Farm Happenings at Where the Redfearn Grows Natural Farm
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Mid May and we've already been through a week of summer!

Posted on May 14th, 2022 by Dave Redfearn

There's no two ways about it.  This past week was a rough one for us.  The crew was worn out from the sudden onset of heat.  It was dirty and sweaty like a dirty sweaty week in August, but it was spring, at least it was supposed to be.  We made it through and we're looking forward to cooler temperatures for a while.

The jury is still out on what the record heat did to the cool season crops.  We can see some heat damage to the peas (OH NO!), some of our onions are starting to bolt (that means we'll be harvesting spring onions for you this week and less storage onions later on), Some plantings of arugula and greens mix went straight to flower without getting harvestable size, and some of the spinach took a pretty bad hit as well.  But the heat loving crops like the ginger, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc are really soaking it up.  We've not experienced this degree of a heat wave in early May before so we really aren't sure what the sudden shock will do to some of the plants.  All I know is the heat took a big toll on all the humans out there doing the work.  All our farmer friends had a pretty rough week and we're glad its over!

What's hot

Broccolini is putting on shoots pretty well however the size is a little smaller due to the cool then super-hot.  So we're anticipating a smaller harvest than normal.  This is a really popular item and I'm pretty sure we won't have enough for everybody, so please don't double on this one to let other people have a chance to snag it if they can.  If it's looking like we'll have extra, we'll add more to the inventory on Monday, so you can check then to double up if you'd like.  Broccolini is sort of hard to predict.  You can see the little shoots starting to come but how fast they grow and just how many there are on the 3,000 or so plants is hard to guess until you start harvesting them.  It's always tricky for us because the "inventory" we show on Harvie for your shares each week, isn't nicely stored in a cooler where we can count it or weigh it.  That "inventory" is out in the field waiting for us to pick it.  So we have to estimate and also sometimes bad weather or pests or disease can destroy a crop we had in our imaginary inventory so that we won't have enough for everyone who's box showed it as available.  We really don't like being short items so we try to be conservative in our estimates but it does happen a few times each year with various items.  If for instance you had broccolini in your online box and we don't end up having enough to harvest, you'd get an email through Harvie saying we may be short on that product and we'll be substituting some other item for it.  Just and FYI on our process.  If you don't get an email like that, and you ARE short an item, then we probably just made a packing error when we made your box, if we do that, and we do it every week unfortunately for a few boxes, then please let us know and we're happy to credit you for the value of the missing item(s).  

We'll have lots of spring onions this week, thanks to the heat wave tricking the onions into thinking it was time to flower. We can blame the heat for part of this but also probably the supply chain issues we keep hearing about.  Due to supply issues we weren't able to get our normal tried and true onion variety for overwintering last year.  We scrambled for a solution and found some from another supplier but they weren't the variety we were used to using.  Overwintering onions is tricky business as many onion varieties will naturally bolt (go to flower) if subjected to winter temperatures, however some won't bolt (those are the ones we want).  But when supply issues throw a wrench in your plans you go with what you can get an hope they are the right kind (information on overwintering varieties is very scarce because this isn't a mainstream growing practice).  Anyway, long story short, some of the onion varieties we tested look like they're doing well, but some are not.  At least we are expanding our knowledge and supply base on varieties we can use and at least we'll have some nice spring onions to use.  If you aren't familiar with them, they're basically overgrown green onions with somewhat of a bulb.  Not for storage (in fact, they are best stored in the fridge), used like a fresh onion; grilling or stir fries or eating raw. You can use the bulb and the greens.

Lettuce, lettuce lettuce.  You know how we said that we were glad we had the greenhouses because the outdoor crops weren't growing?  Well, you can imagine that they're growing now.  We have lettuce coming out our ears!  So please don't be shy about doubling or trippling on salad mix this week.  Production will definitely decrease in the real summer heat, but for now, we're high on lettuce.

Cheese and bread

Cheese: Hemme Brothers Chive Curds

Bread: Farm to Market Sourdough Sliced, Large Loaf


Have a great week!

Dave and Sheri