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Agrarian Harvest

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

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harvest

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!

Heat of the Season

The weather is heating up and so is our growing and market season. We are going to three markets a week (Twin Falls, Ketchum, & Hailey). The foot traffic at the markets is also increasing, which is good. That means less produce waste from market that is fed to the animals, which we like, the less waste the better.  We also have CSA pick-up and delivery three days a week. If you are doing the math, that means three harvest days a week, sometimes four which only leaves us with one day of rest. But most weeks we can’t even call it a day of rest because there is still work to be done: animals fed, irrigation water to change, and lots of projects that need to be done, which usually take priority over resting. That’s the life of a farmer, there are no days off or at least not very many of them.

We are busy . . . and about to be in the middle of the busiest part of our season and the heaviest harvesting; when the majority of our produce varieties are ripe and ready for harvest and market. Which means lots of heavy totes and boxes to be carrying, loading then unloading and lots of phones calls doing wholesale sales and customer relations. In the next couple of weeks, we expect to start harvesting cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, okra, fennel and new potatoes. Then soon after that: green beans. This is the heat of the season for us, when the real work begins. We start our days at dawn, we are going all day, and we don’t stop until dark. We are still tired when we get up in the mornings. We just get up and keep moving.

So if we don’t return a call, text or e-mail promptly, know that we will get back you. We don’t have hours to sit and chat or answer phone calls at all hours like in the off-season, but we do have minutes here and there. You are important to us. You are the reason why we do what we do. It is important to us that you eat wholesome, real food.  You keep us motivated to keep moving when our days are long and we are feeling weary. So do your shopping from your local farms. Just by showing up with your smiling face, you are motivating a farmer to keep up the hard work that he/she is doing.

We may have a lot to do, but we really do love this time of year. The sunshine, the smell of the great outdoors, the produce and all the meals we get from it, the sunsets, sounds of all the animals and insects, and people we get to interact with all week long. We hope you are eating wholesome, real food. If not, come see us, we can change that!

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.

Strawberries, Rhubarb, and Our Farm Boy

All of our kids impress us everyday. They have their own strengths and interests. But this time I’m impressed with our little farm boy. He is involved and loves every chore and task that takes place on the farm. He gets up early on his own, get his breakfast, does his feeding chores and then heads to his garden to check all the plants and weed.All of our kids have their own garden space to tend and grow as they see fit. Our farm boy gets just as excited to harvest as he does to plant. And then once the “fruits of his labor” are harvested he’s ready to make them into something nourishing to eat. He loves to be in the kitchen cooking and creating just as much as he loves the outdoors. It just amazes me how he embraces all aspects of growing, tending, harvesting, and cooking food.

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This week’s harvest and abundance is rhubarb and strawberries. The kids have been going out to the berry patch everyday to pick those juicy, sweet first strawberries of the summer. Usually eating most of the berries before they make it back to the house with the bowl, but this time our farm boy took his own bowl out to save the strawberries he picked for making a yummy, creation in the kitchen. Strawberries, rhubarb and a hungry, creative minded child in the kitchen; any guesses what he wanted to make? He has his father’s love for pies so, of course, his choice was a pie (I’m sure the picture gave it away too). I mixed up the crust and he did the rest himself; rolling out the crust, the chopping, mixing and all the finishing touches. A strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert. I can’t wait to eat this creation!

Our next harvest and abundance is going to be garlic scapes. And it is my turn to create something wonderful in the kitchen with garlic scapes. I want to come up with something more creative than presto, although I do love pesto. Any suggestions?

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