Full and By Farm: Frost in the Forecast

Chickens at Full and By Farm

Chickens at Full and By Farm [Credit: virtualDavis]

Patchy frost is in the forecast for tonight so we’re preparing the fields for our first real cold of the season. The tomatoes have been suffering from the chilly weather all week and early blight for the last month. They are happy to call an end to the season. The peppers are just picking up steam though, we harvested the first few colored peppers last week, and a few more this week. I’ll cover them tonight and hope to protect them from the cold so we can enjoy a few more with the warmer temps during the coming week. We will likely be looking for potato diggers next week, and bean pickers soon. Keep warm tonight with cream of tomato soup and whole wheat biscuits. The beginning of fall veggies and beef pot roast next week.

Pullets Wandering

Keep an eye out for the young pullets in the barnyard tonight. Our older birds are still out in the pasture leaving the new girls the indoor winter coop. With no snow on the ground or cold wind to keep them in the barn, they’ve quickly learned how to go over and where to sneak under the fences, allowing them to pretty much free range around the barnyard. They are rewarded with lots of tasty green vegetation and all of the insects they can manage. The horses haven’t quite gotten accustomed. They spend most of the day eyeing the activity around them, stamping the ground if anyone gets too close.

Bring Back Jars

Please remember to bring glass jars back to the farm. They should be exchanged each week when you take new ones. Breakage happens, but please don’t keep jars to store your other household goods in. They are a costly part of our very tight budget, and we rely on returns to make ends meet.

Watermelons from Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Watermelons from Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Cauliflower, green beans, watermelon and cantaloupe, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce mix, mesclun mix, fingerling potatoes, garlic, sweet summer onions, red and white cooking onions, scallions, cucumbers, summer squash, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, kale, chard, fresh cut herbs, u-cut flowers and sungolds, wheat berries, whole wheat flour. Next week: spinach, leeks, potatoes and winter squash. Soon: giant halloween pumpkins and decorative gourds.

In the meat share: Scrapple samples at pick up tonight! Beef, pork and broiler chickens in the freezer. We have beef stock, chicken organs and lard available as well. We are planning fresh beef for next week’s share. Pork in early October.

Full and By Farm: Fall Moving In Slowly

Full and By Farm, Fall (Photo: virtualDavis)

Fall is approaching at Full and By Farm (Photo: virtualDavis)

We are still enjoying plenty of summer treats held over from last week’s hot weather—sweet corn and big, juicy melons. Fall is moving in slowly though, cool days, cold nights and cloudy skies. The fields are emptying out with the change of season. This summer’s field of wheat has been harvested and is now laying empty, ready to plow for next year’s corn. The cover crop where the next wheat planting will grow is turned under, the soil worked up, prepared for seeding next week. The dry beans, potato and squash vines have all died back, exposing huge butternut and delicata squashes for feasting on, plump bean pods and the biggest halloween pumpkins yet. Get your carving knives ready.

Our new batch of laying hens have arrived. They are just starting to lay, which means there may be some little eggs mixed in to your carton.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Sweet corn, green beans, loads of watermelon and cantaloupe, garlic, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce mix, mesclun mix, lettuce heads, fingerling potatoes, sweet summer onions, red and white cooking onions, scallions, cucumbers, summer squash, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, kale, chard, basil, fresh cut herbs, u-cut flowers and sungolds, wheat berries, whole wheat flour—all purpose and pastry and dry beans. Coming soon: leeks and winter squash. We have plenty of pole beans and eggplant for putting up, let me know Thursday if interested.

In the meat share: Fresh scrapple this week, three flavors. Scrapple is the tasty breakfast treat made by combining a rich pork stock with grains and fresh herbs. Slice it thin, fry in a skillet with a little fat and top with maple syrup. Beef, pork and broiler chickens in the freezer. We have beef stock, chicken organs and lard available as well.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Final Haymaking Week

Haymaking at Full and By Farm

We are in the final week of this year’s haymaking, with the last two beautiful, clover-rich fields cut and drying. We’ve been slowed all summer by broken parts and pieces, with lots of help from friends and neighbors to keep up a cobbled together hay making system. Our horse mower went first, then both the tractor and tractor mower. We’ve had an old broken wheel that we haven’t been able to replace on one of our wagons from last year, leaving us just one to work with. We finally got the horse mower back together, borrowed a horse-powered tedder and second hay wagon from Reber Rock, borrowed two different tractors to run the baler and finally relied a great deal on Dave Lincoln who put all of his equipment to work, as well as lots of his time. Thanks to Todd Goff as well for loaning his tractor just in the nick of time for this week’s work! If all goes well raking and baling to come tomorrow.

