Bringing in the harvest in August

One of the greatest challenges of being a small farm owner and manager is …. Managing family life as well as farm life. And August really brought that challenge home.
August is one of the super busy months—harvesting all the summer crops like peaches, tomatoes, squash, beans, and starting on the fall crops like spaghetti squash, apples, and onions. Plus we are preparing tunnels and the high tunnel for the next season, starting thousands of seeds for fall and winter growing, transplanting, and planting the last outside crops, many of which will overwinter.
The rain stopped and we have had some lovely days and some super hot days. Fortunately, all the summer crops love the heat! Tomatoes, lima beans, okra, peppers, corn, melons, peaches—the heat intensifies the flavor and gives us the wow that we all love.The first summer apples have been full of flavor as well, so the heat has not bothered them!
We were happy to see a second cropping of black raspberries, red raspberries, and blackb…

Bringing in the harvest in July

July is the ultimate summer month! Blueberries, peaches, corn, tomatoes… and the hot weather to go with it! The first week of July left us hoping that that was our extra hot week of the summer—in the 90s, heat index over 100, humidity was intense. And we were wrong. The third week of July pushed temperatures higher, humidity higher, and hit a heat index of 105-110 for the weekend. It was like swimming through the air! But all that heat makes everything ripen more quickly and imparts great flavor to many of the crops. The peaches are extra sweet this year and the blueberries have phenomenal flavor. And when the weather eased and the humidity came down a bit, everyone—including the plants—felt better. And it truly feels like summer once watermelon and cantaloupes are here! Zucchini, yellow squash and patty pan squash are all doing great. We are pruning the squash plants this year to see if it extends the plant productivity for a longer season. (That is what is supposed to happen.) We enjo…

Bringing in the harvest in June

June started out sunny and 80 degrees and we actually had a week without rain, and then… rain 5 out of 7 days. We started the month picking strawberries and peas, and finished the month with peaches and corn! Truly a complete transition from spring to summer. Our bonus crop for June has been our tomatoes. We started harvesting the end of May, and all through June we have picked beautiful and flavorful slicing tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. What a treat for our CSA and farm market customers. Great flavor! Once summer starts, everything seems to happen at once—cucumbers, zucchini, pie cherries, sweet cherries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, corn, eggplant, gooseberries, currant, green beans—and suddenly we have lots of fruits and vegetables from which to select! After six months of just one fruit (apples all winter and then strawberries in May), it is pure pleasure to have apricots, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, peaches, currants, and plums all at the same time. Our …

Bringing in the harvest in May

May started out imitating the first half of April—cold and wet, and cold and wet. We snagged a warm day, then chilly and windy nights threatened early plantings. Finally, starting the second half of the month—it warmed up! I always feel like a merry-go-round in May—start seeds, transplant, plant, repeat! Cucumber plants started in April started bearing cucumbers on May 15. Tomato plants started in the high tunnel started ripening May 16. Lettuce, basil, arugula, and baby bok choy continue their cycles in the hydroponics house. Zucchini and patty pan squashes are now planted and should start harvest in just a few weeks. The chard in the high tunnel is doing great—we are getting excellent cuts for our CSA shares. The first fruit of the year started as we had hoped, just in time for Mother’s Day. And then it poured rain for the next two days. My obsession with the weather reached new highs, for rain and strawberries are not a great combination. Fortunately, the rain system seems to be wor…

Bringing in the harvest in April

April started out cold, with crops a little bit behind “normal,” (whenever normal is!), and ended up warming quickly, with crops coming earlier than “normal!” (whenever normal is!) We were able to cut lilacs for the last weekend of April, when we usually see them for the middle to end of May. The fruit trees seemed slow to start blooming and then came on all at once. We love the profusion of blossoms with their delicate fragrance and the promise of a fruit from each blossom. If all the blossoms fruited, it would be far too much weight for the tree, but it is staggering to think about all those blossoms bearing fruit. Some years, nearly every blossom does. By the end of April, we can see the baby peaches, apples, pears, and plums starting their journey from farm to table! 

All the leafy greens are doing well, and we are excited to see such beautiful lettuce, baby bok choy, and basil, among others. The basil has done particularly well in the hydro house, and we look forward to continuing …

Bringing in the harvest in March

We love that our customers want to know how does our garden grow! We had a great tour of the hydroponics house and the high tunnel on March 23, along with sunny, windy weather. People had a chance to see beautiful vegetables grown with no pesticides and no herbicides.
March is fickle---Snow on March 1, rain, some super chilly mornings, whipping winds, sunshine, a teasing day or two of warm weather, more rain and more chilly weather. March has it all!Sometimes it seems our main crop is mud.But temperatures are creeping upwards and the sun feels stronger, and everything under cover is growing very well!
The hydro house is producing an abundance of greens, enough for the CSA shares as well as the market. Watercress, bibb lettuce, leaf lettuce, romaine, arugula, cilantro, parsley, and thousands of seedlings which are transplanted into the ground or into pots. Thousands of lettuces—very exciting for us. We are learning the growth cycles of the different plants and how to space the plants fo…

In Honor of the Women in Our History

Mary Pauline Connell Webster
So many family stories are told from the father’s point of view. Particularly in farming. In my family, I am fortunate to have a long line of strong women who stood in equal partnership with the men in the family and brought highly valued skills to the family and to the business of farming. For Women’s History Month I want to turn the spotlight on Mary Pauline Connell Webster, my great-grandmother.
Born March 4, 1872, in Ashland, Delaware, to Charles Barington Connell (1846-1916) and Emma Evans Bradford (1851-1903), Mary Pauline Connell arrived in a time of great change.  The Connells were farmers and had seven children, two boys and five girls. Mary Pauline’s paternal grandparents emigrated from Ireland in the early 1840s (potato famine drove this migration).  The second oldest of seven, Mary Pauline worked from a young age on her family’s farm.
The year she was born, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened its doors and Yellowstone became the first nationa…