Saturday, October 22, 2016

2016 Potato Harvest Complete

Arthur completed the 2016 potato harvest before the rains came on Thursday and they're all in storage. Now begins the sorting and packaging process.
We worked yesterday and this morning to sort, package and label an order for Todd Williams at Costa's Shursave Food Shop in Coudersport.
And that work really reminded me of my father. Some of my local readers will remember my father, Joe Heimel, who worked at the family's grocery store on Main Street in downtown Coudersport. Dad was the produce guy and he was a speed demon at sorting and preparing produce for display. And he was artistic to boot - hand-lettering signs and putting together attractive displays on benches out in the front of the store. His fruit baskets were works of art!
Our potatoes are on display at Costa's in a beautiful wooden rack, created by Arthur especially for this purpose. We've bagged our popular gourmet assortments as well as bags of individual varieties including red, purple and yellow potatoes.
Our USDA Certified Organic potatoes will also soon be available at Genesee Natural Foods.

Todd Williams from Costa's checking
out our new display rack.

Friday, September 30, 2016

USDA Organic Certification, Year Two

Wednesday morning we met with our certifier from Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO) for our annual site visit. This visit is the culmination of a process that began in January as we submitted our organic systems plan for managing our farm.

Binders containing
pertinent information such
as invoices, product labels,
receipts & other data
along with the PCO-provided
accordion file filled with paperwork.
And yes, the zinnias in the
vase on the dining room table
are certified organic, too!
The purpose of the annual inspection is to verify the information submitted electronically to PCO and to take a look at fields, storage facilities, etc. This year our fellow PATH participant, Alvie Fourness of Wooleylot Farm, was along to audit the process in his quest to become a USDA Organic inspector. Between them, they were very thorough and I was delighted to be able to locate all the documentation they requested.

We are pleased to report that we met all the criteria for year two of USDA Organic Certification for this old family farm. 

When we set our on the path to USDA Certified Organic certification, we knew that it would add additional expense and lots more record keeping than we were used to in all of our years of "organic" farming. But, we also felt we owe our customers the assurance that our farming practices – from the sourcing of organic seeds (and seed potatoes) to the management of disease and pests, to soil health and fertilization – meet the standards of organic production.

By achieving this certification, our customers can be assured that all of our farming practices meet the National Organic Program standards. In the words of PCO, this process provides "evidence of the operation’s adherence to a prescribed system of agriculture and food production that involves the building and enhancing of the soil naturally, protection of the environment, humane treatment of animals and avoidance of toxic synthetic substances."

And now it's on to complete our 2016 harvest  of certified organic potatoes and apples along with the last of the vegetables in the high tunnel.

Though the Farmers' Market is now done for 2016, please call us (274-8004) or email metzgerfarm@gmail if you're interested in buying any of our offerings. Presently we have lots of hot peppers (mostly Maya Red and Ring of Fire but some Hungarian Hot Wax, JalapeƱo, Czech Black, Hot Portugal); Swiss Chard; limited green beans in 1# quantities; lots of beets along with potatoes and apples.
We'll have potatoes soon at Costa's Shursave in Coudersport and at Genesee Natural Foods.
Thank you all for your support during the Farmers' Market season. I know I speak for all of the participants when I tell you that we appreciate your encouragement and friendly faces every bit as much as your purchases!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

South From Alaska

We've been back from our Alaska adventure for a week and, after a morning spent picking, washing and sorting tomatoes and beans, watering in the high tunnel, making a batch of oven-roasted spaghetti sauce, I'm stealing a couple of minutes of time to update the blog before working on freezing a batch of sweet corn.
We spent nearly two weeks in the Matanuska Valley in Alaska, where son Joe, Jen and their dog Niles have been making their home this past year.

The view from Joe & Jen's front yard
This area of Alaska is know for producing giant vegetables and the borough of Palmer takes full advantage of this distinction with lots of tourist promotion. Palmer is also the site of the Alaska State Fair which opens next week for its annual run.

You can read more about it at this link.

Of course we visited a couple of Farmers' Markets while we were visiting in Alaska and I'll post some photos of the market in Palmer in a later post.

