A beautiful seven day forecast is in front of us. The fields are still mushy, but the water that has been standing for so long has finally disappeared, soaking into the ground or evaporating under the hot sun. The return of blue skies and a break in the hot, muggy weather that has been with us for so long has enlivened the plants, animals and farmers. Only as the weather has finally shifted are we beginning to get a full picture of the damage to the vegetable fields and a hope for what will recover. The good news is that none of the crops were a complete loss. The bad news is that many of the plants are way behind schedule or just gave up growing weeks ago, and decided to put out seeds instead.
The summer brassicas have produced tiny versions of themselves, buttoned broccoli heads and ping pong sized cabbages. All but one of the successions of sweet corn, as well as the corn for feed and cornmeal drowned before germination. The favorite summer foods—tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are all really small, some look like they haven’t grown since we transplanted them over a month ago. If the weather holds these should all continue putting on growth and may bounce enough to make a decent, all be it late, yield. The potatoes, onions, beans and summer carrots are all still on the fence. It’s a little soon to tell if they will make a recovery or if too much damage has been done. The taste of a juicy, ripe tomato will be all that much sweeter this summer knowing what we went through to get there.
Thanks to Our CSA Members
This year has been by far the saddest we’ve seen, and we are inexpressibly grateful for our csa members at times like this. You are our insurance policy to see us through the bad times and encourage us to keep planting, building and harvesting. Under any other model of distribution the farm would see an immediate and drastic impact that we may not be able to recover from, rather than diffusing the loss over many households and several years.
Of the countless brilliant thoughts to come out of Wendell Berry‘s writing this one comes to mind “…If the crop of any one year was all, a man would have to cut his throat every time it hailed. But the real product of any year’s work are the farmer’s mind and the cropland itself…”.
In reality it is all just a theory without the people to stand behind the farmer and the farm, allowing us to strive for the big picture rather than get snagged by every downturn in the weather. We all thank you for standing behind us. In celebration of the big picture we are holding our first csa pick-up in the spacious and shiny bank barn this week.
If the forecast is true it looks like we will be busy making hay all week. The cows will surely be rejoicing this winter.
In the Farm Shares
In the veggie share: carrots, beets, peas, bunching onions, napa cabbage, lettuce heads, loose-leaf lettuce, radishes, dry beans and cornmeal.
In the meat share: whole and half broiler chickens and beef.
From “Prayers and Sayings of the Mad Farmer” by Wendell Berry
Don’t Worry and fret about the crops. After you have done all you can for them, let them stand in the weather on their own.
If the crop of any one year was all, a man would have to cut his throat every time it hailed.
But the real product of any year’s work are the farmer’s mind and the cropland itself.
If he raises a good crop at the cost of belittling himself and diminishing the ground, he has gained nothing. He will have to begin over the next spring, worse off than before.
Let him receive the season’s increments into his mind. let him work it into the soil.
The finest growth that farmland can produce is a careful farmer.
Make the human race a better head. Make the world a better piece of ground.
- Full and By Farm: Bank Barn (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Oversaturation (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Harvest Woes (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm: If It Bleeds It Leads (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Menacing Skies (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)