Rain! At least a little bit...

Wednesday was wonderful. 

It was cloudy most of the day. We harvested in the morning. It started misting around lunchtime, rained at 1, and about 1:30 we abandoned the tomato sorting for Thursday and went to plant a couple weeks' worth of transplants in the drizzle. The soil was moist in the top two inches, but there was still some dry stuff below that, so Ben rigged up our new giant water tank on a trailer and gave the transplants some extra water this morning.

Apparently, we may get a little more moisture this weekend, so if it rains on you at the farmers' market - or the beach - or wherever - give a little cheer, because all your farmer friends will be happy.

We will be roasting peppers again this Saturday - more and more sweet peppers, now We will also be roasting tomatillos, and putting together some boxes of "salsa verde kits" - with roasted tomatillos and jalapenos. 

We still have ducks and plenty of garlic scape pesto in the freezer, but we are nearly out of pork. We have hocks, trotters, slabs of belly, and liver, for the adventurous. Otherwise, we won't have more pork until the end of October. 

It rained (it rained!), but the sunflowers would like to convey the message that they would like a little more water, please:

 

See you at market!

-Ailish

Sneaking Closer to Summer

Some of these days this week have really felt like it. The crew is showing up in shorts most days. And speaking of the crew, we have two new great crew members, Michael and Sophie, and we are really excited that they are joining us, Clark, Cassie, and Logan on the farm. We have needed their help! Many hands make light work, as they say. Though, for farming, maybe the saying should be: many hands keep you from falling so far behind on the to-do list. 

This week we have been able to catch up (almost completely!) on our transplanting, and we have been able to get quite a bit of weeding done as well. Next week it will be time to prune and trellis the tomatoes again, and urge them to send all their energy into those green fruits hanging on the vine. 

Speaking of tomato trellising, I would like to share two pictures from last week that did not make it to the blog: the first is a tomato before trellising and pruning - the white twine is what we clip the little white clips to, which we then when clip around the main tomato stem underneath a strong leaf (see the second photo). 

We have a couple of (fairly) easy meal ideas to share: lettuce salad with violas, and deviled duck eggs! The salad is as easy as pouring several bags of our lettuce mix into a bowl and then scattering the violas on top. I also usually add some chopped up herbs, like sage, chives, oregano, etc) and serve with some vinaigrette. 

For the duck eggs, substitute the duck eggs for chicken eggs in your favorite deviled egg recipe. Because the eggs are so fresh, we recommend sprinkling a teaspoon of baking soda in the water you use to boil them. It will make the eggs easier to peel. They will be extra rich and creamy! (Especially if you use homemade duck egg mayo - just saying!)

See you at market!

-Ailish

Second verse, same as the first

Busy is the name of the game. This weather is great for cookouts, but we have been scrambling to make sure that the plants already in the ground get at least some water and that the plants going into the ground get enough water to survive transplant shock. It is probably a fairly familiar refrain at the point, but thank you, blog followers, for continuing to read as I continue to talk about the lack of water. 

The lack of water is constantly on our minds. We have to plan every day around how we can get water to where it needs to be and if (IF!) there is going to be any precipitation. Fortunately, in New England we have more ground water and, usually, spring melt-water than on the other side of the country. We have been able to irrigate using our pond and well water as well.

We hope you have all had enough water to get your gardens growing. We have been selling seedlings for a few weeks now, and we will have them for a few weeks more. This week we will start bringing winter squash seedlings - yes! It is that time!  Here's a little acorn squash of the Tuffy variety just waiting to get in the ground:

IMAG3514.jpg

One this this weather is exceptionally good for, I should point out, is weeding. We have been doing a lot of that! The plants that we have weeded always look much happier afterward. Here is Clark, one of our stellar employees, tackling one of our edible flower beds next to the greenhouse:

What else will we have at market this week?Spinach, lettuce heads, lettuce mix - chard joins the offerings this week! And rosemary joins the herbs. Grilled pork chops with rosemary are pretty fantastic - we will see if we can get a recipe together, but in the meantime we encourage you to experiment!

See you at market!

-Ailish

Warm, Sunny Weather, We Don't Mind It

It has given us plenty of opportunity to start developing a tan, that's for sure. We have also had time to prepare beds for transplanting, transplant, and put up the deer fence! You can see Ben fixing up the solar charger below, while Cassie, in the background, winds out the fence wire. 

As some of you might rightly imagine, four thin strands of fiberglass and metal do not actually keep deer out of the vegetable fields. Actually, our neighbors saw deer basically limbo-ing their way through the fence last year, never mind trying to jump it! Therefore, this year we are setting four strands, 15" apart, on each fence. Then, we use the solar charger and battery to get the fence to a minimum of 6000 volts.

If you've worked with electric fencing, you know that this is not actually a very high charge (in fact I have been shocked at this voltage many times - it stings, but it doesn't linger), but the real key to the electric fence is psychological. As soon as we get the fence set up in the spring, we bait it (see below). Getting 6000 volts straight to the tongue is quite memorable, and with hope convinces the deer that the white string should not be crossed or even touched, no matter how much lettuce is on the other side. 

And, of course, about the DUCKLINGS...they are getting huge. They are already more than twice the size they were last week when we got them. They are also constantly on the move (it was hard to get a picture without a blurry duckling:

No recipe this week, we're afraid, but we will be back with one next week - I have a pork belly brining in the cooler as I write this!

New at market this week we will have some green garlic, rhubarb, and our first asparagus from the patch we planted three years ago! Limited quantities at the moment so show up early!

See you at market!

-Ailish

May Showers bring Seedlings and Greens

We didn't really get our "April showers" - but we are catching up this week with May showers! This has been a great week for transplanting - it has not been too hot or sunny, so the plants don't wilt while they wait to go in the ground, and they have gotten rained on pretty much every night, so they get plenty to drink after they are in the ground. 

We have all of our high tunnel tomatoes planted - 850 of them! (We are going to also plant about 100 paste tomato plants outside, unprotected, once the nights are consistently 50F or above). We had to commandeer the market truck for field use in order to transport all of the tomato seedlings back to the field (bottom right photo). We filled up the two 'Rolling Thunders' (the higher tunnels to the right in the top photo) and the middle beds of the three farther caterpillar tunnels (to the left in the top photo).

And in other news, the DUCKLINGS ARE HERE! Yes, 175 fuzzy, adorable baby ducks are now cheeping away in their makeshift sauna in what is the (adult) ducks' winter house. They need an air temperature of about 90 F to survive when they are so small. They arrived on Wednesday, from Metzer Farms in California, just one or two days old! Laura picked them up at the post office first thing Wednesday morning. We are increasing the laying flock with 150 new Golden 300 ducks, and we are also trying out meat birds, with 25 Pekins. We will keep you posted on that! This glamour shot is of a little Pekin. The Pekins are yellow and the Golden 300s are brown, so it is easy to tell them apart!

This week's featured recipe is a Nettle Frittata. Ben made it for us for lunch Thursday. Yum! 

We will have pork, duck eggs, herbs, spinach, lettuce, nettles, seedlings and MORE at market this week! Wow, it must be spring! And those markets are - the Brunswick Farmers' Market on the Mall in Brunswick (Tuesday and) Friday 8-2 and Crystal Spring Farmers' Market, Crystal Spring Farm on Pleasant Hill Rd, Saturday, 8:30-12:30!

See you at market!

-Ailish