And speaking of Farmers' Markets, we were on hand at the Potter County Farmers' Market last week with a nice supply of tomatoes, potatoes and more. That is due in a large part to the help of Elaine and Kristen Russell, who so conscientiously tended the farm in our absence. Thank you wonderful friends!

This week we'll be setting up with the other Potter County Farmers' Market vendors on Friday afternoon. Because we have evening plans, our booth will be closing up shop by 3:30 p.m. so come early if you are looking for luscious heirloom tomatoes and more!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Things To Come

This is the time of year when it would seem things might slow down ... the plants have found their permanent homes in my garden or yours, the seeds have been planted, and one of the farmers has gone on a weeklong vacation.
But ...
Calendula just coming into blossom

My first try growing melons

Coming very soon ... Haricot Verts

Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomatoes

Gold Nugget cherry tomatoes
are destined to win the
race to ripeness in 2016!

Have already enjoyed the first cucumbers
in our salads

Heirloom zucchini hiding in foliage

Sweet corn is more than knee-high
on this third of July

Red Cabbage in the Sunday morning sunshine

Apples in the new orchard.
See the protective layer of kaolin clay
For those of you who have missed us at the Potter County Farmers' Market, we are thinking we'll have some produce to sell this week. However, the best way to ensure you'll have first choice is to give us a call (274-8004) to see what's available and we'll reserve it for you. Emailing also works –

Monday, June 13, 2016

Potato Planting Crew

Arthur Metzger, Wanda Metzger, Barbara Heimel
& Jerry Phillips
Spring is always a busy season for farmers, leaving no time to catch up on blogging. When you're racing the clock to get all the plantings in the right spaces to take advantage of our short growing season, spending time taking and editing photos and sitting down to write a post, seems impossible.

On the Saturday afternoon that the potatoes were all in the ground, I gathered the crew for a quick picture. Our nonagenarian mothers have, for many years, been our potato cutters and this year was no exception as they sat in the doorway of the shady shop chatting and preparing hundreds of pounds of certified organic potato seed for the planter. We couldn't do it without them!

This year our neighbor, Jerry Phillips, rode the potato planter as it deposited its seeds in the waiting warm soil.

Potato planting has been checked off the to-do list for 2016.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ready To Grow For You!

Certifed Organic Tomato Plants
Spending Their Last Few Days in High Tunnel
(Note the apple trees in blossom outdoors)
Friday's the day! The Potter County Farmers' Market opens for the season and Metzger Heritage Farm will be there with our beautiful tomato and pepper plants - all certified organic.

Being Certifed Organic (through PCO) ensures that our practices meet the exacting standards to bear the USDA Certifed Organic label. Starting with the seeds, through the various seed starting and potting mixes to the OMRI certified peat pots, NOTHING in the process includes herbicides, pesticides and the other chemicals that most commercial growers use.

We've selected the varieties that are especially suited to our growing conditions with shorter seasons and other adaptations. In addition to the varieties listed in our flyer, we also have extras of the heirloom and other varieties we grow on the trellis system in our high tunnel. If you're interested in those varieties, please either call or email for information.

While the pepper plants are still a bit small,
they are adding new growth daily
To reserve your plants, please call us at 814-274-8004 or email Reserving ahead of time ensures we'll have the ones you need in time for planting.
See you at the Farmers' Market on Friday, May 27 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Won't these look great in your garden spot?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Certified Organic Garden Plants For Sale

Certified Organic Tomato Plants
As advertised, Metzger Heritage Farm has USDA Certified Organic Tomato and Pepper Plants available for sale. Some varieties could be ready to go this week while others will benefit from another week or two in the protected greenhouse.

And, as of last evening (Tuesday, May 10), Verizon has repaired our telephone line. The answering machine is ready to take your calls if we're out in the greenhouse. Also, email is good at

These tomatoes are about four inches high this morning
They have been grown in organic seed starting mix and organic compost potting soil in individual peat pots. These plants are raised in a heated greenhouse space with supplemental lighting. They are healthy and sturdy. We have taken care to selected varieties with a short growing season to help ensure success in your home garden. We are offering discount for the purchase of six or more plants.

We planted the first of our tomatoes in the high tunnel on Wednesday. They have great root systems and have already begun their ascent up the twine.