To market, to market!!!

Although it happened without being planned, the babe and I spent almost all day at The Market yesterday:  he snuggled in his wrap sleeping soundly and giving everyone only a top of the head view of his baby cuteness, me working our market booth with the farmer for the first time since mid-August or so.  What a treat it was to see most of our CSA members and regular market customers again!  And what a treat it was to see it so bustling and busy!

Going into fall and winter, we can’t help but let worries sprout their ugly heads.  We can never count on the weather, but there is always more concern about what the weather will bring in the winter months than in the spring and summer.  There is always concerns about if enough was planted and if enough growth will be put on the plants before they just stop growing and sit out the rest of winter until the light and warmth return.  Will we have enough to harvest every week during these months?  Will our plans work out?

For the last two winters that we have tried this, they haven’t.  We have had weather that we were unprepared for and we haven’t been able to harvest, for the CSA at least, like we had hoped.   We have, however, always had vegetables to harvest.  And that is why we are so excited to have a farmer’s market to attend throughout the entire year.

But this is a new and young market, and it brought with it other concerns…could it draw enough folks to support us through the winter?

It has been such a relief, and such a testament to the great base of active, concerned, and savvy food shoppers we share this community with, to see that this market is already so vibrant at just its one-year mark.

And having a vibrant, year round market makes a world of difference!  Without the support of its community, small farms will not be there to provide their community with delicious and well grown products.  We are so grateful to all of you who are coming out each and every Saturday to see us.  And after such a long break from seeing everyone, it was really great for me to see all of you.  In previous years, when our Thursday market ended in October, there was always a whole lot of sadness to think we had more than 30 weeks off from market season.  Now, we get to continue without a break!  And for us, this means not only do we get to bring our own goods to town each week of the year, but we get to continue shopping from some of our favorite local vendors each week as well.

It also means that we get to keep our connection to the community, face to face, throughout the year.  Farmer’s markets are more than just a place to shop, for consumers and vendors alike.  They are a place for the community to gather, to grow connections, to become stronger and more unified, and most importantly, to have fun together!  I can’t say for sure that the baby and I will be there every week, but the farmer and our farm products will, thanks to all of you who will be there too.

 

The beginning of the end of summer

With Labor day this weekend, school starting, weeds tackled, and planting mostly done for the year, September heralds the beginning of the end of summer.  We are squeezing in one more trip to the beach this weekend (surfing included) and one more summer party to attend next weekend, but mostly we are in transition both on the farm and in the home.  The kids and I will have a new schedule, one much less involved with the remaining 6 Thursday farmer’s markets as well as the harvests.  The new little one can be expected anytime really, but most likely in 2-3 weeks.  We have made arrangements for help to get our CSA shares harvested in the midst of new baby and to make it to every market of the season, so  hopefully there will not be any glitches in that plan.  Things are feeling settled for the year.

We had the opportunity to plant fall and winter crops with a friend over at his growing space (Dicky Farms West).  This gives us a nice bit of extra dry land to have veggies in for the coming seasons.  This week we harvested the first of the crops ready there, the lovely French Breakfast radishes we had at market and in the CSA shares this week. Radishes!  The beginning of fall food, although not the end of summer’s.

Really, even though these small changes are signaling the change of seasons to come, September’s vegetables harvests are still full of all the summer goodies.  With the crazy spring weather slowing everything down this year, we are just now getting in to some of our favorite summer crops like tomatoes and peppers.  There is still so much to be harvested!  September and October are the fullest, ripest months on the farm…duly referred to as harvest time!  It is indeed a time of abundance.  I can’t help but love the feeling this year of my belly ripening, fully round now and as sweet as can be.  As we work our way towards fall and Thanksgiving time, these next few months will give us much to be thankful for.  Enjoy every last moment of summer weather, each bite of deliciousness the season has produced for us, and your own season of fullness as we all get ready to settle in to autumn.

Worth the wait

This is actually a photo from last week’s CSA harvest, but this week’s harvest is much the same, with some blushed leaf lettuce, lacinato kale, and the sweetest, most beautiful green onions as well.  The weather this last week, too, has been much the same–cloudy, cool, and wet.  But there was last Saturday, a bright, warm day where the sun more than said hello.  And this weekend looks to be even warmer.  In fact, right now, the whole of the extended forecast has a sunny image to accompany it, even though the temperatures will stay a little below average.  We are so ready for sun!

In the meantime, many things are gestating quite well.  We have beautiful cabbages, broccolis, and kohlrabis that have thrived this spring.  And some of the crops we have covered with recycled plastic this year are growing faster than our “normal”.  We have buds forming on our summer squash already!  We are doing constant battle with the bugs.  We have so many more slugs this spring; they love the cool, wet weather.  We have lost a lot of unharvestable lettuce and kale, and they continue to eat a small percentage of each cucumber planting we make.  The farmer has taken to placing an exorbitant amount of seeds out, and they get most of them.  But we just keep replanting these and other crops, like the beans whose earlier plantings have been so stunted by the wet conditions.  Still, even one really sunny day like last Saturday blesses us with a bit of green returning to the yellowed bean leaves and we find dead slugs all over the paths as they try to find a retreat from the heat.  Its a balance for sure, everything, between the positive and negative.

One of the biggest positives for us is that our fruit trees are loving all this water.  We will have to irrigate our newest plantings so much less this first year and they will be so far ahead next year because of this great start.  And our newest little human sprout is doing well too, almost 2/3’s of the way grown with a very comfortable mama.  Even though I prefer the sun on my skin, I can’t help but feel grateful not to be hot…yet.  Soon enough, all the flowers will be blooming and we will all be back outside all the time, with our summer vegetables and our picnics and barbecues.  When we returned home from The Market last Saturday, the sun had opened some of our cheery, summer flowers, the poor buds of which have just been sitting there, waiting.  All of our waiting is almost over, and small surprises and delights, just around the corner.

Back in the Swing of Things

After what has seemed like a long winter and spring, with no early season harvesting for the CSA, we are so thrilled to be back at it. This week marks the first week of not only our CSA harvests, but both of our Farmer’s Markets as well! In a way, without those early CSA harvests, even up until Wednesday morning, and through the first harvest Wednesday and Thursday morning, it all seemed a bit surreal.


Maybe it was due to the last week of unseasonably cold and rainy weather, but until we got to market yesterday and started to see all our wonderful customers and farm members and the thriving market bustling as ever, it didn’t quite feel like the season was here. Even after three years of this routine, our first harvest this week was a little fumbly, our rhythms not quite keeping time.


Even after getting things in order in the wash station and upgrading certain tools and amenities–we built a nice walk in cooler that can fit all the veggies we harvest at the same time allowing for some extra harvest time on Wednesday and less concern about rotating and keeping things wet with just one refrigerator to use—we still felt slow.


Thankfully, it did just feel like a warming up, a getting used to being in the swing of things, and being back in the swing of things feels so good!