Carting some fruits and veggies from Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Carting some fruits and veggies from Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

We’re seeing the first of the ripe melons this week. The overall cool and cloudy weather has meant the fruits have been sitting on the vines for awhile. They are not the sweetest or firmest fruits, but they do hit the spot for a good summertime fix. We’ll have lots out today, feel free to cut into your melons to make sure you get a good one before heading home.

The next planting of sweet corn is coming soon. The ears are full size and waiting to fill out the kernels. The pole bean vines are loaded with tiny fruits, lots of green beans to come soon.

We are swimming in wonderful eggplant. Take all you can eat and more tonight. They are terrific sliced thin and grilled with a little oil and salt. Eggplant also freezes easily for winter use—just dice and blanch or make a spread by roasting till the flesh is soft and puree with seasoning.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Garlic, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce mix, mesclun mix, lettuce heads, fingerling potatoes, sweet summer onions, red and white cooking onions, scallions, cucumbers, summer squash, broccoli shoots, green, red and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, kale, chard, basil, fresh cut herbs, u-cut flowers and sungolds, wheat berries, whole wheat flour—all purpose and pastry, kim chee and dry beans. Sweet corn, green beans and more melons coming soon.

In the meat share: wonderful, hand made soap from  Reber Rock Farm from our lard. Beef, pork and broiler chickens in the freezer. We have beef stock, chicken organs and lard available as well.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Wet and Muddy

Pigs at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Pigs at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Apologies first for a run of weeks with no farm note. Our internet has been going down every time we have a rain storm. As those of you who have ventured out to pick muddy flowers and sungold tomatoes know—this is a weather pattern that has synchronized nicely with Thursday farm pick-up.

It is wet and it is muddy out in the fields. Crops that were well established before the rainy spell are still growing like gangbusters. The potatoes, winter squash and dry beans are having a stellar year. Onions were harvested earlier this week and came in with over three times the yield of last year’s crop. With individual onions at 2 lbs a piece. The fingers of the fingerling potatoes belong to giants.

The weeds have enjoyed the weather more than any of the crops even; they have been hard to manage and keep growing not matter how you cultivate, easily replanting themselves with the next good, drenching rain. It has not, of course, been an ideal year for peppers and melons. The plants have grown well, but the fruits are not as big and tasty as in a dry year.

Radishes at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Radishes from Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

We still have plenty of tomatoes each week for canning, as well as summer squash, and cucumbers. Talk to me at pick up if you are interested in reserving any to put up. Extra veggies are free to the all you can eat veggie share members, wholesale prices to others.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Garlic, kim chee, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, lettuce mix, mesclun mix, fingerling potatoes, sweet summer onions, red and white cooking onions, scallions, cucumbers, summer squash, broccoli shoots, green and savoy cabbage, carrots, beets, kale, chard, basil, fresh cut herbs, u-cut flowers and sungolds, wheat berries, whole wheat flour—all purpose and pastry, and dry beans. More successions of sweet corn coming soon. Watermelons and cantaloupes are full grown on the vines and waiting for a spell of good, hot weather to ripen up.

In the meat share: wonderful, hand made soap from Reber Rock Farm from our lard. Beef, pork and broiler chickens in the freezer. We have beef stock, chicken organs and lard available as well.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Rain Continues

Carting some fruits and veggies from Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Carting some fruits and veggies from Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

After last week’s quick rain storm refreshed the plants James remarked that we really needed about 4 more inches to replenish the soil fully. With 3.5 by the end of Monday, and new storms moving through now, I say we could have stopped awhile back. The soil in the fields is heavy, thick and slurping at your boots when you try to walk through. Tomato and bean harvest stopped just as it started today, with dark rumbling clouds overhead. We plan to get back out just after the thunder and lightning pass. Fingerling potatoes are also in the works, hopefully there will be a long enough break to dig those out of the muddy field as well. There are beautiful savoy cabbage heads and giant, sweet summer onions that are perfect on the grill.

Flowers and sungolds are u-pick now. Wear your rain boots to get into the field.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, garlic, sweet summer onions, cucumbers, summer squash, broccoli shoots, cabbage, green beans, carrots, beets with greens, garlic scapes, kale, chard, bunching onions, basil, celeriac, fresh cut herbs, u-pick flowers and sungolds, wheat berries, whole wheat flour and dry beans. The first succession of sweet corn is coming soon!

In the meat share: Beef, pork and broiler chickens in the freezer. We have beef stock, chicken organs and lard available as well.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Storms Bring Relief

Draft horses working the fields at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Draft horses working the fields at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Yesterday’s storms brought great relief to the dry fields. The momentary chill in the air was all too quickly replaced by steamy heat to offer much relief to farmers and animals. This morning we are happily back to sweatshirts and chilly hands for morning harvest and chores.

What’s Growing?

