Sunday, April 29, 2007

how it's going now

It's scary how easy it is to get busy quick. Rachel and I have been transplanting a lot, and theres lots of differences we are already noticing from last year. We feel (and the farm looks) much more organized than last year. So we are happy about that. It's important if we are to ramp up production that we be able to more efficiently run both the admin and the field. Looking good so far, and far less stressful.

It is, at the same time as being busy, going a bit slower than desired out there. I'm sure youve noticed the rain the past few day, which would have been ideal, had it not been proceeded by a flood, which left us unable to do the tractor work we wanted to. Now those of you familiar with last year's flood, worry not. Not at all on the same magnitude, but has washed out the road for a few days. In the long run, I don't think a single CSA crop will be effected, but our wholesale operation might be delayed a week or two. Ce la vie is the polite way of saying it.

ps, anyone who likes to relax at home on a Sunday afternoon, I highly recomend 88.7's radio Africa, from 3-5, very nice.

Monday, April 16, 2007

stuff going on

The commentor on the last post said it alot more succinctly than I did, thank you.

Just some notes on what's going on today - with the weather and all, you might wonder how OHF is affected. Overall, the answer is not too too much. By this time last year we had our onions out. and we're getting beets, napa cabbage, cauliflower, peas and potatoes ready to go in the ground. The onions have been outside for the past few nights hardening off (getting used to the temps and solidifying their root system), and today I put out a bunch more stuff, as its getting warmer, even warmer than was predicted 24 hours ago. So, in general, a week or week and a half behind, but this doesn't at all reflect on what will be ready June first. We could have a beautiful May, and end up with lots more nice stuff, and ready earlier, than last year. Remember, last year may was a bit cold and led up to the flood, which was maybe more demoralizing than destructive . . . but certainly it did slow down things like chard, killed some of our potatoes, and lots of cukes. So we're taking the wierd snow in stride.

Today, besides the lots of little business things that can be done on a day like this, I'm going to cut up our potatoes, and give them a chance to skin over a little, for planting hopefully early next week. As they say in french: On va voir!

OH, we have filled up our shares for the year. Healthy city may have a few shares left. But sadly any other Burlingtonians who wanted to be part of a CSA will have to wait for next year. The good news is that I think more farmers markets are opening in and around town (one on Wednesday near city hall maybe?), so you can still enjoy veggies grown right in your own city.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Yes, it's a snowy day in Vermont. And maybe that gives a farmer in April too much time to think. But it's also that time of year when we still have time to think, so:

Over the past two or three weeks I've been confronted with the National Organic Standards, from both the production side and the selling side. On both ends I've seen fraudulence occur (not from people, but situations). On the production end the standards have Farmers using products they would feel better not using (for the environmental costs) in order to maintain either just the idea of standards in general or this particular one. And then we have the marketing side, wherein the fraud isn't so complicated. Let's just say it's compromising. I feel like the government has effectively done its job, really ripping apart any capabilities the movement, agricultural philosophy, social power, had.

I feel like I'm watching F is for Fake. We see that symbol above levels of trust are automatically there. I guess what's been disturbing is to see that trust abused (though I'm not sure any farm could live up to what the general public has been told is organic).

That said, I was hoping to gather comments, hopefully some of them positive, about why they think the standards work. So comment.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Pictured here are some eggs from Quail Hill Farm, where Rachel and I used to work, on the eastern tip of long island. They aren't dyed for Easter, they just naturally come in all those sizes and colors. That little little one is from a little little bird, which in chicken terms is called a bantam, and the blue eggs often come from the breed called Araucauna. The outsides are nice, but when I cracked open one of those eggs this weekend I was reminded of the first time I did, about 4 years ago. I thought, "that is yellow." It's a theme that has repeated itself continually since Rachel and I began farming, like the first time we tried raw whole unhomogenized milk: "It tastes like milk." - Which is I suppose to say that a lot of store bought stuff, including veggies, is hard pressed to match up with what we eat for a good chunk of the year. Alot of that feeling truly is the taste and freshness of the stuff, but I chalk some of it up to the connections one has to it, the more intimate the better.

All this is leading up to two things: our CSA is filling up quick, so those who are really tempted to be part of one in Burlington . . . not strictly a marketing tool this. David and Rachel's Full Moon Farm is taking a year break (though I believe pick-yr-own strawberries still on tap) so B-town is down to three CSAs in its municipal boundaries.

Thing 2. A post or two ago I think I mentioned being happy to "get off the City Market greens" - I will be happy to be growing my own for the reasons stated above, but that isn't to slight the service that City Market does for us who farm in the winter and us at large all year round. They have provided the option of organic or conventional greens (and a pretty wide range of them) all Winter. And there are some pretty good reasons why those greens are bound to be more expensive and hard to keep pretty. (If you didn't know the reason for both of those is that they travel long long ways.) But I'm still quite happy to have the ability to walk to a place where I can eat organically if I want, and at a store where I know they are chomping at the bit to get local as soon as they can.

And to think I've said all this without even thanking Joe for the eggs. Thanks, Joe. The sweet potatoes were great too.