Sunday, May 19, 2013

The start is near....

Chickens in the orchard.  We added laying hens to our farm because we wanted to use their manure in our fertility cycle.  The eggs are just a delicious side benefit!  Since organic growers must wait 120 days after fresh manure is added to the field, until they can harvest a crop from that ground, thre are times when they don't fit in our crop rotation cycle and can't be on the vegetable grounds.  When this is the case, the fall back location is in our small orchard, where they happily peck around for insects and their eggs, grubs and larvae and eat the grass and other greenery that grows between our trees.  Here they are last week when most of the trees were in resplendant bloom!  (The white "cube" on the right holds water for them)
We've noticed that people love firm veggies.  The kinds of things that thrive in the heat of summer, foods like cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and summer squashes.   (This is in contrast to cool season veggies that can take the cooler conditions of spring and all tend to be leafy and green.)  Because of this preference, each year we choose to take some calculated risks to get the earliest warm season crops to market that we can.  In this photo is one method of insurance that we use to help protect summer's heat loving crops from the last few frosts of the year.  Under the row cover (basically a blanket for veggies) are summer squash and zucchini plants that (mostly) made  it through last sunday's frost event. 

Our goats get summer hair cuts two nights too early!  Ever the soft touch, liz hated to see them shivering through the night, so here they are all decked out in sweaters to keep the chill off!  Think the new doos will be appreciated when the heat turns up, though. 

We've been enjoying some incredibily tender kale this spring!  The plants that fed our fall and winter CSA came through the winter just fine and now that it is spring, they are eager to fullfill their destiny!  No, not to kill some dark wizard- but the real goal of all plants- TO MAKE SEED!  For a few weeks (alas, before the summer CSA starts) they send up amazingly tender and delicious leaves (and then seed stalks) that we have just been eating up! 
a friend reccomended that we try kale pesto and i now wholeheartedly recommend it to you!
Use your basic basil pesto recipe, and swap in kale for basil.  here's how we had it, it was lovely over pasta! 
1 bag of kale
1-2 cloves of garlic
parmesan cheese, maybe 1/2-3/4 cup
nuts or seeds of your choice, perhaps 2 cups
olive oil to make smooth
(adjust to taste)
It is our goal to finish all of our major planting before the CSA starts on June 3rd.  It is hard to do much else besides harvest and go to market once we get into the swing of marketing 3 days a week.  We are getting quite close and as we wind it up, weed control will become the next priority. 
Still looking for a market helper in elmira and have room for more shares there and in Watkins, too.  Know anyone who would enjoy the CSA?  Please pass on the word. 
Happy Spring!
liz and matthew