Weeds Before their Time – 3rd Harvest Week: Tue/Wed/Thurs Delivery, June 25th, 26th, 27th 2013
Farmer John Writes…
With the Summer Solstice behind us, the days are now getting shorter…interesting how temperatures continue higher for a couple of months after the days shorten. (Just because science explains this, doesn’t make it less interesting.) Two tremendous storms hit us this past week. Last Friday morning, we brought the crew in from the field, as streaks of lightning crisscrossed the sky And this past early Saturday morning there was a tremendous storm, with torrents of rain and a sky that strobed with electricity. No hail, thankfully.
The crew puts in long hours of hard work with grace and determination. Work gets done daily (except on Saturday afternoon and Sundays) seemingly everywhere on the farm: tomato trellising, weeding, harvesting, tilling, washing, sorting, bagging, packing, greenhouse seeding, transplanting, direct seeding, equipment maintenance, compost building, deliveries, payroll, customer service, hiring, hosting, grounds keeping, building repair, fencing, cover crop mowing…
Now we are drenched in plumes of heat and mugginess, great for the corn, cucumbers, zucchini, melons, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers. Good that the spinach will be done this week, and that much of the broccoli was able to head out in the cool, moist earlier weather. Overall, the crops look fabulous, a bit like a dream, like a luminous imagination.
Cabbage Radiates Vitality
Weeds Before Their Time
As shareholders, you enjoy the bounty of our work at Angelic Organics. I’ll share a picture of the work, a single aspect: weed control. We have a lot of mechanical weeding equipment. We use it liberally, so we’re nurturing your crops pretty much exclusively, not the weeds. (The crew also does a lot of hand weeding, but without the support from the mechanical weeding, we’d be putting out emergency calls for volunteer weeding support on a regular basis.)
Last Thursday, the weather forecast was for rain on Saturday afternoon. Managers Chris Voss, Jonathan Fagan and I toured the fields to evaluate what needed to be done. On that tour, I felt more and more a force coursing through me. It manifested as a overwhelming urge that tractor operators Primo Briano and Pollo Casique had to rev up their tractors and cultivate (that’s what mechanical weeding is called on a farm: cultivating.) I recognized the force: it’s a farming force, instinctive, sometimes within the realm of reason, sometimes not… almost always accurate and true. I honor these forces, because they honor me by visiting me.
I dashed to Primo and said, “Primo, you and Pollo have to start cultivating immediately. You can’t let anything else interrupt you, unless it’s an out-and-out emergency. Saturday afternoon, it’s supposed to rain, and when that rain is approaching, you’ll probably wish you had more cultivating done.”
Mind you, dear shareholder, that I become very concerned if I see just a few weeds in our fields. Just the faintest green glimmer of weed fuzz on the ground will exacerbate my weed phobia. Our policy at Angelic Organics is to weed the fields before we can see the weeds, so don’t fear that your vegetables were about to be engulfed by an ocean of weeds. Last Thursday when we were scouting the fields, it was hard to actually see a weed. You might wonder then, what the fuss was about. The reason we could hardly see a weed that day was because we had already been obliterating the weeds all spring, mostly before we could see them.
Some people argue on behalf of the weeds, on letting them co-exist with the crops. It’s an argument with some merit, I suppose, though we refute it at Angelic Organics. I could go on for pages about weed control, the systems that we have and cherish for controlling weeds, starting the year before the crop is planted, sometimes two years in advance. I could elaborate on the 10 or 12 weeding cultivators we have, their row spacing, shovels, points, discs, and rotors, on the stand-up hoes, the hand hoes, the retired rotary hoe, the stale seed bedding, on the merits and drawbacks of each. I’ll save these discussions for fellow farmers.
I said to Primo, “First of all, cultivate the 4 fields of potatoes. Within one or two days, they will canopy and you won’t be able to get through them. Get Pollo cultivating the sweet corn. Then you and Pollo cultivate the winter squash. It’s a perfect size to cultivate. If it rains first, it’ll canopy and you won’t be able to get close to the base of the squash and you won’t be able to see the weeds under the leaves. Just keep cultivating. You never know if the weather forecast is right. It might rain sooner than Saturday.”
Primo and Pollo went out to the fields immediately and cultivated and cultivated and then they kept cultivating…corn, potatoes, leeks, beets, onions, winter squash. Late Friday morning, about a day after I hastened them to the fields, we had a soaking rain. 5 3/4 fields of the 6 total fields of winter squash had been cultivated by the time the fields turned to mud. I thought this was pretty good, for the rain to come over a day earlier than predicted and for us to have already finished cultivating many fields, and very close to finished cultivating the squash fields…almost finished getting out the weeds that were there for sure, even though we couldn’t see most of them.
Pollo cultivates early sweet corn 2 weeks ago. (It’s knee high today.)
Open House, Saturday, July 20
Keep your calendar open for our farm open house on Saturday, July 20. Kids love seeing their farm, and so do their parents.
More details soon.
Stay Close to Your Farm
Visit us often at www.facebook.com/angelicorganics , where we post exciting farm developments regularly. We invite you to post about your CSA experience there, too.
Upcoming Programs at the Angelic Organics Learning Center
Cheesemaking Class By learning about and participating in the craft of cheesemaking, one can become not just a consumer of the delicious, but also a creator of something wholly unique and regional. Join one of Angelic Organics Learning Center’s cheesemaking classes and set off on your own culinary adventure!
Saturday, June 29, 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
OR Saturday, July 13, 9 AM – 12 PM
OR Saturday, August 24, 9 AM – 12 PM
OR Saturday, September 7, 9 AM – 12 PM
OR Sunday, October 6, 1 PM – 4 PM
This hands-on workshop in our farm setting will introduce the process of cheese making from start to finish (from milking the goats to tasting fresh goat’s cheese). We’ll learn how to make ricotta, chevre, mozzarella and more! $70
Cheesemaking 2: Hard Cheeses
Sunday, September 8, 1 PM – 5 PM
This hands-on class will cover the steps for making hard (not difficult, just firm-textured!) cheeses. We’ll make two different kinds of cheese during the class, while learning variations for other hard cheeses as well. Prerequisite: Cheesemaking class. $80
Please Note: this summary is written before you receive your box—please be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.
Brassicas – 3-4 heads of broccoli
Fruiting Crops – zucchini
Cooking Greens – baby kale
Alliums – Scallions, garlic scapes
Salad Greens – 3 heads of lettuce, arugula
Root Crops – bunched beets, radishes or turnips
Herbs – cilantro
We attended the Learning Center’s Family Animal Day event on Saturday, and had a wonderful day on the farm. We had a chance to hold a chicken, feed goats,, look for eggs, curry comb Babe the draft horse, make ice cream, taste the farm’s honey, and meet the pigs. Our youth educator, Monica, was terrific and made sure we all learned something. Our 1st grader was captivated and mom and dad had fun too! It’s a great place to spend the day for a family, school group or scout pack. Thank you!