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I Feel the Earth Stirring with Life

05 February

Once again mother nature is stirring to commence another seasonal cycle of life. The strawberry plants are starting to sprout new leaves and flower buds, signaling that the winter energy stored in the soil is starting to push up to the surface. Right now is a good time to remove any weeds growing in the furrows or poking through the mulch, competing with the growing plants.

Strawberry Field - Feb 2013To ensure a healthy crop and an early harvest when spring arrives we have to establish a healthy population of beneficial red spider mites, also known as Persimmillis. Now is the time we release them in the tens of thousands in order to control and prevent any future outbreak of another mite, this one known as the two-spotted-spider mite, which if left un-checked can cause serious leaf damage and loss in both yield and quality.

Red Spider MitesGrowing strawberries organically has many challenges. Every part of the plant, from its root tips to its leaves and berries, is vulnerable to being eaten or damaged by something. It’s a formidable odyssey for an organic strawberry to end up in your hand unblemished.

Strawberry Plants - Feb 2013We grow two different varieties: Seascape and Albion.  Much about the qualities of a strawberry variety is determined by its genetic make-up and the result of decades, if not centuries, of careful selection and breeding. Over the course of the season you will likely receive berries from each variety, and have the opportunity to experience their differences in flavor, shape, texture, and storability.  Some have an early start, others spread their production over the entire season; some are firm, others are juicier and softer; and for us, the farmers, we like to see that they are resistant to pests and diseases and vigorous under different soil and climate conditions. Not all aspects of strawberries are determined by genetics, especially when it comes to what is ultimately most important to us… flavor and taste. The subtleties of coaxing the best flavor out of a particular fruit or vegetable has a lot to do with a farm’s specific soil and weather conditions, and each farmer’s specific growing practices focused on enhancing flavor rather than yield. I’ll share more on those growing practices once we are starting to enjoy these red jewels. My favorite way to enjoy them is to pick them straight from the plant, red-ripe and sun-warmed.  Don’t forget to Sign Up! 🙂

Only two short months from now, we’ll all be smiling!!!

Strawberry Plant and Toad