As the semester winds down, the student apprentices who will be working on the farm are gearing up for a summer of work and learning. There are 17 students this year in the apprenticeship program and that means lots of extra hands to help tie tomatoes, harvest squash, weed carrots, pick beans, etc, etc. Some come from farming backgrounds and others have never worked a day in the fields. It is an exciting time to teach and also learn from those around us the gratifying task of producing food…
…and of course the satisfaction of eating good food. Have you tasted those strawberries?! And weren’t those baby carrots (and I don’t mean the mechanically-cut, carrot-wasting, uniform ones from California) delectable! Well, to be honest, we let a few carrot beds linger a bit long in the high tunnels and they aren’t so baby anymore. But, just as tasty! We are selling 2, 5, and 10 pound bags that would be perfect for juicing.
In the next couple of weeks we have a lot of plants to put in the ground. All of the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, and first round of summer squash destined for the CSA fields are ready for their independence from the cell-trays and a chance to soak in that sunshine and rain. So, this week we will be preparing by moving them outside to ‘harden-off’, laying plastic mulch in our fields, and making sure our water-wheel transplanter is ready to go. Then, hopefully some of those 17 (times two) extra hands will be ready to take a seat on the transplanter and get the ‘stanky-leg’: the affectionate term we dubbed the appearance of one’s water & soil soaked legs after pushing plants into holes filled with water over and over.
And as far as everything else in the fields, it all looks great! The early transplants are finally starting to show some growth after being hit with a practical drought (in early April) and some light frosts. These April rains have also convinced the seeds that it is an amicable environment in which to live, and this warmer weather will hopefully cause significant growth with our direct-seeded fields before too long. Is is May already?!