Search

Agrarian Harvest

Wholesome. Organic. Experience. All about our farm, food, and small farm life.

Category

Winter

Wrapping up the Year

It was another busy year, as usual. We did not have an employee this year and adjusted our farm accordingly. We only sold at one farmers’ market this year and that was plenty. Farmers’ markets tend to take an inordinate amount of time.

It felt like an odd growing year with things ripening later than usual and not producing as abundantly. The heat of the season usually means summer abundance. But this year, we didn’t seem to have the heat early on and in turn a lack of abundance of anything. Some weeks this summer, we had a hard time filling the orders we had, leaving none or very little for the farmers’ market.Then there was the usual annoyances like aphids taking out the kale and squash bugs killing the zucchini and summer squash plants.

The drip irrigation system proved to work well, allowing us to harvest while we were irrigating. It took us two full days to harvest enough to fill orders for the Wood River Valley and to take to the Ketchum Farmers’ Market, then another two days for product for the Magic Valley. Since we were harvesting so often, the dip irrigation was very helpful. We can irrigate and harvest the same days and not be wading in the mud. Before we had to schedule our irrigation days at least two days before we had to go into the field to harvest. A challenging fete when we are in the field four days a week and half the time we were still harvesting in the mud. We still had lots of weeds between the rows because of the rain we had early in the growing season. But with no corrugates between the rows, it was easier to walk and mow between the rows also.

On to our solar power project, it didn’t quite meet our expectations. We didn’t calculate enough watts for our anticipated needs for the solar panels that were installed. So the solar isn’t generating enough power to cover all our usage to date. This means a power bill and a solar payment.  In the spring, it may be necessary to evaluate our production and possibly add a panel or two. This has not gone exactly as planned, but you never know until you try.

Overall, it was a good year. So far we are enjoying our slow, calm winter days. But maybe . .  just maybe . . the farmer has had too many winter days already. He is currently mapping out what to plant where and ordering seeds. By Spring, he will be planning on farming 5000 acres and planting every variety of every vegetable there is seed for. Somebody help me!

January Juggle

For most of January, farming took a backseat to house issues and maintenance. We discovered we had a toilet leaking on the second floor of our house. This leak also did damage to the dining room ceiling. After investigating the issue, we figured out the  plumbing was not done correctly. We checked one of our other toilets, and it was leaking too. We have a third bathroom that we have not tore into yet, but that bathroom has been remodeled since the house was built so we’re hoping that the plumbing was updated with the remodel. So we’ve had two bathrooms tore apart and are working on putting them back together. Then the wiring in our well shorted and caught fire. Three issues in one month . . .  crossing our fingers and hoping we are done these home issues. I’m told it happens in threes.

When the farmer realized we had issues with plumbing, he wanted to cry. That is his least favorite home improvement project to work on, especially when it involves tearing out sheetrock and the sub-floor. And with the mild winter we are having, the farmer has been really antsy to be outside getting things done, not in the house tearing bathrooms apart to work on plumbing and replacing floors. So he split his time between house projects and farm projects; one or two days working on bathrooms and then a couple days of farm projects. The farm wife gets really cranky when her house is tore up and especially when it’s the toilet that is out of commission.

Normally, this time of year we have snow on the ground, it’s froze and there is not much to do but order seeds and plan when we want to start the seedlings in the cold frame. But this winter has been very different with mild temperatures and little precipitation. We put up a second cold-frame, got the plastic on it and still need to get plastic on our original cold-frame. We finished pulling up the last of that ridiculous plastic row cover that we put down last year.  And amazingly, the ground is not frozen and dry enough that the farmer ripped, roto-tilled and marked out one of our fields. That is just crazy that we are working the ground the first of February!

DSCN9408
Chickens follow the farmer as he tills the ground.

It was the first week of February when I wrote this post, when we had Spring-like temperatures and we worked the ground. The following week, when I’m posting this, it is back to Winter. There is snow on the ground and things are frozen again. Time once again to stay inside to work on bathrooms.

 

February Happenings:

  • Put plastic on the cold-frame that we start our bedding plants in
  • Broiler chicks arrive
  • Get some lettuce and spinach planted

Is Plastic Organic Friendly?

With the farm clean-up being close to finished for the year, it gave us time to think while we were pulling plastic row cover. To understand what we were doing, part of our clean up consist of mowing down the froze plants, pulling up all the plastic row cover and filling dumpsters. As I’ve always thought of myself as an environmentally friendly person, this practice is bothering my conscience. We are just a small farm. If all organic farms are using plastic row cover, I can’t imagine how many tons of plastic row cover is going to the landfill from Organic farms each year.

The USDA Organics programs allows for the use of plastic row cover as a method of weed control, but up until this year didn’t allow the use of biodegradable row cover. This doesn’t make sense to me and I’m having a problem saying it is okay to put down thousands of feet of plastic that is going to wind up in our landfills. I don’t feel we are doing the world justice being Organic farmers if we are going fill up the landfill with plastic just because the Organics program says it is okay.

I know consumers are conscious of how their food is grown and I’m now wondering if it matters to the consumer if their food is grown environmentally-friendly also. As a farmer, I feel it matters, this farm won’t be using plastic next year. At this time, we are looking into getting biodegradable row covering, which is newly approved by the USDA Organics program, and planting rows farther apart to mow the weeds between rows.  Ultimately, we feel it is important for consumers to know their farmers and their practices, not just look for the Organic symbol.