The zucchini and cucumbers have taken off in the heat, consider ways to put them into every meal. Cucumber-kale smoothies have been big around here, as is grilled zucchini—slice lengthwise, rub with some olive oil and salt and grill. We eat it just as is (usually as the rest of the meal is being prepared), add it to burritos and sandwiches, or use a few slices to top off a burger. It is one of the tastiest summer foods and takes but five minutes to make. We lost much of the lettuce crop to heat this week, there will be new leaf lettuce by next pick-up and lettuce heads a little further out. I was hopeful that the current lettuce planting would fair well being nestled under a giant canopy of squash leaves, but the heat and dry were still too much.

Veggies in the share at Full and By Farm

Summer veggies in the share at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

The winter squash and halloween pumpkins are thigh-high and expanding everywhere. The vines are already loaded up with nice sized fruits. There are quite a few watermelons and cantaloupes on the vine too, though still small. Peppers and eggplants are flowering and setting fruit. Tomatoes are still limited since there is only one variety ripening in earnest. The others are just starting to blush with color, so it won’t be long until we are overflowing.

The flowers have filled out nicely now. They are u-cut this week, allow a little extra time to walk out to the field edge and grab some for home. As zucchini, cucumbers and green beans are rolling in, there will be leftovers for canning and freezing. Please let me know if you are interested in the surplus.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Zucchini, cucumbers, first of the tomatoes, broccoli shoots, green cabbage, loads of green beans, carrots, beets with greens, garlic scapes, kale, chard, bunching onions, basil, potatoes, celeriac, fresh cut herbs, u-cut flowers, wheat berries, whole wheat flour and dry beans. Coming soon: new potatoes and sweet summer onions, lots more tomatoes.

In the meat share: Fresh broiler chickens this week. Beef and pork in the freezer. We have beef stock and chicken organs available as well.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Summer Heat

Draft horses working the fields at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Draft horses working the fields at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

The work load has felt like full on summer for a few weeks now. The heat however just caught up—the kind of miserable, sticky heat that makes even the easiest projects feel unbearable. The kind of heat that makes the swim after work feels like the only thing keeping you going. The rush of work only feels good when you look behind you and realize how much you have gotten done in a short amount of time. We are one field away from having all of our first cut hay put up, a quick season for such a large project, rewarding us with a nice long break before second cut begins.

The fall brassicas are all started in the greenhouse, the first round will go into the field in the next few days. The last of the winter storage roots will also be seeded any day now. Harvest has just heated up too, The strawberries have taken all we’ve got to keep up with, the peas are just starting in now and green beans are right around the corner. The broccoli is in full swing this week, make sure to take at least a double helping tonight. Beautiful heads of green cabbage are just in time for fourth of July cole slaw, topped with grated carrots for color.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Broccoli, green cabbage, peas, carrots, beets with greens, garlic scapes, strawberries, kale, chard, bunching onions, head lettuce, mesclun mix, lettuce mix, basil, napa cabbage, potatoes, celeriac, fresh cut herbs, wheat berries, whole wheat flour and dry beans. Summer squash coming up!

In the meat share: Fresh beef—ground, stew beef and organ meats. Broiler chickens and pork in the freezer. Fresh chicken next week.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Haymaking Farmers

Bringing in hay at Full and By Farm. (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Bringing in hay at Full and By Farm. (Credit: Sara Kurak)

After six days of mowing, raking, baling and moving hay bales from dawn till past dusk we all looked like the walking dead moving around the farm. The gusty, shower-filled day Tuesday and non-stop pouring rain Wednesday provided a much-needed reprieve. If we weren’t so far behind on the farm work we were putting off to make hay I think we all would have happily spent the entire two days in bed. We did sneak a few naps in, and definitely some seven o’clock bedtimes, despite the eternal to-do list.

Conservation and Preservation

Bicknell's Thrush

Bicknell’s Thrush (Photo credit: Aaron Maizlish)

On Wednesday we had a group of farmers and landowners from the Dominican Republic on the farm for a tour and lunch. The group, hosted by chocolate maker Charles Kerchner, is interested in land conservation measures to protect the winter home of the migratory Bicknell’s Thrush, a bird that breeds in the Adirondack and Green Mountains during the summer months.

In addition to preserving the overlapping habitat of the bird and cacao beans, Charles trades directly with the cacao farmers for the beans that he imports to Vermont where they become some of the most incredibly flavored, hand-crafted chocolate bars that you can imagine tasting. The merging of commercially productive agriculture with ecological sensitivity was at issue, with lots of questions concerning the terms of our own conservation easement with the Eddy Foundation. Lightning and Rosa really stole the show though, everyone was interested in the working horse equipment and mostly with having their photo taken with Lightning.

Next week a continuation of Full and By first hand. We’ll be looking in on the vegetable fields during the tour next Thursday at 5pm.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Baby carrots, beets with greens, garlic scapes, strawberries, kale, chard, bunching onions, head lettuce, mesclun mix, napa cabbage, radishes, potatoes, celeriac, fresh cut herbs, wheat berries, whole wheat flour and dry beans. It was a cold spring for pea planting, everything was late and the soil still a bit cold for seeding. As a result the germination was not great and the sparse plantings are just getting ready to produce. We hope to have peas next week. Please return your strawberry containers for refills!

