We are in week #2 for strawberry picking. While the weather has been cool and nice and picking has been great. Maybe a little too great as we do not have any red berries to pick this morning. We are sorry to say we need to shut down one day of strawberry picking to allow the patch to ripen up. Temperatures are warm, with gentle rains. We hope by just closing down this Thursday morning that Friday will bring some more red berries. We will reopen the patch Friday morning and hope that Mother Nature will provide us once again with red, sweet and juicy berries. See you in the patch. Diane
After a good stretch of fine spring weather it looks like we are headed for some cloudy and showery stuff. I planted corn on Thursday in the dust so a bit of rain is a good thing,,,,, but 5 days? We have brought in 24 bee hives to work the apple and peach blossoms. Without the transfer of pollen from one blossom to another no fruit will form, and honey bees are notoriously wimpy about working in anything other than sunny warm weather. The blossom period will only last about a week so hopefully we will get a few rays of sunshine here and there. This week looks to be really busy, we have strawberry plants to plant, raspberries, beans, and more corn, Diane is filling the greenhouse with all sorts of transplants that will go into the field in another week or so. But the real action this week will be on Wed. and Thurs., when we host School to Farm days for 4th graders in Concord and surrounding towns. There will be hundreds of kiddos, they get to visit with Diane in the orchard, a beekeeper, dairy farmer, maple sugar producers, some horses and probably something that I forgot. I hope they all wear their rubber boots given the forecast. On Fri we will hosting a busload of NH legislators for lunch and tour of the farm looking at some of the USDA research plots we have in the orchard. Oh and we be making the rounds trying to convince the bees that it is time to get to work. Chuck
What a difference a year makes, by this time last year we all done with bloom, the bees were gone back home and we were nervous about frost. Yesterday a few early blossoms opened on some peaches and the apples are at early tight cluster stage, this is a more normal spring. Frost is always a concern in May and the old farmers always watched for the full moon in May as the last chance for damaging cold temps. This year the full moon is on the 17th. But work goes on here on the farm, 1/2 acre of peas in the ground, and I will start preparing land for planting in earnest this week. All of the compost that we made last year will be spread, fertilizers applied to fields as recommended by the soil tests we took last fall and then on the fields that were seeded to a rye cover crop in early August last year the mold board plow will till in the 1 foot tall rye, followed by the harrow. Later cover crop seedings, ( as we harvested crops) are not quite as tall and I can save some fuel and just run the harrow over them to prepare the soil. USDA entomology researchers will be here on Fri. to set up this years insect research plots. More on that later. Chuck
Spring is moving along quite fast now, we are finishing up on the apple tree pruning and should be done next week. Then onto the Blueberries. If soil temps continue to rise I will plant some peas by the 22nd. Brush chopping will be an ongoing project, the raspberries need to be cleaned up, irrigation set up on strawberries after the mulch is removed…… Whew! For us spring is like stepping on a rollercoaster, right now we are moving out of the station and there is long climb ahead of us. The good news is that the Tom turkeys have somehow equitably divided up all of the hens and disappeared off into the hinterland to do what comes naturally, and nearly every evening we hear male woodcocks trying to impress the ladies. Chuck
Well after an April Fools day snow, here it is the 4th of April and it is snowing again. I know that many people are not happy about this but we are happy for it. If you may remember last year at this time we were looking at green grass the apple buds were showing green tissue and we had the earliest bloom on record, all to be ruined by a frost on the 10th of May. So a cool April for us is good thing. We are looking forward to a more normal spring. We have been pruning nearly every day. I did some quick math the other day and weighed the brush we pruned off one McIntosh tree, 38lbs. Multiply that times the 120 trees per acre in that block and that is nearly 2.25 tons of organic matter that we return to the soil, each year. Add to that the three to four times that we mow the orchard each year and it adds to up to a lot of organic matter. I read a lot about carbon sequestering, and the new buzzword in farming, permaculture, and I just believe that farmers are the first environmentalists. We have been quietly recycling, planting trees, sequestering carbon, building soil organic matter, keeping open space productive and producing food, forever. Speaking of buzz words I have a report from one of our beekeepers that his bees look good this spring appearing to have made it through the winter. Our other beekeeper is looking at some losses due to mites in the bees. Lets hope for more good weather we have a lot to do this spring.
