Groundhog Day

Apparently we are going to get six more weeks of winter. This might send some down a despondent train of thought, but it okay with us. We don't mind having some extra time for planning and preparation before the 2017 season really gets going.

We will start seeding onions the last week of February, and we have no small amount of prep work to do in the greenhouse before we are ready to start plants in it. The new heater arrived yesterday, which is fantastic, and we have also started buying materials to built strong, water resistant tables to hold trays and trays of plants. 

But enough about winter - the Superbowl is this weekend! We would like to remind everyone that we have a 10% off $50 or more of pork deal going on right now! Pork chops for everyone, ham steak sandwiches, pulled pork tacos - all swell, savory Superbowl snacks! (I really tried for that alliteration).

Another potentially swell, savory snack I would recommend is some roasted garlic dip - and we are going to have garlic on sale this week as well - a pint for $7! This is in part due to my screw up, I must admit. I accidentally spilled and mixed up about 50 pounds of garlic bulbs, so the pints are a mix of four of our varieties of garlic - from the mildest (Inchelium Red) to the hottest (Georgian Fire). Please profit from my mistake!

See you at market!

-Ailish

Odds and Ends and Hoophouse Plastic!

Firstly, the Midcoast Winter Market starts tomorrow!

We have decided this year that we will stop going to the Brunswick Farmers' Market on FRIDAYS once the Midcoast Winter Market starts - so we will NOT be in Brunswick at all tomorrow. We will still, however, go to the Brunswick Farmers' Market on TUESDAYS up until Thanksgiving. This Saturday is the last Crystal Spring Farmers' Market! The weather is supposed to be all right, so we look forward to seeing you there.

And now that announcements are done...

The plastic is on! On Wednesday morning, we had the crew and several friends pitch in to help us pull two 200-foot-long pieces of plastic of plastic over the new hoophouse that you have seen in pictures I've posted earlier in the fall. Below you can see a before and after.

The before shot is taken from the south and the after from the north. It's a very long hoophouse, so it was hard to get a good shot. Fortunately, cell phones are so advanced these days that I managed to get a panorama shot from the north at the end of the day Wednesday (below). We had nine people total to help get the plastic on, and we got both sheets on within an hour. Then came the time-consuming stuff - tacking the plastic down  on the ends and sides (what Ben is doing at lower left), installing hardware so that we can roll up the sides of the hoophouse for ventilation (what the three tiny figures are doing in the top image) and clean out weeds (yes, already!) and evening out soil (bottom left).

The hoophouse still needs additional hardware (vents, doors, fans, etc.) to be completely finished, but it is finished enough that we will be able to transplant spinach, lettuce, and onions into it tomorrow! Hurrah!

This has been a good week for big projects. Over the weekend, two of the crew came in on Sunday, and the three of us processed a whole bunch of pork from the 2015 pigs - we used the oft-forgotten bits like lard, bones, hocks, and trotters - and made terrine, rillettes, rendered leaf lard, and bone broth. The 2016 pork will be in the freezer and ready for sale next week, so we were trying to clear out some room.

Also, you can make some really delicious things with the odds and ends. Rillettes and terrine are both excellent for spreading on toast with a bit of mustard or pickles, leaf lard will make some excellent pie crust or biscuits, and ham bone broth is the traditional base of the Japanese Ramen dish. Unfortunately, we are not able to sell these kinds of meat products at this time, but we will have odds and ends from the 2016 pigs for sale for you all to experiment with at home. It is definitely worth the effort!

See you at market!

-Ailish

 

Working like Busy Worker Bees

What a good week for working outside!

The sun was hot and the weeds wilted promptly. We have pretty much divided our time equally between greenhouse and various weeding, composting and mulching tasks. We had to set up a second mini tunnel inside our unheated hoophouse up front to make room for potting up tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings.

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We are also making good progress on the weeding and mulching - we are hoping to finish up mulching the raspberries tomorrow! You can see Ben and the crew working on that project below.

The raspberries will have to wait until after transplanting, however. It's supposed to rain tomorrow afternoon, which makes tomorrow morning the perfect time to transplant. We harden off seedlings in the unheated hoophouse by exposing them to more wind and cold, but they can still get transplant shock when they go out in the field. Usually, this would be because they did not get enough water after transplanting, the wind in the field was too strong, or the soil or air temperatures were too cold.

We are back to recipes this week after a little hiatus! That busy-ness does sneak up on you... This week it is Spinach and Meatball Soup, with notes about vegetarian and gluten-free options!

Starting this week we will have some herbs! Yay! Tarragon and oregano this week, and with hope that selection will continue to grow as the weather warms.

We are still having our great Pork Box Sale! Check it out!

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!