Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fall on the Farm

In some ways, this might be the most beautiful time of the year at the farm. September often has consistent weather and this year the weather looks exceptional for the next two weeks. We'll be harvesting corn, cucumbers, squash, beans, basil and maybe finally a good picking of tomatoes next week.

As far as the farm work we are training berry vines. Strawberry fields are being reconditioned and readied for next year's harvest. In a couple of weeks, the pumpkin fields will die down, exposing the orange treasures of October. I recommend walking the pumpkin fields regularly to watch the startling changes that take place.

Over the last few years there has been a startling growth in our u-pick business -- especially berries. But sometimes I feel I need to open up some of our other crops for u-picking: corn, beans, cucumbers and late season strawberries. I am thinking more about opening these crops for u-pick in the future. It's just another chapter in getting people to have a relationship with our farm which I truly value.

Although I find this season to be beautiful, I personally struggle with the transition. It's hard to describe the way I feel. In the beginning the farm is all fresh and new and the anticipation is huge. The fall comes and the energy changes. It becomes a period of acceptance of the fall season. The uneasiness I feel may also be related to pumpkintime which, at times, seems like a carnival. There are parts I love like picking pumpkins and giving school tours. But, I shy away from some of the things other farms do like haunted mazes and pumpkin shooting....

Friday, August 22, 2008

The rain has significantly shifted the farm season. First it stopped irrigation, giving us the chance to catch up on our weeding of the strawberry fields. It frees up labor for that effort. The problem sometimes with rain in the Northwest is that, when you open the window, it sometimes doesn't stop. We are experiencing that a little of that this week. Overall, the rain seems like a benefit and it should make for a wonderful weekend of weather.

Farm harvesting this weekend is as follows:

  • Corn -- The spectacular Bodacious variety will be available through Saturday. If you like a corn that is more traditional (not "injected" with sugar) this is the one. We are also picking a variety called Peaches and Cream.
  • Tomatoes -- The first good pick this weekend.
  • Cucumbers -- We will be picking a great new field.
  • Shell Beans -- Big harvest this weekend.
  • Blue Lake Beans -- A new field will be picked this weekend.
Last night's concert was sparsely attended, but the evening was just beautiful with wonderful sunbreaks and a great sunset.

Farmer Don

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I got a call yesterday from a local weather reporter. He had come out in April after the cold snap to do a story on our strawberries. Back then, I reported that the cold had no impact because the plants had not yet flowered. I'm sure the story he was looking for was one of impending doom.

So when I talked with him yesterday he wanted to know about the impact of the recent hot weather on our harvest. I thought to myself "what hot weather?" Seven out of the last 12 days temperatures were below normal. Except for a couple of spikes of hot weather, it actually seemed cool. I reported to him that the cool weather was actually helping to stretch out our berry season and creating conditions that were almost dream-like for berry farmers. Perhaps that was a story in itself, but certainly not the one he was seeking. He seemed to want disaster. As a last ditch effort to try to salvage a good disaster story, he asked me about the strawberry root weevil problem that had wiped out a neighboring farmer's strawberries and whether or not that had impacted us. Once again, I threw cold water on that one by pointing out that strawberry season was over and that the website where he'd gotten his information was out of date.

So, the bottom line, no disaster, no story....

Monday, July 28, 2008

Welcome to my blog. I'm looking forward to sharing my daily thoughts on life on my farm. So far, it's been an exciting year. Our berry harvest this season was just huge and there are still many wonderful and tasty berries out in the fields. Our caneberries (blackberries, raspberries, boysenberries and marionberries) are winding up, but there are plenty of blueberries available for u-pick.

Just yesterday, my wife planted a few currant plants on the farm. Apparently, they were smuggled out of Finland in the mid 1970's by her father's cousin. Anyway, the family has been propagating the plants for years and we've added them to the end of one of our blueberry patches. If they survive the move, we'll have just a handful of currants next year.

Look back here for updates on the farm life....

Don Kruger