In the meat share: Broiler chickens, pork and beef. Fresh beef to come.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Magical Year in the Fields (So Far)

Draft horses working the fields at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Draft horses working the fields at Full and By Farm (Credit: Sara Kurak)

This has been a magical year in the fields so far—a near perfect mix of sun, rain, warm and cool weather. Across the vegetable field the plants are happy and growing well. The dry spells have been dry enough and regular enough to keep a good handle on cultivating and hoeing, making the weeds easy to maintain. Just when you start to worry that the soil is too dry we’ve had a good, long, soaking rain. The field crops have been just as content. We have a beautifully germinated stand of feed corn, the cover crop on the fallow fields filled in nicely, and we are just getting going on a healthy looking haying window. Sweetest of all is the bountiful season of strawberries ahead of us. The first harvest of giant, dripping with sweet, fruits are ready to go out in the share tonight. Each plant supporting many more drooping clusters of growing berries waiting in the wings.

We finished up painting and siding the barn last Saturday. A huge joy, five years in the making. There is inside work to do and the list of odds and ends is plenty long, but the relief of a clean, well-enclosed, solid structure is palpable. New this week: the big walk-in cooler in the cellar is up and running, and the hay mow is ready to accept bales.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Strawberries, rhubarb, kale, bunching onions, asparagus, head lettuce, mesclun mix, napa cabbage, radishes, potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, celeriac, wheat berries, whole wheat flour and dry beans. We have a limited supply of broccoli today for the broccoli lovers, much much more to come. Green cabbage is softball size already. The garlic scapes are finally scaping. Baby beets and carrots next week. Napa cabbage is versatile—braise, stir-fry, grate it for slaw or fill the leaves with savory goodies, roll up and bake in sauce.

In the meat share: Broiler chickens, pork and beef. We are finishing up the last of the beef from the freezer and will butcher fresh as soon as this beautiful hay making window closes up. Lard and leaf lard are available for your strawberry-rhubarb pie crust.

Sara Kurak
Full and By Farm

Full and By Farm: Leek Moth Larva

English: A basket of garlic (allium sativum) o...

Garlic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early Monday I went out to the vegetable field to make up a work list for the week. This year’s garlic crop is set directly across from the field entrance and the first thing that I come upon. Every day I expect to see scapes shooting up and starting their curly cue. With the bunching onions behind schedule, and the winter alliums soft beyond palatability, I’ve been extra eager for the tasty scapes to arrive. The first 20 or so feet of garlic was so heavily damaged that I could see a problem just walking across the headlands. It looked at first like sawdust from some soft, green wood had been sprinkled liberally over the plants, then the tender, inside leaves came into focus, with their chewed up edges and gnarled tops.

I dug around long enough to find a pale yellowish larva snacking away deep in the fold of the inside-most leaves. I assumed that this was the leek moth that we were warned about all last year, a relatively new but spreading invasive in the US. There’s not much you can do, other than carefully digging out the larva from the leaves of the garlic, onions and leeks. A time-sucking project that had three of us working most of the day, examining each plant individually and trying to extricate the sneaky larva without causing too much additional damage to the tender leaves.

I’m not certain yet how this will affect the scape or bulb formation, we will know soon though. The onions have been less effected than the garlic so far and the leeks appear to be completely free of the pest at this point. We will keep monitoring to stay ahead of the larva eating, and checking for the lacey-mesh cocoons that new moths will emerge from to lay a fresh round of eggs mid-summer.

The Bank Barn

Bank barn at Full and By Farm: pick up shares inside. (Credit: Sara Kurak)

Bank Barn at Full and By Farm. (Credit: Sara Kurak)

In brighter news we put in two sunny, dry days on the bank barn this week, siding and getting two coats of paint on the northern face. Work is ongoing today, between passing showers, putting siding on the south side. Rainy spells mean work on the inside though. The hay mow floor is half-way in. We are planning on storing hay in this barn finally, taking a lot of stress and pressure off of the cow barn across the road. A structure than can barely manage to hold itself up, let along thousands of pounds in additional weight.

In the Farm Shares

In the veggie share: Kale, chard, bunching onions, spinach, asparagus, head lettuce, mesclun mix, lettuce mix, asian cabbages, radishes, arugula, beet greens, potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, celeriac, wheat berries, whole wheat flour and dry beans.

In the meat share: Fresh broiler chickens this week, pork and beef in the freezer. Lard and leaf lard are available. James will be demonstrating how to part a whole chicken at the share tonight, have your chicken prepped and get some good tips on how to make the job easy.