Saturday, August 5, 2017

August Newsletter

We like to say that the month of August is a month of transition on our farm.  Actually, we used to like to say that, until we realized that EVERY month on the farm is a month of transition.  So, never mind.
Instead, we'll just point out that the garlic harvest is done and the garlic is now hanging in the truck barn curing.  It's a good thing.

August Calendar of Events

  • August 1: Delivery 12 Waverly (Trad, WE, AltEven)
    August 3: Delivery 12 Cedar Falls (Trad, WE, AltEven)
  • August 6: Tom Sawyer Day 3pm-6pm at the farm - help us make our perennial flower beds prettier!
    August 7: Waverly Garden Club at GFF 7pm
    August 8: Delivery 13 Waverly (Trad, WE, AltOdd)
    August 10: Broiler Flock 3 Arrival
    August 10: Delivery 13 Cedar Falls (Trad, WE, AltOdd)
    August 13: Iowa Organic Association Summer Celebration at Scattergood Friends School in West Branch
    August 15: Delivery 14 Waverly (Trad, WE, AltEven)
    August 17: Delivery 14 Cedar Falls (Trad, WE, AltEven)
    August 20: Gang of Four+ at Genuine Faux Farm 
    August 22: Delivery 15 Waverly (Trad, WE, AltOdd, Trav)
    August 24: Delivery 15 Cedar Falls (Trad, WE, AltOdd, Trav)
    August 24: Broiler Flock 2 to "the Park"
    August 26: Tom Sawyer Work Day 1-4pm
    August 26: Summer Festival at Genuine Faux Farm

    August 29: Delivery 16 Waverly (Trad, WE, AltEven, Trav)
    August 31: Delivery 16 Cedar Falls (Trad, WE, AltEven, Trav)
Summer Festival is In Sight:
We are less than a month away from our 2017 Summer Festival.  Mark your calendars and plan to come out to the farm on August 26 (Saturday).  The annual photo scavenger hunt will once again make an appearance (of course) but we are adding rock painting and a painted rock hunt to the itinerary for the kids.  And, yes, the kids at heart could probably participate as well.  We will be roasting a GFF turkey for sandwiches and will combine that with a potluck. 
Our Summer Festivals has been very well-received over the past few years and we hope to see you at this year's festival.

If you have ideas of things you would like to have happen at this year's Summer Festival or if you are willing to help with something, please contact us.  We have tried to do heirloom tomato tasting some years, just as we did in 2014.  Last year's event invitation looked something like this.

Pesticide Spray Season
The last couple of weeks have sounded like and felt a bit like a war zone at the farm.  The spray planes and helicopters were out in force.  We would like to remind all of you that if you witness any sort of misapplication of agricultural chemicals, you should report it.  Take careful note of the time and location and then report the situation.  If drift or misapplication is NOT reported, then nothing will change. 
Pesticide Bureau
If you are on a bike trail and witness an application that is impacting the bike trail, that is not right and should be reported.  If you are driving down the road and droplets hit your vehicle after a plane flies over, it should be reported.  While fines and enforcement in Iowa is week and the Pesticide Bureau's funding has not been well supported, neither will be changed unless the problem is made clear.  This is NOT just a problem for a sustainable vegetable farm near Tripoli, Iowa - this is OUR problem.  Let's fix it.

Song of the Month
At the point in the growing season where we need an extra kick to keep going.  In 2015, I wrote a post titled "Endurance Tests" that split our season into stages of how we, as farmers, were often feeling.  It's still pretty much correct.  So, a song like "What Are You Made Of" by the Call is a good one to encourage us to keep on forging through the year.

Recipe of the Month
It looks like a good crop of broccoli coming in and the basil is looking good.  Therefore, we bring this one up that is featured on our website for broccoli:

Pasta with Broccoli and Pesto
Make 1 cup batch of pesto by pureeing the following:
  • 1.5 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbs pine nuts
Then add to this pesto:
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2tbs olive oil
  • Blend and then remove to a small bowl.
  • Stir in 1/4 cup mixture grated Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Set this mixture aside
Core and cut into bite-sized wedges 1 large red ripe tomato
Cut 1 bunch broccoli into small flowerettes and trim broccoli stem into bite sized pieces. Steam until crisp and tender (3-5 minutes)
In a saucepan heat:
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • add the following to olive oil:
  • 1 clove of finely chopped garlic
  • the prepared broccoli
  • 1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring gently to warm through. Hold.
Cook 1 pound rigatoni in boiling salted water. Drain, reserving some water to thin pesto.
To serve: Put cooked pasta in a bowl. Add 1-2 tbs hot pasta water to pesto and stir until thinned - then pour over pasta. Salt to taste. Add broccoli, tomato and toss to blend. Serve immediately.
from This Organic Life by J.D. Gussow

