What's happening down on the farm
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We won’t be at the market for the next 3 weekends. Instead, we’ll be on vacation, checking out farmer’s markets in other places. It will be strange, trusting someone else to let the chickens out every morning and lock them up at night, feed the dog, and take care of the garden, but hopefully we’ll come back recharged and ready for the rest of the market season. Some of our produce will mature while we’re away – the cauliflower is already setting nice heads and will probably be done by the time we get back. We have a few cayenne peppers about 6 inches long already. We also have some beautiful beefsteak-type tomatoes that are already the size of tennis balls, and roma-type tomatoes the size of eggs. These should be ripe in time for us to sell at our next market on June 25. Wherever your travels take you this summer, or even if you stay close to home, I hope you take time to smell the roses… or tomatoes… or melons, and enjoy wherever you happen to be.
Cheryl Alvarado, JustPicked Farms
Posted by Cheryl
@ 08:04 AM CDT
The regular season of the Emporia Farmer’s Market starts this Saturday, and we plan to be there with fresh, locally grown goodies. The Market is in the lot at 7th & Merchant, and selling starts at 8 am. We will have our free-range eggs (check it out, our eggs will be in the breakfast burritos for sale at the Kiosk!), a green and red “All Star” lettuce mix, broccoli, green onions and a smaller, easier-to-manage cabbage called Caraflex. This cabbage has tender cone-shaped heads, and is just the right size for someone who doesn’t feel the need to make a gallon of sauerkraut! Try it finely shredded in a salad for extra crunch, or instead of lettuce in fish tacos.
Happenings On the Farm
The strong winds we’ve had lately have given our high tunnel (just in production this spring!) sort of a beating. We had to make some repairs to the doors after the wind caught them and blew them open and shut a few times. Not to worry though, the veggies in the tunnel are coming along just fine.
Our 28 hens are giving us plenty of eggs, and we’ve got another 30 chicks growing quickly. They’ll start laying small eggs around September. The small eggs (called pullet eggs) are the tastiest!
We’re gearing up our perennial patch for more selection in years to come. We’ve planted 60 asparagus crowns, some green and some purple. If things go well, we can start selling asparagus next year. We’ve also planted some rhubarb, bunching onions, and will soon be planting raspberries.
Other things we hope to be able to sell this year – tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bok choi, spinach, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, eggplant, watermelon, cantaloupe, green beans, zucchini, butternut squash, blackberries, strawberries, and pie pumpkins.
I hope to see you at the market this weekend! Be sure to stop by and say hi!
Posted by Cheryl
@ 11:49 PM CDT
We had our first ever booth at the Emporia Farmer’s Market this Saturday. The weather was warm and beautiful. The market opened at 8:00, and I had a customer waiting at my booth for the opening bell in order to buy radishes. Our offerings at this first market included strawberries, Romaine lettuce, All-star red and green leaf lettuce mix, radishes, an assortment of herbs and mints, and of course, eggs.
A lot of planning and preparation went into this market – getting a table, tablecloth, baskets, and basket liners ready, getting our canopy and learning how to set it up and take it down, not to mention growing, picking, washing, and bagging all the veggies. My goal for our first market day was to at least earn back the $25 annual market promotion fee that each market vendor has to pay. We more than made that fee back, and had sold out of what we brought by 9:30.
We expect to have about the same items for sale next week, with the possible addition of iceberg lettuce and oregano. The peas are blooming profusely, so we’re looking forward to having peas at the market in a few weeks. Our broccoli and cauliflower have heads about the size of quarters, so we’re looking forward to being able to offer those at a future market. Our cantaloupes, Crenshaw melons and watermelons are sprouting and full of promise. We hope our garden continues to produce well, so we can expand our offerings, and eventually open our Saturday afternoon farm stand location on South Avenue.
We learned a lot at this market. We learned we need to plant more, so we can bring more, so we don’t sell out by 9:30! We learned that our price signs need to be taller, made out of something stiffer so they don’t curl, and written in something besides water soluble ink. We learned that we need to have some sort of display for our eggs, because people don’t realize we have them under the table in a cooler.
If you stopped by our booth this weekend, Thank you! We hope to see you again next week. If you didn’t stop by our booth, be sure to check out our offerings next week.
Posted by Cheryl
@ 06:57 PM CDT
I went out into the garden this afternoon to try to get some things done on the only non-rainy day we’ve had in a while. I was fairly productive, and got corn, beans, and zucchini planted, and got the mulch fabric laid down for the melons. The ground was really too wet to be planting, but I feel like I’m so far behind I needed to do it anyway. As we were laying the mulch fabric, one end of the garden was so wet it felt like we were stomping grapes rather than walking on dirt. Our footprints filled with water as we walked. As I was planting the corn, so much mud was sticking to my shoes that they must have weighed 5 pounds each. I finally took them off and went barefoot instead. The mud didn’t stick quite as much to my feet as it did to my shoes, and besides, it was nice to feel the cool, squishy mud between my toes.
We picked our first strawberries of the season this week. There was just enough to top a bowl of cereal, but they are so much sweeter and juicier than the grocery store strawberries. We’ve been eating lettuce out of our garden for a couple of weeks now. We have a nice leaf lettuce mix that includes both red and green lettuce and looks really nice in the bowl. The cool rainy weather has been good for the lettuces. We should have enough to sell at the farmer’s market in another couple of weeks.
The chicks have outgrown the brooder house, so we’ve moved the broilers and turkeys into one of the hoop houses. They are enjoying having fresh grass and bugs to eat, as well as having extra room to move around. The little barred rock pullets are still in the brooder house, but we’re starting to let them out to range in the evenings. The first evening we let them out, they didn’t know how to get back in, so we were chasing them down with a net to put them back. Soon they will be able to find their way “home” by themselves. The ducks are fully feathered now and love to swim and play in the pond we’re building next to the garden. They have their big duck quacks now instead of the little duckling peeps.
Here’s to big duck quacks, sweet juicy strawberries, and squishy cool mud between your toes! Life just can’t get much better.
Posted by Cheryl
@ 11:16 PM CDT
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