Posts

August is National Peach Month!

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 Of course it is—August is when peaches are at peak flavor and abundance. Peaches are a favorite crop of ours for many reasons, the most important of which is the fabulous flavor!   We are grateful for those long-ago explorers who brought peaches from China, where they have been cultivated for over 6000 years. From China to Persia to Rome to Africa and Europe, to South America to England to North America, the peach has gotten around!   So glad peaches wound up in our area.   Peaches are part of our family lore, symbolizing determination and overcoming difficulties. When my grandfather, John Webster, had peach crop failures 3 years in a row during the Depression in the 1930s, he continued to farm. He renovated the orchards, tended the trees, and finally had a good crop in the 4 th year. But what a difficult time that must have been for the whole family.   We still love peaches! But peaches are a big reason why we have a variety of crops, because we know from experience that

Riding the harvest wave means we are always a bit behind!

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(This was supposed to be done in June. Oops.)   Happy July!  I admit, I blinked and we went from June 1 to July 1. I think it was the intensity of the hot weather for the last week of June that melted my brain. This year, the calendar marking of summer marked the beginning of summer crops as well. We started picking tomatoes mid-June, then peppers and eggplant followed, and we were excited to have corn shortly thereafter. And then peaches! June saw the full transition from spring to summer in just a few weeks. Strawberries graced us with their presence till June 21. A 6-week season! Longest strawberry season that we can recall in decades. Raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries have been abundant  as well. And the flavor is outstanding this year. We hope that all the fruit continues to be superb in flavor. Overall, the cycle of planting and harvesting continues. The new tunnel, which hosted romaine, mustard greens and scallions, has given way to plantings of tomatoes, cuc

All Things seem possible in May

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  " Horticulturally, the month of May is opening night, Homecoming, and Graduation Day all rolled into one ." —Tam Mossman Every year is different, and isn’t that a good thing? Most of us do not care to repeat 2020!  This year, May has been beautiful day after day, with no rain for weeks! Makes me glad we have irrigation available. Strawberries started May 8, and they have continued in good form since then. The dry, and now hot and dry, weather makes for sweet and super delicious berries. So far, no one has ever complained of having too many strawberries or that the season is too long. Now we cross our fingers and hope that we do not have a thunderstorm or several hot days in a row—those events will bring strawberry season to a quick end. In the meantime, we have finished up the cool weather crops, like peas and lettuce in the tunnels, and have begun harvest outside for lettuce, broccoli rabe, fava beans, and other crops. Starting to harvest cucumbers and zucchini always make

Flowers and these Farmers

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“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” – Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden In many ways, I think my family has always seen the farm as a large flower garden. And they have expressed their love of the ground and love of life through flowers. “If you look the right way…” I have always found it fascinating that my very practical and frugal family has had a spot, always, for flowers in the mix of growing to feed the family and growing for the extra cash to pay the taxes.   My mother remembers cutting lilacs and selling them at the King Street Farmers Market in the 1930s. We still grow lilacs. The oldest varieties have a wonderful sweet scent.  My mother has told stories of her mother, cutting and arranging flowers, and then selling the bouquets for 35 cents. When my grandmother no longer could tend the flowers, my mother took over that job. Without hesitating. And she loves fl

Bringing in the Harvest in April 2021

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  April brings excitement! We see the shift from winter crops to spring, longer daylight hours, and the rapid growth of all the crops. As we monitor the night time temperatures, we can gauge how quickly the vegetables will grow. Anticipation has us guessing when the first asparagus will be harvested. Although we have been growing all sorts of vegetables this year in our tunnels, there is something about asparagus that is special. Somewhere between April 6 and April 30 for asparagus to appear—you guessed it, all depending on the weather! And sometimes we get a few asparagus starting and then … nothing until we have a few more moderate nights. I personally look forward to rhubarb, the strange stalk of a perennial plant. Do not eat the leaves, as they are slightly toxic for humans (pigs and goats seem to do just fine). The tart stalks are perfect for cobblers, pies, jams, sauces, or stews. My grandfather even enjoyed it raw. Rhubarb usually shows up at the end of April. This year, we have

The story of Louisa: May we all have a sense of humor and find fun and happiness in life.

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In Honor of Women’s History Month: Louisa Schulmeister (1839-1912) In my lineage of strong women, I am fortunate to have the German ancestors who uprooted themselves to try for a new life on a new continent. They were smart, talented, capable, and people of good heart. They were, in many respects, ordinary people. They worked hard, suffered disappoints, had to cope with disease, death, financial hardships, and overwork. But they persevered, found joy in daily activities, and built strong families. Here is the story of Louisa. In the 1840s, all you had to do was get here. After that, you could work, own land, run a business, participate in community life without repercussions.  Louisa Schulmeister came as a child with her parents in the 1840s from Alsace Lorraine. They settled in Philadelphia with other German immigrants, possibly in Germantown (hence the name). Her father was a cabinetmaker and continued his work with wood once the family came. It was in the mid-1850s when she met anot

Apple Cider

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Just so you know, there are about 2 lbs of apples in each glass of apple cider. Yum. I love cider. But only our cider. Picky, picky, picky. Yep.  What is the difference between apple juice and apple cider? Juice has been filtered, so that there is no pulp. It tends to be clear, and a light golden amber in color. Cider is unfiltered and unsweetened, pressed from apples. It is dark brown and opaque due to the apple pulp in suspension in the liquid.  I lived In Colorado for almost 10 years. Beautiful countryside, right at the base of the Rockies. Gorgeous. But they don’t grow apples and they sure as shooting did not have cider. The first fall I was there, I searched. And searched. I found stuff labeled as “Apple Cider,” but it was filtered and clear, just like apple juice. I gave up. I drank cider when I came home to visit. And since I’ve been back to stay, cider remains a favorite. Ingredients: apples. No preservatives, no added sugar, pressed fresh, not from concentrate. Nothing added,