Sunday, May 18, 2014

Winter's Last Gasp?

High Tunnel closed for the night
The past two nights have been a challenge for our tender plants – even in the high tunnel. When the outdoor thermometer read 31 degrees, inside the tunnel it was 37  -- and that was just the air temperature, not the temperature inside the floating covers.
Tomatoes under their protective covers
Add the cold temperatures to the rain we've had in the past couple of days and you have farmers who are stymied in their attempts to get things planted. The schedule has been revised -- and revised again!
We're still on schedule to open the Farmers' Market on Friday, May 23 and in my next post, I'll show you what we're offering for sale.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Labor of Love?

I have a radio tuned to NPR in the greenhouse and I listen in the mornings as I move from chore to chore, often with a watering jug in hand. Yesterday I heard a reporter call the Census of Agriculture a "feast for all ag geeks." Reporter Dan Charles titled his report "For Many, Farming Is A Labor of Love, Not a Living. " That made me chuckle aloud, for Arthur and I have been having many a conversation about that very subject – a conversation that's probably replicated by every farmer couple we know!

Mr. Charles highlighted a statistic that shows that two-thirds of 2,109,303 farms in the United States have sales (not profits) of less than $25,000 a year. He went on to say that he believes "The census numbers reveal the continuing transformation of American agriculture...The huge number of part-time farmers represents a kind of historical legacy. To a large extent, they are what's left of the days, a century ago, when farmers made up almost a third of the labor force."

And here we are today, living on the remnants of a family farm that used to support three families. Our farming venture looks very different from the one chronicled in the wonderful photos taken by my mother-in-law Wanda Metzger back in the 1950s (watch for more of them to be posted on the Farm Heritage page on this blog as soon as I get them scanned!)

Meanwhile, here are some photos I took this morning to show you what's happening on our little farm in the spring of 2014. Many of these crops are destined for the Potter County Farmers' Market.
Two kinds of leafy head lettuce

Leaf lettuce with some volunteer dill weed
First crop of  beet greens almost ready to harvest

Cherokee Purple tomato beginning its ascent in the high tunnel
If you'd like to read Dan Charles' report, here's the link: For Many Farming Is A Labor Of Love, Not A Living