Community Supported Agriculture

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We're in the news!

Well, we made a column about small businesses. Check it out:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Farming is never finished

Ok, that phrase could mean a lot of things. but this morning it means to us that even though the season is wrapping up, and people ask if we're done farming, for some reason we still have a lot to do. I'm sure farming is a lot like other things, parenting comes to mind. Maybe if we hadn't bitten off more than we could chew, we'd be finished. But from the get go, we always wanted to offer people another option to join a winter CSA, and we're doing it. The share distributions begin a week from today, and will last until the first week in February. We don't have a lot of things to harvest yet, but we really should finish up with some projects before the next growing season rolls around. Our neighbors are building another large hoophouse, and we're thinking about getting one up next spring if we get a grant. Something tells me that our lives this winter won't have a farm-free week in them.

But we're getting to bed earlier, mostly because it gets dark, and my favorite part about fall is here: clasping a warm mug of coffee in my hands as I'm outside in the chilly air.

Last year we were reading some publication in British Columbia from small-scale farmers. I remember how a new farmer wrote about the challenges he faced, and the amount of work that farming required. He came to realize that farming is not a occupation, it's a way of life.

I guess any work that is so closely related to humans' most basic necessities probably isn't something you can just stop. People still need to eat, and I for one am excited to have our greenhouse filled with spinach this winter. If you know any farmers who are trying to do it in winter, give them a high five. They're probably tired of it, but since they like to eat food, and feed others, they are still going. Still going, still going, better get going.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gelato Fiasco Event

Some exciting news for food lovers: our tomatoes have risen to a whole new level: Bruno and the gang at the Gelato Fiasco in Brunswick created an heirloom tomato sorbetto with our tomatoes last week, and from the reports, it's pretty good (no surprise). We'll be doing it again this coming Thursday. Pete and Sarah will be at the Gelato Fiasco from 6 to 8 (pm, don't worry) on the 26th. Tomato sorbetto will be available, and some tomatoes for sale, as well. We'll be there to chat, take a break from the fields, and hopefully meet some of the folks as they sample our goods. If you're looking for a chance to try some gelato inspired by local ingredients, check it out.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Something smells so good...

Pete is cooking dinner for us tonight. Actually, he cooks pretty frequently. He's good that way. One of the main reasons we started this farm was to eat well. It's hard to do sometimes since we're so busy. When we go grocery shopping, we get some strange looks from folks at the register for only buying pounds and pounds of dry beans, pasta, rice, and a good 10 pounds of peanut butter at a time. We eat a lot of PB&J's, but have been trying to eat our produce as much as possible, since it's so delicious.

We have a few tomatoes. Heirlooms. Ripe, actually overripe.

We have garlic that we're pulling up every week to check to see if it's 'ripe'. I didn't think we'd have garlic, since we didn't get our land really until March. But spring was early, and we planted the first week of March, and even though our garlic is behind other people's, and a bit smaller, it's still the real thing, and delicious with our salsa, our masa tortillas, our garlic butter, and left over salad greens. They're so green, it's almost neon. Growing up in Alaska, I didn't know what real vegetables looked like until moving 'down south'. (to washington state).

I'm secretly glad to see so many of those tomatoes splitting open from overwatering. (I think that's what we did). We need to eat our produce, too. Unfortunately, many farmers in this country don't eat well. Granted, a lot of those farmers do it conventionally, and are monocropping, because the world of agriculture has changed so much in the last century, and no longer do farmers also grow their own food. This is a strange posting our our blog, but I think it's important to think about. How many farmers grow their own food in this country? We have to make it a point to eat as much of our own produce as we can, because we have a hard time finding the time to cook. But at least we're growing all of the things we would want to eat, and we're still growing some things just for our own consumption (dry beans). All of the flowers I'm growing are not for 'consumption' but unfortunately don't make it to market much for lack of time, but I am sooooooo glad I planted all of those flowers, because they make the farm just so much more beautiful. Really. And they smell good. Kinda like that dinner that Pete's finishing up.

