Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Farm News for August 31st

Hi, Kimberly here. We were happy to see everyone at distribution, and happier still that we were able to bring you your shares this week amid all the havoc that was wreaked in Schoharie County by Irene! Our luck being on a hill rather in the valley area during this unprecedented storm makes us grateful, and we share the sorrow of the CSA members and their friends and family who have lost much!

As Irene approached, up here at Solstice Hill Farm we prepared by harvesting all the tomatoes that were just about to come ready, not just the ripe ones, in hopes that that would keep us in tomatoes for our CSA and markets (we hope you have been enjoying them so far) in case we lost the tomato plants to the storm. We would have harvested more (melons, lettuce, etc) if we had cooling facilities of any size, but without it there was no point, and we would just have to wait to see what Mother Nature brought. The greenhouse was also closed up and battened down as tightly as we could, as last year a storm of a smaller size ripped up the plastic and damaged some of the structural hoops. Our tomatoes were blown down, but not killed and we spent all Monday morning re-staking them up. The leaves were also stripped off the winter squash, and the summer squash (which was struggling already) pretty much died. We find ourselves in the awkward position of harvesting both melons and winter squash at the same time (both need to get out of the fields before they rot...we were able to repurpose an old refrigerator to store some of the melons), after this odd summer. We also had some minor flooding in the fields, but it was worse during the Spring rains.

Having been spared the fate of farms like Schoharie Valley Farms and Barber's, we started getting requests for veggies from Corbin Hill Road Farm which runs a set of CSAs in the Bronx and Manhattan. They had contracted with a number of Schoharie County farms to supplement what they would grow themselves, and with one of their major suppliers flooded beyond repair for the season they were looking to us to fill in a gap. We wish we could do more to help them, but we're not in a place where we can ramp up. We were able to get them 130 onions, 125 chard bunches and 50 kale bunches this week to help feed some lower-income New York City residents. We're also keen to continue to feed the greater Capital region, too, at the two markets we sell at, and of course our own CSA members!

In other news, most of the first batch of storage onions successfully dried, and we put out a second batch today. Last Saturday on the way back from market one of our farm vehicles lost the tread on a back tire; fortunately we were able to be towed and have the tire replaced, though it delayed our return to the farm and Clemens ended up battening down the greenhouse himself. Today one of our chickens was killed, it was found in the coop with its neck broken, it looked like some animal (a weasel?) tried to pull it through a small gap to get it outside. The deer have gotten into the beans and decimated the current planting, so the new rows which are just coming up were sprayed tonight with deer repellent. The young arugula and spinach plantings look like they weathered the storm pretty well, so in a few weeks we will probably be able to get them to you.

I didn't get a picture of this week's share, which disappoints me greatly because I was very excited about the fennel, but above is a pic of the previous week's share. If you used your fennel (or lemon basil, or any of the share items) in an interesting way you'd like to share with us and the other CSA members, please do use the comments button for this blog post! We always love to hear from our members, so you're welcome to comment here or call or email if you have any questions or concerns regarding the share.

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