Monday, June 13, 2011

And On and On It Goes

The cycle of farming is a daily process.No matter how much gets done, and no matter how good you feel about any particular day, there is always something more that could have been done. That's why there is tomorrow. Having people you enjoy spending long days with is critical to the success of any farm, but it is especially true when you are working on such a small scale. David is very cognizant of his good fortune in having Greg and Oscar as his employees for the second year in a row. Here is a snapshot of some of the ongoing process of farming.

Preparing the soil for planting requires a few steps. The first is the use of a chisel plow. This plow does the initial breaking up of the soil. Next comes disc plowing which turns the soil over exposing the roots of the weeds which is intended to kill the weeds; then roto tilling which breaks up the large chunks of soil into softer consistency; and then an implement that forms the beds into which the plants will be planted. At the same time the beds are formed, plastic is placed on the beds which aids in the lessening of weeds.

Here is David using a disc plow.

On the seats are Oscar and Greg (foreground). They worked for David last year and are back for more fun and excitement this season. They are great young men and David is very appreciative of their efforts helping in the growth and development of the farm. In the background is Frank. Frank has been primarily involved with the bees at Z Food Farm. When he has the time he volunteers in the fields. Frank's involvement with the bees has been outstanding and his willingness to then spend time in the field is a great bonus. (Greg and Oscar are sitting on the water wheel. The water wheel pokes holes in the plastic/soil and puts water in the whole as it is pulled by the tractor. As it moves along the plants are placed in the hole by those on the seats- it is a process that speeds up the process of planting.)

A number of beds, covered in plastic, with tiny babies that were recently planted.

Some Red Russian kale. The netting covering the plant is intended to protect the kale from being eaten by a ground hog.

Lettuce, and various other veggies, are waiting their turn to be planted.

Happy and healthy eating to all. As best you can, eat local, eat organic. Peace and good health to all.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Be The Farmer

“Dream the fisherman in his boat, he’s comin’ home empty. He’s barely afloat. Dream the logger in the great northwest, they’re runnin’ out of trees. They got to give it a rest. Dream the farmer in the old heartland, corporate greed and chemicals are killin’ the land… Save the Planet for another day, be the river as it rolls along. Be the rain. Be the rain. Be the rain.”

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks for Farmer David and his hard working crew of Greg and Oscar. With the rain creating a delay in planting, the workdays are long and the restful nights are short. There have been a couple of days that started at 5:30AM and more than a few days that didn’t end until dark. Long hours such as these are common to small, family type farms. Add to this the August type heat of last week, and you can better appreciate what it takes to commit oneself to farming. Whether you buy at farmers’ markets or your local grocery, take a few moments to appreciate the hard work that went into getting the food to you. If you do shop for your produce at a farmers’ market take a moment to thank the farmer. Take the time to learn more about the process of farming and you will better appreciate that you are getting great value for your hard earned money.

Despite the rain and the heat, a lot of planting has taken place. Lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, fennel, sweet and hot peppers, various onions and scallions, potatoes, and tomatoes, plus a few others, have all been planted. As of today the plants are doing well and some items should be ready for market within the next week. With all of this planting is still behind schedule and more long days are anticipated. A day in the life.

Ground hog news - there has been some damage done to lettuce by groundhogs. Hule has gotten one ground hog, but there are more to go. Between pests, disease, and ground hogs, keeping the plants in good shape is an ongoing challenge.

Long days and pleasant nights to one and all. Shop local. Eat healthy. Peace and hopefulness to all.