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.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Certified Organic Plants

As luck would have it, our telephone is having its annual hiatus just after we placed a couple of advertisements to promote the beautiful certified organic tomato and pepper plants we've been lovingly nurturing for the past several weeks. Telephone troubles along our rural route are common and often take several days to resolve even when Verizon isn't on strike.

If you've landed here to find out more about our tomato and pepper varieties, you'll find detailed descriptions here and here.

Email us at or try the cell phone (814) 335-6561 and leave a message there because it doesn't dependably work here at the farm. We'll do our best to get in touch to fill your order.

If you order 6 or more plants, we'll give you a 10% discount on your order.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Vicissitudes Of Farming

Our friend and fellow certified organic farmer Denny Reynolds of Quest Farm gently reminded me last week that farming is far from an exact science.
You might think you have put all the pieces together when one unexpected variable (like a cold snap, a dry spell, an invasion of insects or bad seed or --- you name it) can change the outcome.
So then, what explains the utter failure of my first crop of lettuce starts? I planned for more than 50 lettuce plants and what did I put in the ground? Only 7! I have no good way to explain why the seeds did not germinate. Did I allow the seeds to get too warm in the germination chamber? Did I water the soil too much? Did they get too cold?
No answers for my questions. The outcome is that I probably won't have much lettuce to sell when the Potter County Farmers' Market opens on May 27. The good news is that the second planting (ready to be transplanted today) grew beautifully so by the second or third week of the Market, I will have a continuing supply of the red and green leafy heads my customers appreciate.

An early planting of leaf lettuce
mix we've been enjoying since
late winter. Grown under the
lights in the greenhouse.