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Agrarian Harvest

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

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garlic

“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.

Green . . . Life Springs Forth

Green! I can see green growing again. It is so nice to see green . . .  plants growing again: grass and even weeds, lots of weeds. At this point, I’m happy to see weeds growing. Some will be tilled under when we roto-till the ground and others will just be a nuisance to deal with all summer. But after the long, snowing winter we had . . . . . . .  I’m welcoming the growth of weeds.

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Of course, I’m excited for the growth of vegetables too!! The greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula and swiss chard) have all been planted and the low tunnels are up. Thousand of seeds have been started in the cold frame and are up and grgarlic sproutsowing. The garlic is growing too. It’s a beautiful sight to look out the window to admire the rows of green sprigs of garlic starting to grow. And, the crazy farmers we happen to be, are trying something new this year; we planted peas. Yes, we
plant and grow peas every year, but never have we planted peas this early in the Spring. We’ll see how it works. If it works out, we’ll have peas available at the beginning of farmers market season.

Along with plant life beginning, Spring also brings on the joy of babies being born. Animals all over the farm are having babies; there are kittens, calves, chicks and piglets.  Although, at our farm pig farrow at all times of the year. Since we farrow all year round, we also have pork available during all the seasons instead of just one time a year. We have several pigs that are ready to be butchered and also have weaned piglets available. If you are interested in buying a pig contact us, we have several that are ready to go. We are also working on putting together bundles of pork and beef at various price ranges.           Pork         Beef

March Happenings & Plans

  • Start more seeds
  • Till the fields
  • CSA shares are still available to purchase through the month     csa2017

Flurry of August

August has to be the busiest month of the whole summer. I can’t remember ever having a calendar that had a blank day in August.  I have heard it said that August is the month of timelessness. The produce is producing at max, so there is more harvest than normal, more varieties of produce are producing and needed harvested in August, and everything  from apricots, peaches, tomatoes, green beans to pickles needs to be canned, jammed, dried or froze. It is also the time of year when we need to start to think and plan for the school year and then there are all the birthdays and BBQs planned in August. There are so many days in August when my head is spinning and I scream, ” Aaahhh, really, how do we do it all?” On those days, I take a few deep breaths, start with one task at a time and drink a few beers. Everything gets done in long run and all is okay . . . . .. or the produce I was suppose to be canning for winter starts to go bad and I feed it to the pigs or chickens, I have enough canned from last year to last the winter. Right? ? ?

Here is what has been keeping us busy on the farm in August:

We have a wide variety of producDSCN7728e that is producing well: seeded watermelons, muskmelons, cantaloupe, green beans, swiss chard, kale, bell peppers, serrano peppers, chile peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, slicing tomatoes, Sun Gold tomatoes. The san marzano and roma tomatoes are slower to come on but are slowly starting to produce. Our carrots are doing amazingly well this year and we are happy to have baby carrots with or without tops available. The garlic and onions have been harvested and cured, we have  been cleaning and getting it ready to sale.

Last year, our melons grew and produced well. We also had request for melons that we didn’t have so this year we decided to plant many more melons. It has been incredibly surprising how many melons the plants are producing and we have harvested the last tDSCN7722wo weeks. We have had a mountain of melons to sell at the farmers’ markets. They have such a sweet aroma and can be smelled from several feet away. And the smell is nothing compared to the taste. Yummmmm!

Unfortunetly, our eggplants are not producing yet. The plants are big and beautiful, but there are only a few blooms and they aren’t making eggplants. This is very unfortunate since my mouth is watering for eggplant parmesan and baba ghanoush. We are hoping they will start producing abundantly before frost. They better hurry, I’m thinking we are going to have an early frost this year. And our beets rotted in the ground so no beets this year.

I know this season will wind down all too soon. Then it will be cold and I will be dreaming of summer again. In all the busyiness there is lots of joy to be had.  I really do love summer and all that goes along with it. I even enjoy canning, and yes, I do get enough canned, jammed, dried or froze to last us the winter. And at the end of an exhausting day, there is nothing like having a beer while sitting on the porch gazing at the moon and stars and listening to the insects. Cheers!

Summer Heat: Thrive or Hide?

The summer heat has arrived and has been good and bad for the farm and the farmers. The lettuce has just about stopped growing. It’s  like it is saying, “This heat is just too much for me.” The same thing that the farmer says when he goes in search of shade. On the other hand, the corn, tomatoes,  eggplant, and melons are thriving. I image them saying the same thing that I say when the summer heat has finally arrived, “Aaawww, now I’m comfortable, let’s get to work!” So the corn has jumped in height and is making ears, the tomatoes are ripening, the eggplant are getting ready to produce, and the melons are spreading and growing large beautiful melons. The cucumbers are doing well in the heat too. They are covered in blooms and starting to make little cucumbers. This is the part of summer that this farmer’s wife loves: the heat, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, corn, peppers, eggplants and melons. All my favorite things of summer!

In other farm news, the green beans are ready to be picked. The picking begins this week. The peppers were producing well, but were getting sun burnt. So we covered them with a shade cloth and will be able to offer higher quality peppers rest of the summer.

We also have a little experiment going on. The broccoli was so infested with aphids it was either mow it all the way to the ground, till it in and prepare the ground to plant something for fall or mow the tops of the plants off to try to get rid of the aphids and get the broccoli to grow more heads. We decided to mow the tops and wait a week or two to see what happens. So if mowing the tops of the plants off doesn’t take care of our aphid problem or if the broccoli doesn’t grow anymore heads, then we will be mowing it off to prepare the bed for a fall planting.  Either way it’s a win/win situation for us.