Field Report
The month of July had some serious heat, but it was the rain at the farm that stole the headlines.  While most of the rest of the state is now in drought conditions, we had 8.75 inches of rain for the month.  Needless to say, that caused some issues for us.  
We are disappointed in some of our crops right now.  The field peppers are acting like they were hit with an herbicide at some point this season, so we're fighting to get them going.  The green beans and carrots in Eden (the older high tunnel) did not like being flooded.  As a result, the green beans are dead and we've pulled them out.  We've also pulled the carrots and found that we lost over half of them to rot issues.  Both were looking great prior to the heavy rains we got.  But, every year is like this in some way.  We look at them and wonder if we'll get much of anything.  Meanwhile, other crops sneak in some wonderful results.

The broccoli is looking fabulous right now, despite the picture above showing a very wet field.  On the plus side, the field is very clean and the plants look very good.  On the negative side, the weather caused succession I and succession II to bunch up their maturity dates and we may end up with a VERY LARGE amount of broccoli all in a three week period.  Yikes!

We got the winter squash field all weeded and we added more flowers to the mix to encourage our pollinator friends.  We feel like the Waltham Butternuts will be fine and it is likely the Long Island Cheese and the Musquee de Provence pumpkins will do reasonably well.  Maybe not record crops, but I think we'll have a respectable showing.  The earlier winter squash varieties (spaghetti, delicata and acorn varieties) are looking even stronger, though I am not happy with pest pressure in the spaghetti squash.  Some more flowers that went in with the final succession of the zucchini and summer squash might help a bit with that one.

The garlic harvest probably rated as an "average" harvest for us.  We've had a couple years in a row of "excellent" harvests, so we can't help but be a little bit disappointed.  But, then we've got to realize that every time we do a good job with something on our farm, we raise the bar a bit more for the next season.  That's probably not a realistic approach for every crop we grow, but it is in our nature to keep trying to improve.

The Golden Beets in Eden were VERY tasty this year and we're hoping the Chioggia's in Valhalla do every bit as well.  We need to get our fall beet planting in the field soon since Rob really wants one more run at the Golden's.  The kale has enjoyed the rain and rewarded us with some very large leaves in July.  We expect them to get a bit smaller in August until the Fall succession takes off.

Picture of the Month
Love coneflowers on the farm!

Farm News Shorts
  • The Genuine Faux Farm is once again involved in research projects sponsored by Practical Farmers of Iowa.  This year, we are trialing a few lettuce varieties to see if they can handle the warm weather temperatures.  We are also trialing an annual pollinator mix of plants to attract our working pollinator friends.
  • We have very much enjoyed meeting some of the wonderful people who have been picking up for our vacationing/traveling CSA members.  We would like these folks to know they are welcome to join us for the Summer Festival AND we'd love to have them consider joining us in the future.  If you are aware of some of these folks, please pass on both invitation.  We are still willing to add members as the season progresses.
  • Rob and Tammy did take a short break to visit family in Minnesota.  As part of the trip, Rob took his 96 page exhibit of postal history from the 1860's to the Minnesota Stamp Expo where it won all sorts of awards including the "Reserve Grand" prize, which is essentially "second place" for all exhibits that were shown there.  We're pretty pleased about this since this project has been ongoing for many years.

Time to Have Pun
Once upon a time there was a flock of angels with long flowing beautiful hair. But lo and behold, due to improper eating habits and advanced age, all their hair fell out. They soon saw the light and purchased gorgeous, extravagant wigs, which were even more golden and more flowing than their original hair.

One day, there came unto the angels very bad tidings. They lost their financial security and were reduced to a penniless state. In utmost misery, they fell to their knees and prayed for a solution. Suddenly, the clouds parted and a thunderous voice gave forth the following advice, "Hock the Hair Old Angels."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your input! We appreciate hearing what you have to say.