Wow it has been a whirl wind few weeks. We have finished picking strawberries, now the process of renovation begins for next years crop. In the old matted row beds we begin with an application of a broad leaf herbicide to (hopefully) control the weeds that plague matted row production. Next will be a mowing of the plants, then rototilling the row middles, then water, water, water. In our Plasticulture strawberries we use a weed wacker to remove excess vegetation, cut of by hand the excess runners and then water generously with the drip irrigation. In case you haven’t noticed in the Concord area we are in a drought situation, this has meant that we have been running irrigation almost continuously for three weeks now. I am getting tired of moving pipe. We have been able to keep enough water on our fantastic blueberry crop. This hot weather is I feel going to make our raspberry crop a “flash in the pan” as one oldtimer said to me. At this date 7/18 we are still picking raspberries for another week. We are open for picking Mon. thru Sat. mornings only 8 to noon. We have pre picked berries in front of the farm stand all day every day. The big questions are, when is sweet corn available, peaches? and when is the farm stand opening? First, next weekend on the sweet corn, I hope. We have now some of the earliest peaches available, we might have a brief lull in between this variety PF1 and the next but we have a great peach crop coming. The farm stand, we are thinking about early to mid Aug. Come on up and check our new pond construction set to begin on Mon. Gotta go move some irrigation pipe, Chuck
Our retail farm store is now closed for the 2009 season.
While I wish we had a foot of snow on the ground the warm weather will allow us to finish our late fall projects before winter settles in. Our retail store is now closed.
If you want to purchase jams or pancakes mixes there are serveral locations in NH where you can find them.
In Concord, Caring Gifts and Osborne’s Agway on route 106. Hooksett – Osborne’s Agway. In Northwood, Jenness Farm, In Londonderry – Mack’s Apples and up in the north country Sugar Hill – Harman’s Cheese, North Woodstock – Fadden’s General Store and North Conway – Zeb’s General Store. We can ship out just email us with your request. Pray for snow and Thank you to everyone who helped us have a successful 2009 season.
Happy Winter All! Diane and Chuck
It’s time to order your Thanksgiving Pies. We do more for Thanksgiving than just apple pie. We also take special orders for Blueberry, Blueberry Crumb, Cherry, Cherry Crumb, Maple Custard, Pecan, Pumpkin, Squash,Strawberry Rhubarb, and Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb. And Don’t forget our special Squash Rolls made from an old shaker recipe. Our farm stand will be closing for the winter season on Thanksgiving. We want to thank everyone for a great year and look forward to everyones return in 2010 for strawberry season. Pray for snow!
With all the apples harvest, I think this is the first year where we actually have a great crop on all the varieties.
We have 35 different varieties available in the store this week. From the common to the uncommon. And with this cooler weather it’s a great time to fire up the sauce kettles and the ovens for baking.
Other gage the change of the seasons by the weather temperatures and the changing of the leaves. Here at the farm it’s by the crops. Apple harvest is complete and this Saturday, Oct 31st. is our last farmers market for the 2009 season. It’s always sad to end another year, however we hope to have some fun at the last market. Concord Farmers Market has been every Sat. morning 8:30 – Noon right next to the State House on Capitol St. Oct, 31sr the vendors who are the last standing will have some fun, come in costume and have trick and treats for the kids. While Concord Main St. will have a stroll the night before it’s always less scary when the sun is up. Come and celebrate the last market for the 2009 season with us in downtown Concord. And for any of you who are still saving your 2009 WIC Farmer Market coupons, now will be the time to use them. See ya at the market. Diane