As we harvest the garlic, onions and radishes and end their growing season, we are preparing the beds for fall planting. We plan to plant a fall crop of greens, broccoli, cabbage and any other cool season plants we can and cover with them low tunnels to extend our growing season ( or maybe I should  say to extend our working season). We hope to offer produce as long into the fall and possible winter as we can.

I don’t want to think of the cold yet though, the heat just arrived! So the farmer is planning for fall and I’m headed back out into the summer sun!

 

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.

Garlic Harvest, Part 2

Three weeks after our first garlic harvest, it is absolute crunch time to get the remaining quarter or so acres of garlic out of the ground. This time there were not near as many caring, hardworking souls willing to volunteer their time to work their behinds off to help us harvest garlic. I can’t say as I blame them either, if I had a choice or someone to go do something with I would have willing to do anything too as long as it didn’t involve garlic.

Any guesses how we got the garlic out of the ground; the easy way (mechanically) or the hard way (by hand)? The other half refused to try using the tractor and renovator or cultivator to get it out of the ground. So, of course, that left us with the hard way, the way we do most things and learn on this farm . . . .  hand pulling all that garlic one plant at a time. Part of the ground was so hard and crusty the garlic would break off or just stay stuck in the cement like ground. We got out the hose and started running water on the garlic in front of us as we hand pulled it. That made it a bit of a mess to trudge up the rows and irritated the arms a bit to have the wet weeds rubbing against our arms and legs.

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After garlic harvest, part 1, the other half went out with the hedge trimmers cutting off all the garlic scapes. Trying at the last minute trying get a little bit bigger heads. It has been three weeks since our first harvest so the garlic is dried down completely, with sharp jagged tops, now that they have been cut, that snag and scratch the crap out of my arms. I know I could avoid that if I would wear long sleeves, but when it is 100 degrees outside there is no way I will wear anything more than a tank top and shorts. Since I had shorts on the weeds and garlic also scratched and injured my legs. Even with wearing gloves I still ended up with four blisters on my fingers. On the plus side, I discovered that my homemade coffee soap works very good at scrubbing the rough skin off and deodorizing. It gets rid of the garlic smell with one shower.

After two full, long days of hand pulling garlic in 100 degree weather, I have blistered hurting fingers, a tired back, scratched up arms and legs and a body that is just plain exhausted and sore.I am so sick of garlic and all the work and heartache that garlic has cost our family.  I will not plant another clove of garlic to sell unless the price significantly increases. If the other half decides to plant more garlic, he is on his own. I’m done planting, growing, and harvesting garlic to sell. There is just too much labor involved and there is no way to make money growing garlic without doing it mechanically. Whoever else in world does grow garlic doing the work by hand, my hat is off to you. I’ll leave garlic production to farmers with more money to hire the work done or have a way to do part of it with tractor and machinery.

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And now it’s time to handle everyone of those individual heads of garlic again . . . . .   to cut the head head off and bag the garlic.

Needless to say next time I need to buy garlic, I will be more than willing pay an absorbent price for it. I now know the work, sweat, and unpleasantness that goes into planting, growing, harvesting, cutting, and bagging of garlic. It is worth way more than what is sold for, that’s for sure. All organic produce that is grown and harvested by hand is worth more than what is charged for it. Maybe I’ll go into that next week.

Garlic Harvest

Garlic harvest is underway! And as with most things on this farm, we learn from experience. Our whole garlic growing season has been a learning by doing experience and now the harvest is too.

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We have learned that you definitely want to get all those scapes cut off (it will produce bigger garlic heads) or at least the major of them. It is nice to leave a few in the field to watch and monitor the curling and uncurling. After the scapes curls twice, it then uncurls and points straight up again. Some say that is when you want to harvest and in our area that usually happens around the 4th of July. Others say wait until the bottom two leaves dry out. So we enjoyed watching all our scapes curl and uncurl and then we couldn’t get a crew together to help get the garlic out of the ground until the bottom two or three leaves were dry.

We started harvesting by pulling it out of the ground by hand. Then decided that was going too slow and there had to be a better way. So out comes the tractor and hay crowner. That worked good for the first couple of rows where the ground was still moist, as long as we went slow and kept it deep. But then the ground was too hard and dry in spots and we couldn’t get the crowner deep enough. We were cutting lots of garlic and cutting into the other half’s patience and temper. So back to hand pulling the garlic we went! It actually went pretty quick with the help of lots of hands of friends and family! We are so appreciative to have so many loving, helpful, kind-hearted, hard working people around us!

garlic harvest

We are only about half way done with the harvest. I’m positive getting rest of garlic out of the ground will be another fun learning experience. There is already talk of using a cultivator or renovator, which will still result in hand picking it off the ground, bundling and hauling it to the shed to dry . . . . . . . if one of those methods of getting it out of the ground works. We are learning that growing garlic requires lots of time, labor and a strong back. Every step of the process of growing garlic requires handling it by hand or hoeing it by hand.

Once the garlic dries, we cut the head off and bag it. Then it’s ready to go. And hopefully, we will forget how much work, frustration, and back pain is involved in growing garlic for rest of the summer so we will be willing to plant more of it again this fall and start the whole garlic growing cycle over again.

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