Monday, November 29, 2010

The End ... Or Not

"This is the end, beautiful friend."

As was previously mentioned, Oct. 30th marked the end of the Lawrenceville Farmers' Market. Wednesday, November 34th marked the last farm stand at Z Food Farm. Saturday, November 20 marked Z Food Farms final market of the season at the Rittenhouse Square Farmers' Market. Or so it was anticipated. Though the progression of fall has brought much cooler temperatures, the weather has mostly been cooperative for the continued survival of much of the fall produce. This will allow David to continue to sell to elements Restaurant and the Blue Bottle Cafe. This will also allow David to make at least one more appearance at the Rittenhouse Square Market!! Z Food Farm will be at the market on Saturday, Dec. 4th. Essentially the end is not yet at hand. David will have most things that he had at the last market- lettuce, Swiss Chard, kale, Asian greens, various root vegetables, and carrots.

In addition to some final harvesting for restaurants and market, there still remain a few odds and ends. The field still needs some final cleaning up. The inside of the barn needs cleaning and organizing. The truck used to go to market needs its annual maintenance. The tractor needs its own measure of TLC. Then David can take a well-deserved rest. Then again, not for too long. Though David will take a break from farming activities for a few days, there are a number of items that will take up a fair amount of his time. He will tackle the paperwork that will lead to official organic certification. He will peruse the seed catalogs and make decisions about new things to grow to compliment what was grown this year. He needs to determine how much additional land to put into production and how to organize the fields. This year he farmed four-five acres. Next year he will possibly go to eight to ten acres. David will also need to determine the quantity of other necessary supplies- drip tape, row cover, peat moss, seeding trays, and vermiculite. And then the process of seeding for next years crops will, weather permitting, begin towards the end of February. Whew! That break from farming went by quickly.

David is well aware of those instances where things did not go as he would have wanted. There are various reasons for this and David knows what to do to avoid these problems next season. Yet when all is said and done, this was a most successful first year for Z Food Farm. There was definitely blood, sweat, and tears but when all was said and done, David, Gregg, and Oscar have much about which to be proud. Once again, thanks and appreciation to all who supported the farm over the course of the inaugural growing season.

If you check earlier posting you will see the greenhouse bursting at the seams with tray upon tray of both newly planted seeds and plants in various stages of germination. And look at it now, empty and waiting for spring to arrive.

Couldn't resist one last picture of a beautiful tomato. This was harvested shortly before Halloween. Striped Germans are a beautiful tomato. And delicious.

David doing one last mowing of the front field. And it's just a beautiful fall day in the neighborhood.

One of the last tasks of the fall is to get the garlic planted. Cloves of garlic are broken apart from bulbs of garlic that are specifically used for 'seed' garlic. Once the cloves have been pushed into the soil they will be covered with compost to provide important nutrients. After this task is completed the beds will be covered with straw. The straw will help suppress weed growth in the spring and to provide the cloves with some protection from the elements over the course of the winter.

David and Oscar are pushing the cloves into the soil. This position of bending over is one that was repeated on virtually a daily basis for either planting, weeding, or harvesting. Farming is indeed back breaking work. Though not pictured Gregg is actively engaged in this process.

During the warmer months the white row cover provides the plants growing beneath with some measure of protection from insects and some warmth to help promote growth. As the weather chills the cover provides the plants with some measure of protection against frost and freeze damage.

Hule and Maple, on behalf of David, Gregg, and Oscar, want to wish everyone a belated Happy Thanksgiving as well as a Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year. May the coming holiday season be one of health, happiness, and hopefulness to you and yours.

Support local, sustainable farmers. Eat healthy. Eat organic. Peace and well being to one and all.

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