 

December Happenings:

  • The farmer spends this month drooling over the seed catalogs while the kids go through toy catalogs. He writes a list of what he wants to grow and diagrams how and where to plant everything.
  • Then we discuss what or if any changes need to be made for the next year’s growing and marketing season.

“Off-Season” Work

Fall was way too short. It felt like we had a week of Fall and then went straight into Winter. Maybe it’s because the farmers markets are over, we’re exhausted and quickly go into hibernation mode. But, most likely, it’s the weather. It got way too cool too quick for this warm-weather-loving- body. We’d prefer our fall consisting of three months of 70 degree days. Most of our days are now cool and blustery; and it’s snowing while I type this. With all the leaves off the trees, looking bare and cold, it give us a chill  just looking out the window. But out we must go, there is work to do still.

Since the our growing season is over for the year, we will be spending our days in the field doing farm clean up. This consist of mowing the froze plants, pulling up the plastic row cover and tilling the plant debris into the soil. And the chore of pulling hundreds of t-post out of the ground that were used to stake the tomatoes up. Then there are tasks that need to be done before seeds can be planted for next year like replace the plastic on the cold-frame and, possibly, put another cold-frame up.  

There is also planting to do, believe it or not. It is time to plant garlic. It has to overwinter 20160729_224038in the ground to be ready to harvest by July or August next year. So, hopefully, the weather will hold out, meaning no snow . . . . but since that is already happening, maybe the ground won’t freeze hard as a rock just yet. We are trying to brace ourselves for winter, since we keep hearing that this winter is forecast to be worse than last year. We are just not ready for snow and cold and neither is the farm. Really . . . . we could skip winter this year or spend the whole winter on a warm beach.

November Happenings:

  • Besides the farm clean-up, we look forward to Thanksgiving and eating lots of warm, delicious food.
  • We still have winter squash, pie pumpkins, onions, dry beans, honey, eggs, pork by the cut, beef by the cut, whole chickens, and whole ducks for sale.
  • We are taking orders for whole or half pigs. The butcher dates are set and have limited quantity of pigs available.

Spring??? Please!!!

It’s an exciting day at Agrarian Harvest! It’s 50 degrees outside and the snow is melting!! This is a great feeling for us after having cold temperatures and lots of snow to deal with this winter. We had 6 days this winter that we were actually snowed in. The wind blew and the drifts kept building up in our lane. There was no getting out. Which is fine for me, but the farmer goes a little stir crazy. Snow days are fun, especially when we get the whole family to go out to play fox and geese, sled or build snow forts. But after a month of it (or just one day for the farmer) we are done with winter. It can go away and bring on Spring.

And the farmer is getting ready for Spring. He has been busy filling trays with potting soil, planting shallots, leeks and celery. He’s also been getting the cold frame ready for plants. We had a duck nesting in cold frame. She managed to hatch a couple of eggs, but the ducklings didn’t make it. She was a first time mama and it was just too cold.

We are excited for another year of farming and very eager to get plants growing. By the way, our rock chucks didn’t see their shadows. I know this because it was cloudy all day. As I type this, they are busy running around the rock piles, telling me that spring is on its way. So we feel that famous groundhog way over in the East is wrong.

 

February Happenings & Plans

This month is going to be a full of getting seeds planted and started. We also plan to get lettuce, spinach and arugula in the ground for early cutting for farmers markets and CSA.

We have pigs ready for butcher. They will be going to the butcher as soon as can get the trailer back to the corral to load them.  If you want a whole or half pig, now is the time put your order in. We will have more pork by the cut available in early March. Until then, you check our pork page for the cuts we currently have available.      Pork

We will once again be offering a vegetable CSA this year. And we now have four pick up locations, we added Ketchum to our pick up locations.  Here is a link to our 2017 CSA application.   csa2017

 

Produce And New CSA Opportunity Available

Farmers’ Market may be over, but you can still get fresh, local, organic produce all winter long!

AGRARIAN HARVEST has produce, eggs, meat and other products available all year round. At the moment, we have organic eggs, winter squash, pumpkins, kale, swiss chard, garlic, broccoli, turnips, diakon radishes, cabbage, celery, pork, chicken, herbs, soap, laundry detergent, herbs and more. Visit our product pages to get a full list of products and availability. We will have whole, frozen chicken; pork by the cut; whole pigs and eggs all winter long. As for all the produce, it will be available until we sell out of the pumpkins, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, cabbage, turnips, diakon radishes, celery, beets and herbs. The broccoli, kale, swiss chard will be available until it freezes too hard for these plants. Some winters, like last year, we have kale all winter long.  We start growing greens and radishes in our cold frame during the winter so they will be available in early, early spring. So whenever you are in need of fresh produce, check with us first.

Also, we will be offering CSA shares this coming year. There will be two different sizes of produce CSA and a meat CSA with multiple pick-up locations to pick from. If you are interested in buying a CSA and want to the guarantee that you will get a box of fresh, organic, wholesome produce every week, contact us to sign up. Watch for our CSA page later this month for details.

E-mail us at myfood@agrarianharvest.com or call/text us at (208) 308-5332. You can visit us at our farm in Buhl to get product any day of the week or we deliver to Twin Falls on Wednesdays.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: