Wednesday, May 18, 2011

To Market To Market

For David and Z Food Farm this years’ market season will start the first weekend/week of June. For the coming season David will again attend the Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market in Philadelphia, (9:30Am-4PM) a market that is organized by Farm To City. For more information about the market and the other markets supported by Farm to City go to Z Food Farm will also again sell produce at the farm itself. At this time the plan is to be open on Wednesdays and Fridays. The specific times will be posted on the Z Food Farm facebook page and on the Z Food Farm website ( And Z Food Farm will once again be part of the Lawrenceville Farmers’ Market. New this year, the Lawrenceville Market will now be held on Saturdays; 10AM – 2PM. This is a change in day and time. Go to to stay informed of what is happening.

The big market news for the coming season is that Z Food Farm will be attending the New Amsterdam Market in New York City ( The market is on Sundays from 11AM-4PM. On May 1 there was a special May Day market event that Z Food Farm attended. In addition to various potted plants (lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, snap peas, and basil), for those who want to ‘grow their own’, David had leeks, spring garlic, and kale as fresh produce. It was a wonderful experience and David and all of Z Food Farm are eagerly looking forward to being part of the New Amsterdam Market this coming farm season.

Z Food Farm looks forward to friends old and new at Rittenhouse Square, at the Lawrenceville Market, and at the farm and to the new friends we are about to make at the New Amsterdam Market.

Eat healthy and prosper.

Welcome to the Z Food Farm stand at the New Amsterdam Market.

Here are some of the potted plants that were available at the New Amsterdam Market. Potted plants will be available at all market sites come the beginning of June.

More potted plants.

The fresh produce. Spring garlic is a special treat and if you have a chance you should try some.

The market is located by the old Fulton Fish Market just below the Brooklyn Bridge. It is a beautiful sight.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Last year the first planting, potatoes, took place on May 12. Today, May 7, marked the start of this seasons planting. First in the ground was kale and kohlrabi. Pictures to commemorate the event will be forthcoming. Though planting has started sooner than last season, things are behind where David would like them to be. Though there were a couple of glitches, the greenhouse was not heated as soon as desired being one, the wet weather was the biggest culprit. Over the past few days the weather has been glorious and David was able to work the soil, thus allowing for the start of planting. Planting will continue tomorrow and the cycle of the season is now well under way. More trays of plants will be moved from the greenhouse to the outside tables to 'harden' them in anticipation of planting and then there will be more seeding, germinating, growing, planting of the grown up plants and moving the now ready trays of plants outside; and so on for the duration of the season. There is a continuity and regularity to the farm season that is consistent and comforting.

The anticipation is that market season will start the beginning of June. With more specifics to come, Z Food Farm will be: at the Lawrenceville Farmers' Market on Saturdays (yes, the market is moving from Sunday to Saturday), at the Rittenhouse Square Market in Philadelphia, also on Saturday mornings, at the New Amsterdam Market in NYC on Sunday mornings, and at the farm on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Whew! That should keep David and crew busy. David and Z Food Farm are looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.

This shows how full the greenhouse was, and this picture was taken on April 6. Much of what you see here has grown up and was moved outside to be replaced by new trays.

These are the trays of plants that have been moved outside and are waiting to be planted.

These are hops rhizomes. Let's brew some beer! Actually is will be a couple of years before there will be enough hops to actually do some serious brewing.

"In botany a rhizome is a characteristically horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes. Rhizomes may also be referred to as creeping rootstalks or rootstocks.

If a rhizome is separated into pieces, each piece may be able to give rise to a new plant. This is a process known as vegetative reproduction and is used by farmers and gardeners to propagate certain plants. Examples of plants that are propagated this way include hops, asparagus, and ginger." (Wikipedia)

This is Red Russian Kale that survived the winter and was producing delicious baby sized leaves of kale. It was delicious.

This is David's 'new' tractor, a 1977 John Deere. The blue tractor from last year was not powerful enough to pull the various plows and other implements to work the field and plant the crops. David was in the position of borrowing Farmer Matt's tractor throughout last season. Matt was very generous with his tractor, but there were times when David was in need of a tractor at the same time that Matt was using it; David thus had to wait. While David will still need to be patient about when he borrows some of the implements (ie. a chisel plow), having his own tractor will minimize the amount of time that he will have to wait. And if you are concerned about the age of the tractor, have no fear, nothing runs like a Deere.

This is what the field looks like after being chiseled plowed. Chisel plowing is the first step in preparing the soil for planting. This type of plowing breaks apart the top layer of soil that has been compacted over the course of the winter.

This is what a chisel plow looks like.

Here is David using the disc plow. After the soil has been broken up by the chisel plow, the disc plow turns the soil and breaks it up even more. Following disc plowing the soil will be rototilled and then David will use an implement to lay the plastic 'mulch' that helps, somewhat, to minimize weeds. Just like rust, weeds never sleep.

And here's your hippy, dippy farmer wishing you all peace, love, and organic vegetables.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Moving Forward

This seasons seeding started a little later than was planned, but was well ahead of last year. The germination was great and the seedlings have thrived. The seedlings grew up and, in anticipation of being planted, were moved outside to ‘harden’ them. The next round of seeding was accomplished and germination was again successful. These seedlings have also done well and the plants are close to being ready to be moved outside. There’s only one problem- it keeps raining and the ground has been too wet to do any plowing (driving heavy equipment on wet ground compacts the soil- compacted soil is unhealthy soil) and thus there has been no planting. Since the outside tables are full the plants ready to be moved outside have nowhere to go. However, on Monday, May 2 and Tuesday, May 3 David was finally able to do some plowing. First he did some chisel plowing to break up the soil and then he used a disc plow to turn the soil over. The next step would be to rototill the soil to prepare the beds into which the seedlings would be planted. Alas, Wednesday’s rain prevented this from happening. Fingers are crossed for dry weather so that planting can take place within the next few days. Last seasons first planting took place on May 12, so David is still ahead of where he was, but is behind where he would like to be. And so it goes.

Last season David bought a cultivating tractor. The advantage of such a tractor is that it would save labor when it came to weeding between the plant beds. Unfortunately the tractor was not strong enough to pull various attachments- such as the chisel plow. Farmer Matt, David’s mentor from his days as an intern at Cherry Grove Organic Farm, was generous with his tractor and equipment. While David will still benefit from Matt’s generosity with various attachments, David now has a tractor that is strong enough to pull the attachments; a good old John Deere. While David will still need to wait for Matt to be done with any particular attachment, having his own tractor will allow things to go much more smoothly. Better days ahead.

As was done last year, Z Food Farm will spend Saturday mornings/afternoons at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia (Go to for more information about the market and the organization behind the market). The Lawrenceville Farmers’ Market will be moving from Sundays to Saturdays; yes, we will be in two places at once; more details to come. And the farm stand will be open on Wednesdays and Fridays; again, more information will be forthcoming. In addition to these locations, David will be adding the New Amsterdam Market to his schedule. The New Amsterdam Market is located in Manhattan, where the old Fulton Fish Market used to be. (Go to for more information about this market.). On Sunday, May 1, Z Food Farm made its inaugural appearance at a special edition of the market. All markets will start the first weekend of June. The opening of the farm stand has yet to be determined, but will be around the same time.

David and Z Food Farm are looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. Getting there.