic on. Each piece of plastic gets six ropes tied to it (around a tennis ball, to try to avoid tearing the plastic). We then tie something small but heavy - in this case, boots! - to each rope and throw it over the greenhouse so that each rope goes over the whole hoop structure.

Once all six are over, we have one person pulling on each rope, and one person at each end of the greenhouse making sure the plastic doesn't catch on any pipes or bolts. By pulling firmly but gently, we can get a piece of plastic over the hoop structure in just a fewminutes. You can imagine how any amount of wind would make this challenging. We were lucky on Wednesday and it was very still.

Of course, each of these big houses has two pieces of plastic. The reason for that is that we will install a blower that will inflate the area between the two pieces, which creates an insulating envelope of air that helps prevent heat loss in the greenhouse.

After putting on the plastic, we use wiggle wire to fasten the plastic to the ends and sides of the greenhouse. Wiggle wire is a great and sometimes frustrating invention - the wire is crimped into a squared off zigzag, which snaps snugly into metal channel that can be screwed onto whatever surface necessary. We actually thought the fastening and finishing would take until sometime Thursday afternoon but we managed to get it done Wednesday!

After that we even had time to get some harvesting done for the weekend markets. We will be at both the Midcoast Winter Farmers' Market Friday 12/23 from 11-4 and the Brunswick Winter Market 12/24 from 9-12:30. Happy Holidays if we don't see you!

Cheers,
Ailish

Greens and Other Goodies

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I was so tired and out of my normal routine last Thursday I completely forgot to write a blog post. I wanted to write about our Thanksgiving feasting. Of course, many of our vegetables were featured, but we also gobbled up some delicious turkey from Apple Creek Farm in Bowdoinham. You can find them at the Brunswick Winter Market at Fort Andross as well. 

Greens, greens, greens! We hope to have a fair amount of greens up until the new year. We are limited by the cold somewhat, as well as the daylength (which means that most plants do not put on any growth between mid-November and mid-February, even if they remain alive). This week we will have sweet and tender kale, chard, spinach, and lettuce mix. 

We are experimenting this year with some fun and funky non-traditional wreaths for all your festive occasions. We will most likely have them only at the Brunswick Winter Market on Saturdays, but you can also find some at Cully's Gullies Christmas Trees just down the road from us if you miss them at the market. Ben will be down with John Cullen at Cully's Gullies selling Christmas trees every weekend in December until Christmas. 

We have made a lot of progress on the new greenhouse this - this is the one that will be heated. The kit got delivered on Monday and it's coming together really well. I'll post some pictures in next week's blog. 

I'll end with a photo from harvest this morning (below). This was after a couple hours of harvesting in the rain, and it felt like a really good sign.

See you at market!

-Ailish

'Tis the Season

Or that's what you would believe if you just listened to all the current ads. But it is almost the holiday season and the cold season, too. We are on the tail end of our storage crop harvests. Only leeks and brussels sprouts remain in the field. We have winter greens, too, that we are just beginning to get into - spinach, baby kale, baby chard. These are all under cover to protect them from the cold (and the deer!). 

Speaking of putting things under cover - it is time for the ducks to go to their winter home. Several factors have led to a new arrangement this year: we now have a lot more ducks, and they would not fit in the old duck winter house; they need electricity, for lighting, to keep up egg production through the darker days of winter; they need water frequently, especially as it gets near freezing; and we are building a new greenhouse. That means we are able to use the old greenhouse structure as a duck house this winter (see below).

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You can see that we harvested all the ginger and lemongrass that was left and removed the remaining tables and landscape fabric. We left the chickweed, however, since ducks tend to really love it. The little wooden structures are their "nesting boxes" - ducks like to lay on the ground, but they can be trained to lay in the boxes, which makes egg collection much easier.

As I mentioned before, Brussels sprouts and leeks are the only storage veggies we still have in the field, and we anticipate selling quite a bit of each over the next month. Roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and goat cheese, potato leek soup....mmmm. Sometimes you can sneak a new dish or two to a holiday meal, and sometimes you just have to make it yourself. We have really been impressed with the pork so far, so I am looking forward to trying roasted sprouts with bacon.

Since Thanksgiving is next week, I just want to state the market schedule:
Friday 11/18 - Midcoast Winter Farmers' Market at the Topsham Fairgrounds, 11-4
Saturday 11/19 - Brunswick Winter Market at Fort Andross, 9-12:30
Tuesday 11/22 - Brunswick Farmers' Market on the Mall in Brunswick, 8-2
Wednesday 11/23 - Midcoast Winter Farmers' Market at the Topsham Fairgrounds, 9-1
            (This is special pre-Thanksgiving market so we can all enjoy the holiday better. It's great for last minute veggie needs! And Pine Tree Poultry has their turkey pick up here.)

There will be NO Midcoast Winter Farmers' Market the Friday after Thanksgiving, and we will not attend the Brunswick Winter Market on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. 

See you at market!

-Ailish

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from all of us at Whatley Farm!

We are enjoying spending time with family and friends, and we hope you are, too. And, of course, we hope that you are eating well!

And of course, we are trying new recipes we hope to share with you all in the new year. Above is a pork terrine. Rich and delicious and definitely holiday food!

Whatley Farm will not be at the Brunswick Winter Market tomorrow tomorrow, December 26. We will return on January 2. See you all in the new year!