Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tomatoes In Potter County

This is the first year for our high tunnel - an unheated greenhouse space. In early May - on the 4th to be exact – we planted the first of the certified organic tomato transplants in raised beds in the high tunnel. On the days that followed, we opened and closed the ends and/or the sides depending on the weather and watered and trellised the young plants.
They responded by developing thick stems, abundant foliage and loads of tomato blossoms. This is the plant that produced the first green tomatoes and yesterday I noticed the telltale change of color that heralds the ripening process.
This photo was taken yesterday.
And here's a photo of the same plant today ....
For those of you who have been seeking tomatoes at the Potter County Farmers' Market - hang on for a little longer - they're coming.
I'm delighted with the prospect of harvesting ripe tomatoes in July. Most years it's late August before we have that particular pleasure.
Also ripening are peppers - green and Espanola (a milder hot pepper) and I expect a small beginning harvest of string beans as well.
All of the peas harvested yesterday have been sold - thank you to all our loyal customers! I'm heading outside now to pick more. We'll have a fresh harvest from Friday morning to take to the Farmers' Market that afternoon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pea Harvest Has Begun!

Arthur in the pea patch
The old timers told us they planted peas by Good Friday to enjoy by the Fourth of July. While the peas were in the ground by that arbitrary date, we're about a week ahead of schedule. It's a beautiful morning to be in the garden and the peas are loving the cool weather of the past couple of days.
If you're ready for peas now, give us a call (814-274-8004) or send an email to to make arrangements for pick up and delivery.
Of course, we'll have peas at the Farmers' Market on Friday.
Arthur just checked in to tell me that he's about halfway through the pea patch and has picked over seven pounds!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Try Something New

Sometimes we all need to try new things! I offered beet greens for sale at the Farmers' Market on Friday. They were a sell out - mostly to folks who knew how exquisitely delicious such things can taste. But there were a few folks who had never considered eating such things! One woman who examined the beet greens left my table with plans to thin her beet planting and enjoy her own greens. When you come to the Farmers' Market for your tried and true favorites, consider trying something new. All the farmers can provide you with cooking or preparation suggestions or even recipes!
At the Post Office on Monday, one of my customers visiting with a friend on the sidewalk stopped me and made it a point to tell me that "those beet greens were wonderful!" Her companion said she had been disappointed last week to find the greens were sold out so she'll be one of the first to get there this week!
What a joy it is to have the privilege of growing food for our neighbors and friends – thanks everyone!

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Fringe Benefit

This farming adventure has introduced us to such kind, warm and interesting folks!
Last year we met Dennis and Bridget Reynolds when we were directed to them as the source of Vermont Compost potting soil and we've enjoyed visiting with them several times since.  Every time our paths cross, I come away with a big smile on my face and yesterday was no exception.
A need for a bag of potting soil took us across the New York State border to Almond late yesterday afternoon as the storm clouds were gathering. Bridget was busy with other customers when we arrived and that gave us a chance to look around the store. The shelves of the coolers were stocked with lots of their organic produce – all kinds of salad greens, colorful kale, spring onions, Bok Choy. They also offer a selection of whole grains, specialty pasta, nut butters, maple syrup, honey. They also sell artisan breads from a local baker. But on the counter were quart boxes of organic strawberries – some of which were turned into a beautiful Father's Day strawberry shortcake here on Crandall Hill!
In addition to the potting soil, I also wanted to discuss head lettuce with Bridget. I had purchased 12 organic head lettuce plant starts from her as a growing experiment. Though I grow lovely leaf lettuce, I had never grown head lettuce. Those plants thrived both in the high tunnel and in the garden. I harvested the first of the lush and colorful heads June 8 and offered them for sale at the Farmer's Market. They sold like hotcakes and this week, the remaining heads were sold in no time. Customers from last week who came back for more had to hear that I was sold out!
I had hoped Bridget might have more plant starts but she had planted them all. However, she provided me with the information and seeds I need to start my own plants in our greenhouse. So all you folks who want more of that great head lettuce – red and green – check back with me in six weeks!
Here's a link to Dennis and Bridget's market in Almond, N.Y. –

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Farmers' Market Update

We participated in the Farmers' Market for the first time this year on Friday, June 8. It was nice to see folks stopping by to check out the selections of local farmers. I was particularly thrilled to hear folks say that they have been reading and enjoying this blog!
The Potter County Farmers' Market has been up and running for three weeks. Participants thus farm have included Wooleylot Farm, Sean McKeone, Fitzgerald's Family Farm, Card Creek Trading Post and Metzger Heritage Farm. While it will be a couple of weeks before the tables are loaded, everyone has something good and fresh every week.
Jim Jones of Solomons Words called me within minutes of receiving the update I sent him last week to offer his blog as a vehicle to promote the Farmers' Market and the local farmers. Thanks, Jim!
Here's what's happening on the farm this week:
Arthur took me on a tour of the upper fields Sunday evening. This is where we've planted the potatoes, some winter squash, sweet corn, soybeans and some shelling peas.
Meanwhile, back in the high tunnel, I snapped this photo of the tomatoes and their trellises.
And for the zucchini lovers here's a photo of the squash patch in the high tunnel. If all goes well, I should have a few zucchinis to sell on Friday at the Farmers' Market.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Safe For Children & Pets

I put a post on my Facebook page accompanied by this photo of a sign we have in our yard.
Wouldn't it be great if this sign could replace those little warning flags from lawn chemical companies cautioning us that poison has been sprayed in public places like Charles Cole Memorial Hospital or on your neighbor's lawn?
How do we launch a public campaign that would give folks information about the harmful effects of these chemicals so they could make educated decisions about whether they want to run the risk of poisoning themselves, their children, their neighbors just to have the promise of a green and weed-free lawn. What does this say about our society?
And while I'm on my soapbox, I will report that after a visit to a store that sells that stuff yesterday, I was dismayed to find that the smell of those chemicals clung to my clothes long after I had walked out the door. What is the effect on the people who work in that environment day after day?
I attended a meeting of the God's Country Water Dogs Monday evening. The group wanted to have a  discussion about the possibility of forming a coalition of local folks and groups with an interest in environmental matters. I went to the meeting with the idea that I could bring attention to the issue of lawn chemicals and perhaps find some support for this issue. There was good discussion at the meeting and I was impressed with the work being done by this group as they regularly monitor local streams and record their data. Discussion about a coaltion of environmentally-minded groups will continue. Another step in that direction is a picnic planned at the Genesee Environmental Center on Friday, July 13 aimed at bringing together various watershed groups in the area. I'll share more details in future posts.
Back to the high tunnel where I'm trellising and pruning my organic tomatoes today!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

What's Growing?

For farmers, the weather forecast takes on great importance and, with our new high tunnel, we must be ever vigilant. A brief period of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy and chilly day can overheat even the most heat-loving plants. So far we've been able to be on top of it after a brief scare on Maple Festival Saturday when a quick trip to town for lunch was just enough time to almost overheat the tomatoes and peppers planted inside. It was a good learning experience.
Are you wondering what's growing in the high tunnel?
Here are a few photos I took this afternoon.
These are among the first tomatoes transplanted into the high tunnel in early May.

That's one of the first zucchini blossoms!

Yellow, green and purple string beans almost ready to blossom.
In the background are the first of the pepper plants - green bell and early jalapenos. At the other end of the tunnel are the rest of the peppers - orange, purple, red and green bell bell peppers and a variety of hot peppers.
These tomatoes were transplanted the third week of May, along with their companion planting of Rosie basil.

There are also many vegetables growing outside as well including this leaf lettuce enjoying the latest rain shower!