Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Further- a sense of always moving forward. Further- accepting obstacles as part of the process and not letting them get in your way. Further- knowing that there are places to be, but being part of the process in the moment. Further- accepting too much rain/too little rain. Further- accepting bugs and beasts that strive to eat what you are growing. Further- persevering regardless. Further- loving what you do, doing what you love.

Farmers have to live in the moment. On a daily basis there is much that needs to be accomplished and it seems that no matter how much time is allotted a particular task, that task always takes longer than anticipated. Think something is going to take an hour, anticipate a glitch and plan for two hours and then the task takes three. And on and on. A flat tire. Mice eating seeds. A broken belt on a lawn mower. A mistake on the electric bill. Reports of late blight already being seen along the East Coast. Why do 'old timers' stay in farming? Why do 'newbies' get into farming? A sense of commitment to the soil. A feeling of passion for the act of making things grow. The feeling of joy upon seeing a seed start to germinate. The sense of oneness with nature. The sense of satisfaction of succeeding in spite of the obstacles. All farmers experience these feelings. The smaller the operation the more personal the relationship the farmer has with the land. To succeed in farming there needs to be a complete and total commitment to the ongoing process of the tasks at hand, regardless of obstacles.

May 12 marked a milestone day at Z Food Farm- it was the first day of planting. The honor of being the first crop into the ground was, drum roll, ............ potatoes!! Since then lettuce, beets, kale, Swiss Chard, salad mix, carrots, summer squash, and on and on have been planted. Farmer David, with the help of his crew of paid workers and volunteers, has been busily trying to catch up having been delayed in getting everything moving further along. In terms of staff there is Gregg the intern and Oscar the hourly farm hand; both are young men and both are extremely diligent in their efforts. They are friendly, personable, and committed to helping make Z Food Farm a great success. David is fortunate to have both of them. David has also benefited from the assistance of volunteers. Old friends helping out include Mary Jo and Malaika- much thanks to them for their assistance. One new friend is Anthony who has helped out a few times with seeding, table building, and planting. To date the most consistent helper has been Angela. She has been coming on a weekly basis since shortly after the farm was up and running. Much thanks and gratitude to all who are involved in helping to make Z Food Farm a great success. (Pictures of staff and volunteers will appear shortly on this blog. There are a couple pictures on the web site. Sorry to be running behind on this and other items of interest.)

Following are some other bits of news about the happenings at the farm.

Here David is using Farmer Matt's tractor and roto tiller. The roto tiller breaks up the soil to enable the farmer to next form beds into which either seeds will be directly sowed or plants planted.

Here David is using Farmer Matt's plant bed former and plastic layer. The discs along the side of the attachment help form the beds and lays down both the plastic mulch and the drip tape. Black plastic keeps in more heat and provides some of the crops with needed added warmth. Regardless of color the mulch is intended to aid in weed suppression.

An organized farmer is a happy farmer. Part of the process is knowing where your tools of the trade are 'living'. Organization of tools, seeds, and supplies is of critical importance.

With mom making use of Craig's list, David was able to obtain this lawn mower. Sadly, it now has a flat tire and a frayed belt. It has been used extensively; probably excessively. But it sure did a good job.

Not sure what the official name of this is, but it will be called the post thumper. It was used to put all of the posts for the deer fence into the ground. By hand it would have taken hours/days to dig all the post holes by hand (some 80 posts). In about four hours David, with the help of Lee Hendrickson, whose machine this is, was able to put all of the posts into the ground in about four hours. At the front end is a hydraulic 'thumper' into which the post is placed and then pounded into the ground. What a wonderful time saver.
And here are the posts. Along the side of the posts, which surrounds the field, as you can easily see in the front post conductors. There are seven on each post. Seven strands of wire were then placed around the field, attached to the posts by the conductors. The wires are then electrified with the goal being to keep deer out of the fields. The purpose of farming is to grow vegetables to bring to the people, not to feed the deer.

To borrow from Simon and Garfunkle, it's all happening at the farm, I do believe it, I do believe it's true. Markets are right around the corner. Hope to see you there soon.

Peace and good eating to all.

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