Oh, one more thing. We got accepted into two winter markets: Bath and Gardiner we'll also be at this winter. Starting in November, we'll move inside. See you!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Farmers' market

We've been doing markets now for almost two months, and finally getting into the swing of it. We love putting together our stand to show off the vegetables and hopefully not overwhelm any customers. The photos (thanks to Jayne) below are in Gardiner at our Wednesday market. It usually is in the park, but it had rained earlier in the day, and we set up in the street. I had initially thought that people in the houses might not like the market right in front of their homes, but at least one person was thrilled to have such easy access to all of us vendors. We're gearing up now for tomato season, as well as eggplants and peppers. Our tomato CSA begins in a few weeks, and we're excited for that, as well as more organizing for our winter CSA. It's the 2nd half of July, and we're still soaking up the sun of summer.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Feeding the plants

Something exciting happened today. A few special plants came up, ones that I had forgotten I planted, and haven't really tended. It's comfrey. I've read about it as a plant with many uses, but last summer we learned about its amazing capabilities at helping other plants grow. Comfrey grows a long tap root deep into the soil, and pulls up all kinds of trace minerals from the depths that other plants' roots don't reach. It puts those minerals into its abundant leaves, and here's the awesome part: you can harvest the leaves, mix them in water, stir them often for a month or some, and the leaves will disintegrate into the water, leaving you a potion of trace minerals that you can give to your other crops. People buy expensive things like fish emulsion, or kelp, since they both can add a lot of nutrients to your plants and keep the garden happy. But comfrey will grow quickly after you chop the leaves off, and it spreads itself by root. I don't think we'll get a cutting this year for our farm, but I will plant more comfrey plants down by the bay, where their roots will soak up washed-away nutrients we applied. (lots of fertilizer we use can get washed away in a good rain). It gives us a second chance to use those nutrients we initially applied, plus the comfrey will pull up all kinds of good stuff from deep in the ground. In 5 years, we won't be able to use the land by the bay for crops anyway, since there will be a buffer zone in place as part of the maine farmland trust regulation. Hopefully by then, there will be a nice border of comfrey in place. I encourage any gardeners out there to get comfrey root cuttings, and plant them in an out of the way part of your garden. They're quite nice to look at as a bush, and their leaves make a wondrous potion for folier sprays.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We're certified!

The above phrase is open to interpretation. But we're happy to report that MOFGA has given us the official news that our crops are organic. It doesn't come as much of a surprise. Now that I think about it, I do remember doing some rather organic-like things around the farm.

A quick update for any of you interested in helping out at the farm, Sunday, Monday and Thursday are excellent days to volunteer in exchange for food. Let us know ( if you'd like to get dirty. Bring your swimsuit if it's sunny. The bay is nice and warm, and the sand dunes not far.

Friday, June 18, 2010

If you don't ever visit the part of the farm where the weeds are, do they not exist?

This week it's almost the solstice. Summer is just around the corner, hot days, short nights, and full season crops await us. I'm happy this week to report that the farm is doing ok. We've managed to get a lot of crops in the ground, do some weeding, and harvest twice a week and go to market twice a week. The peppers are the latest thing we did a serious planting of. They look really good, most are flowering, and I caught one with a tiny fruit on it. People ask if we grow fruit. I forget that we do... we grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, and even a few melons. All of those crops flower first, and either are self-pollinators and make fruit, or need the help of insects to pollinate the flowers and form real fruit. All of those crops take a long time to come, but they're just around the corner. The Maine season is so short, that before I know it, we'll be harvesting squash and glad that we transplanted all of those onions in late May.

It's hard for me to have lots of projects in my head at one time. But I think we have only a few major plantings left, and then I can focus on the weeds on our farm. Potatoes are left, and then cabbages for the fall, and carrots and beets for the fall, etc.

I went to a concert last Sunday, it was fun, and chatted for a while with someone who had some farming in his past. Someone asked him where he kept his weeding tractor or tool, and he just held up his hands, waiving his fingers. I was thinking about that a lot this week. Weed management is a huge component to good organic farming practice. Without chemicals to spray for weeds and for pests, you're left using other tools that may be at your disposal. some people use tractors, others hand tools like a rake or hoe, and some of us just crawl around on all fours through the beds, pulling out each weed we see. Luckily, my vision isn't all that good, I'm rather near-sighted, and can't see all of the weeds off in the distance.

But as I mentioned before, the solstice is in a few days, and after that, the crops will fill out more, blocking sun from the weeds, and they will hopefully be more manageable. And as Pete's friend Jeff would say, what we're here to do is to grow vegetables, not to eradicate all the weeds on this farm. I hope any of you reading this remember that bit of wisdom as you're weeding your garden or farm. Have a good week.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Good and Bad News

I've realized that we mostly write when stuff is going good, or when it's about onions. Well, this post will have both, as life usually goes that way.

