Sunday brought the organic inspector to the farm to review our practices, receipts for seed and feed and records about planting schedules, rotations and harvest yields. Organic farming requires scrupulous record keeping. For the last few years, we have based most of this record keeping on our computer. This past season, we started to use an on-line database system and Google Earth to keep records. When John is not in the field in the winter, he's at the computer "virtual farming" as he color-codes the mapping program with the planting schedule. We've been dreaming about how much easier this would be with the institution of i-phones for both of us and our interns so data could be entered in the field and communication could be easier between all of us during the days in the field. We could enter data from the field about what we are planting and harvesting rather than scribbling it on scraps of paper and transcribing them into the computer later in the day. Of course, Apple hasn't returned my phone call or email about sponsoring farm-based technology development so for now, we'll just keep writing things on our old fashioned "Palm Pilots", our hands. (Our idea of a palm pilot is ink directly on the hand...)
We still have some large garden projects left before the season ends which include: cover cropping the open garden space (see picture above); planting garlic for next season; cleaning up the tomato trellises; cleaning out the tomato house and closing it up for the winter; mulching the strawberry plants; and finishing the season's harvest. "Thank you" to two CSA families who joined John on Saturday to clean up the winter squash field--Thanks Cori, Todd, Justin and Erin! John and I both start to loose steam this time of the year and the appearance of volunteers and their helping hands goes a long way to motivating us to finish the work for the season.
The farm is starting to get brown and crinkled, as everything turns back into the soil for the winter. I'm ready to light up that wood stove and turn our attention inward.
People always ask us what we do with our time off in the winter... some folks are surprised to realize that November is really the only down-time that we have. December brings seed catalogs, and thus the beginning of planning out the whole season. Conferences, farmer meetings, and organic production seminars all take place during the winter-- when else do we farmers have time for it? We will be building a lot over the winter. Among other projects... the barn still needs significant work, we'll put together a walk-in cooler, and build a bath house. We start seedlings in late February and invite next year's first apprentice to move in by mid March. So November is as "down-time" as it gets! (and in case you are still wondering... in November we sleep!)
There are a lot of items this week and next. Don't be intimidated by the amounts here. You do not have to take everything, but many of these items will keep well in a cool corner of your house. Potatoes, onions, carrots, rutagaba (which is a kind of turnip) leeks, winter squash and kholrabi will all hold very well over the course of the month.
This week's harvest:
Soy beans (edamame)
Of course all of us involved in the CSA are friends of Broadturn Farm. But we are going to make that role official by starting a committee which will start out as a branch of the Scarborough Land Conservation Trust. The purpose of this group is to advise and direct the relationship between the farm and the land trust, as well as the population at large. We are looking for a handful of individuals who can serve on this committee. Benefits involve having an active voice in the direction of this property, learning--and teaching others-- about farm-land uses, and oh yeah-- food at every meeting. (HA! we know your weakness!!!)
Please consider joining this brand new group as another way you can support what we do at Broadturn Farm. Thanks!
Blessings on the meal,
John and Stacy