Monday, July 17, 2017

German Johnson

I almost hesitated to post a picture of this giant tomato because it definitely will not find its way to the Farmers' Market.
This fine specimen is a German Johnson. It has pinkish skin and dimples! Also known as German Johnson Pink, this heirloom is said to have come with immigrants to Virginia and North Carolina. Aren't heirloom tomatoes intriguing!
Heirloom tomatoes were once simply tomatoes. Those tomatoes are the ones folks grew in their home gardens, perhaps saving seeds year to year. Or tomatoes were grown on local farms, finding their way to your dinner table only in late summer. These tomatoes, with their soft skins that bruise easily, don't ship well.
These days, tomatoes are bred for mechanical harvest, bred to withstand shipping and bred for a long shelf life. That's why you can find tomatoes in the supermarket year round. Of course, you sacrifice taste and texture.
So what determines an heirloom variety? It's generally accepted that "commercial" heirlooms are varieties at least 50 years old. There are also family heirlooms, heirlooms created by crossing open pollinated tomatoes, and mystery heirlooms, a produtc of natural cross pollination.
We're growing many heirloom varieties, along with some carefully selected hybrids and they will find their way to market soon.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Buzzing Of Bees

Every orchard needs bees. That's a fact that did not escape our Emporium friend Bob Stampee who showed up at our orchard gate a couple of years ago with a hive of honey bees.
Bob has been supporting our foray into beekeeping ever since, encouraging membership in the Beekeepers' Association, providing equipment, resources and his vast store of expertise.
The original beehive made it through the worst of the winter this year and on the unseasonably warm February days, bees were coming out to warm themselves in the sunshine. Fast forward to the fickle mont of March when a ferocious windstorm in March dislodged the top of their hive, something that wasn't noticed until some time had passed and alas, we lost the bees.
Upon hearing that sad news, Bob set out to find us more bees and last week, he showed up with this in the back of his van.


With Arthur and Laura's assistance, the bees were unloaded and established in their new home. We are looking forward to a long and happy relationship.



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Winner Is ...

Silvery Fir Tree Tomato
finishing in second place

The first tomato of the season was harvested Saturday, July 1 and, neatly sliced, found its place on a BLT featuring home-baked whole wheat bread, bacon from the pig we purchased from neighbors at Thompson Farms, and home-grown lettuce. That superlative sandwich greeted me when I returned from a glorious vacation week at the Chautauqua Institution.
And for those of you who wonder which tomato won the coveted "first tomato of the season" honor .... the winner is .... Stupice! At least, that what the little stick planted next to the tomato told me. However, I'm thinking that perhaps there was a little mixup while planting seeds for the teletale question mark on the aforementioned stick was buried in the soil.  That big Silvery Fir Tree tomato that I was counting on was the second tomato of the year, harvested July 3.
Coming soon ... Gold Nugget cherry tomatoes.

Fuzzy look courtesy of early-morning
dewiness in the high tunnel


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Meanwhile In The High Tunnel

just a few of the tomato varieties grown in our high tunnel
in past years. Recognize any of them?
I estimate that our 2017 high tunnel tomato crop will be beginning to ripen within the next 7-10 days. It's always fun to see which 25+ varieties we grow will begin to take on that reddish cast first. I'm placing my bet on Silvery Fir Tree but Gold Nugget is closing in and the New Girl plants are heavy with fruit.

A past tomato harvest
 ... and what do you think of my latest hair ornament?

after a morning in the tomato patch ...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

First Farmers' Market Of Season

Laura and Rytz harvesting greens from the high tunnel
We're excited to have new energy and enthusiasm on this old farm in 2017. We hope you'll join us at the Potter County Farmers' Market tomorrow (Friday, May 26) to meet Rytz and Laura and have a first look at the certified organic vegetables they've been growing and tending these past months.
This week features a variety of salad greens including mixed lettuces, leafy red and green head lettuce, chard, turnips, radishes and more.
Stop by the market - located on the corner of N. East and E. Second Streets in downtown Coudersport. It's just past the construction zone so we have our fingers crossed that folks won't be dismayed by the new traffic patterns.
We're now accepting debit and credit cards for your purchases as well as cash and checks.


Tomatoes, Peppers And More





Potter County Farmers' Market opens tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. and we'll be bringing our USDA Certified Organic plant starts. Today is your last opportunity to assure that we can provide you the tomato and pepper varieties you're looking for. Alas, some varieties have already sold out.
Please send an email to metzgerfarm@gmail.com or call 814-274-8004 and leave a message if we don't answer. We can bring your reserved plants tomorrow or we can make arrangements for pick up at the farm.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Big Deal For A Small Farm


We stopped briefly this morning at a nearby hardware store and stepping out of the car, the breeze brought me the unmistakeable distinctive odor of herbicide. Sure enough, just around the corner of the building a makeshift greenhouse had been set up, the ends open to the passing winds.

I couldn't help but think about my trip to my own greenhouse this morning, of how I had noted the familiar and comforting aroma of damp soil and growing things. Such a contrast to the smell that characterizes herbicide and pesticide.

It's not an easy task for a small farm such as ours to achieve certification through the USDA. But it's your assurance that we are accountable to the standards set for organic production. We're proud to be certified by Pennsylvania Certified Organic for the third year after a five-year transition period. Yes, it's a big deal!