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Frost and Heat and a Glimpse Ahead!

23 April

“It’s all here… the seasons will show you how nothing is ever really gone… We set the seeds, speak to the sky, nurture the plants, drink the rain, give back to the soil, curse the cold, dance to the sun, sing with the wind, weep at the passing, dream with the moon.”   – from a poem by Sherrie Mickel

When the forecast called for light frost early last week, we rushed to protect the most vulnerable of the crops – the dry-farmed tomatoes planted only 10 days ago. The wind was blowing hard, with gusts of 30-40 miles it was not a good time to roll out large sheets of floating row-cover fabric.

 RowCover

It took six of us almost 4 hours to cover 2 acres of plants, and when I woke up the next morning, April 16th, I was glad we did. The rooftops and windshields had a light coating of ice.

FrostonRoof

Luckily the temperatures didn’t stay low long enough for it to cause any damage. With temperatures in the 80’s five days later, the tomatoes are safe and all danger of frost is only a distant memory now.

This is the time of year when a lot of attention and energy is spent preparing fields. We’ve been busy mowing cover crops and then tilling and incorporating all that fresh nutrient-rich organic matter back into the soil.  I never tire of watching steel shaped into knives, shovels, shanks and discs flowing through the soil cutting, slicing, digging, and shaping it to create the right tilth for planting and sowing.

DiscingField

CreatingBeds

FinishedBeds

I love grabbing a handful of soil in a freshly plowed field; it is moist, crumbly to the touch, releasing a bouquet of sweet, musky aromas.

SoilinHand

Although I can get all poetic when it comes to soil, most of us are more interested in the harvestable results that grow from it.

In terms of “what’s in the box”, April and May are the leanest of the season.  It’s the time when a lot of the crops are planted, but only a few are mature enough to be harvested. Spring may enchant with the promise of flowers and new growth, but no matter how beautiful the apple blossom or lush the tomato plant, it will still take a few more weeks or months of nurturing care before we can enjoy a nourishing bite. Although plants will not be hurried along, I will try to give you a glimpse of what’s to come…

YoungApples

Now in early spring we get to enjoy many of our staples crops – a diversity of leafy greens with an abundance of cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Green garlic and fava beans are only available in the spring, so enjoy cooking with them now.

h-favabeanpod

Baby carrots are back, and of course we can’t wait until the strawberries ramp up in May. The plants are loaded with green fruit, so a little more patience – a lot more berries coming your way!!

SpringStrawberries

Looking ahead into May and June, we’ll enjoy spring potatoes, also summer squash is starting to bloom, green onions will replace green garlic, and red beets are starting to size up.

CultivatingPotatoes

SquashBlossom

The raspberries and blackberries blooming right now will be ready for the pickin’ by early June. After the Summer Solstice, plums will ripen and this year our Blenheim apricots will follow in abundance.

YoungPlums

YoungApricots

As CSA members you get to “share” in the ups and downs of the seasons, understanding the timing of the crops grown locally, following their lifecycles and acknowledging all the preparations that have gone into growing the food before it reaches your plate.  We invite you to visit the farm, and help us spread the word about our CSA program.  The upcoming season looks nutritious, tasty and abundant and I am glad you can be part of the journey.