Saturday, July 23, 2011

Midsummer update...whew!

If there is one thing I have learned this summer it is that time flies when you are farming. We had said we would be doing weekly blog updates but so far things are happening so quickly that putting it all into writing seems impossible. I will try. Here goes!

The main field has absolutely exploded with plant life. Our first summer squashes are appearing and all of our lettuces are either big and juicy or have bolted (made a crazy-looking upward spiralling mass in the heat, kind of a stress response "ah I'm boiling alive must make seeds!"). The peas came for two sweet weeks and are now yellowing, with the beans in full flower ready to be picked in the next week. I'm a little nervous about the upcoming cucumber explosion, there are thousands of beautiful yellow flowers that will soon be producing fruits as fast as we can pick them. We were a little late pruning and trellising the tomatoes, so those had to be cut to 1/3 their original size and strung up, a job that took a couple of us pretty much all week. But now instead of lying pathetically on the ground they are swaying in the July breeze. Everything looks great!

We have started selling at the Ste Anne's Market, which has been wonderful. We get up at 5 am, harvest and clean everything and make it to the market by 8:30 am (ideally, and usually). This experience may sound hellish to any non-morning person but most of us actually like it a lot. I myself am definitely anti-waking-up-early but at 5 it doesn't feel like an early morning, it feels like some other-worldy adventure. Being out in the deserted streets, getting to the field in the first light of the day, is actually quite pleasant. It's also really great talking to the other farmers at the market, commiserating over deer predation of lettuce and, of course, this crazy heat wave. This market helps to link us to the community and we already have people asking us about our produce, like our awesome candycane beets, and everyone seems to be into trading recipes and gardening advice. Definitely one of the perks of this project.

On a more personal note, we are all learning a lot about how to do this kind of work. When you are working with your friends and live close to the field it's hard to separate work time from down time. Maybe backyard barbeques aren't the most socially acceptable place to fret about how to suppress weeds, and maybe if you have already worked seven hours in the heat it isn't wise to keep going even if you physically can.

Farming is this infinite challenge in that there will never be a time when there is nothing left to do. You can be leaving the field and spot a patch of nefarious-looking weeds and spend the next two hours trying to get rid of them. You can always improve, always do something else, but sometimes it's a good idea to just take a break and take care of yourself. We're learning, but it's hard to just say enough is enough when you are passionate about what you are doing.

Okay enough about us, happy July and thanks for reading!

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