Good news: we had our first market day today, and it was super fun. We had some gorgeous and tasty produce to sell, not a lot of variety, but the quality was there. We met some fantastic folks who we like and hope to get to know better over the season. Probably one of the best things that can happen is when you meet people who are as excited about your produce as you are. The morning was a date for us, we got to leave town together, and was the longest by far we were standing upright instead of bent over vegetables. The only bad news for the day was immediately after, not going more than a quarter mile through town, when we parked at the natural food store, we both got hefty tickets for not wearing seat belts. I know organic costs more than conventional, but most farmers aren't quite rich yet. We'll be sure to be buckled up....

Good news: we have enough onions that we can start replanting them today , over a month after we planted the first ones.

Bad news: we lost about 98% of the first planting, due to wireworms.

Bad news: the wireworms will probably take out the onions we plant today, and in fact, wireworms have no real solution, even expensive organic pesticides don't really solve the problem, and they really like root crops.

Good news: I think we can avoid the worst of the damage by planting this late, maybe their life cycle will encourage them to move deeper into the soil as the heat comes on, and they won't damage all of our crops. Maybe.

Goods news: We have huge tomato plants in our large hoophouse/greenhouse that are full of flowers, and we even have a couple of white tomatoes setting.

Overall, we're very positive about things, and it was so nice to have some encouragement by folks today at the market. It makes going back to the field now to plant onions and be bent over again so much more fun and exciting, when you know that people want your produce. Yay!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

spring planting

We're making progress with planting all of our crops for the season. We fell behind for a while since spring was so early, but Monday night we had a frost, and managed to get many of our tender little plants covered up with a few layers of protection. Officially, last frost day in our area is May 15th, but we wonder with climate change if that is moving ahead or not.

Took some pictures of us. Enjoy!

Spring planting

Monday, April 26, 2010

Discovering that you've been doing things the hard way

we've been pretty busy with lots of things. Most of, wondering where all the time goes in the day!

Today we started transplanting onions into the beds of the field. We learned that there's a lot more that goes into planting than just putting the vegetables in the ground. Our soil is incredibly low in organic matter, and a bit sandy to boot. That translates for people who don't know, very porous soil that doesn't hold moisture very well. We haven't had rain for a while, which for most Maine farms isn't a problem with all of their organic matter, but for us, difficult, because we've been having trouble with our water pump from the bay, and the tides aren't currently aligning themselves to when we need to pump the water in. So we've been filling 5gal buckets at home in the morning and trucking it the mile to the fields. Anyway, we got 3 and a half rows planted. Pretty good. We'll do more tomorrow, hopefully, because....

our mentor farmer, Jill, came over to visit us for the first time this evening. And when she saw our three rows of onions in each bed, all 4 inches apart, she asked, "why are you planting those all individually?" According to her, you can plant three little baby onions together in one bunch, with a greater spacing (12 inches) apart, and not compromise the eventual size of your onions by having those three little starts all together. Plus, weeding becomes a lot easier when you have more space to get tools in there. PLUS you don't have to open up a new hole and worry about each individual little delicate onion transplant every 4 inches! Yikes! I wish we had known this before we spent the whole day planting onions! :) We'll probably keep doing it the old way, since that's what we know, and with heavy irrigation this summer, we hope to have very large onions. But, we'll also try out a row with the different method, and see if we really can get away with less work, and same result.

I'd love to hear about others' discoveries of doing things an easier way, especially if the initial attempt was a) incredibly time-consuming and b) back-breaking.

Friday, March 19, 2010


A bit ago we got to see our old friends Kate, Sara and Tracey. They brought some beautiful weather with them, and it's been nice ever since. The snow is all melted on the field, and in fact, the ladies helped to 'pop' garlic, to get it ready for a late planting. Here are some photos of what the field looks like now.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Our ideas begin to germinate into reality

It's the new year. Even though I can't really tell that the days are getting longer, somehow my body knows that another season is beginning. Today Pete and I walked down to our field, took some photos, and dreamed a bit more about what is soon becoming a reality:

our own fields for our own food!

The seeds within us awake this time of year, and appropriately enough, we're putting together our first seed order. All of the names and descriptions are so lovely and enticing, it's a wonder that we can decide on any varieties of vegetables at all. I can hardly wait to taste you, 'sweet meat' squash! We'll be having a party in August with 'fiesta' broccoli! For all of you out there who enjoy going to the section of the hardware store that has the color samples for paints, those descriptions of tints have nothing on the depictions found within a seed catalog. This time of year, the vivid illustrations inspire and help us get through the cold.