Farm Happenings at Where the Redfearn Grows Natural Farm
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Farm Tornato Recovery

Posted on June 11th, 2022 by Dave Redfearn

Well, the big news on the farm if you hadn't heard is the EF2 tornado that went right through our property early Wednesday morning around 1:30 AM.  We found out just what 115 mph winds can do to greenhouses and trees.  There was significant damage to greenhouses, with several completely destroyed, but we were blessed that our house was unscathed and our barn only suffered minor damage.  If you want to read about the tornado you can find out about it here: The house with the missing bedroom in the photo is our next door neighbor whose house is just across the creek from our greenhouses.  

We're glad to be safe, and glad our neighbor wasn't home when his house was wrecked.  Thanks to many of you for helping pitch in to get the surviving greenhouses recovered after their roofs were ripped off and for helping clear trees and clear the wreckage and debris.  We still have a lot to do and even as you read this there will be people here helping today.

If you are just now hearing about this and want to help out, we could use your help.  This evening (Saturday June 11th) starting at 5pm we're doing a big community sweet potato planting.  We've gotten behind a little on farm work because of disaster recovery and we're also running out of juice, so if you can come out this evening to help us get the 10,000 sweet potato plants in the ground and maybe lend a hand clearing brush and trees (because I'm sure there will still be more left then) we could really use the help.  Just make sure to bring water and gloves and trowels if you have them.  

How does this effect the season?

Although the crops took a beating, most of them are doing ok.  The crops in the greenhouses that were destroyed suffered the most damage because they had metal bars and plastic sheeting whipping through them.  So the steel trellising posts are bent and the plants look beat up, but they'll probably survive.  They will not, however continue to enjoy the favorable greenhouse climate but will be just like other outdoor corps once we remove the wreckage from around them.  Last week we mentioned how the farm sort of works like a fright train with plants constantly going in and coming out of the fields and we were looking pretty good for the future.  This setback, besides the financial hit from loosing so much infrastructure also puts us a little behind on our normal day to day work.  So for instance, we're behind on our regularly scheduled weeding, trellising and seeding because we've been focused on the must-do's like repairs and harvesting. This lapse in the regular scheduled work, will have an effect later in the season but won't show up for a while.  We'll be doing extra work for several weeks to try to catch up on the things that keep production up in the future.  Short term, we're ok and as long as we catch back up on the non-glamourous work of cultivating, mowing, weeding and trellising, there should only be a negligible negative impact upon production.  The good news is, I think we over-planted anyway so you should continue to have copious amounts of produce to choose form each week regardless.  

Another heat wave on the way

We may hit 100 degrees this week, which is definitely not our preference.  It means we may be saying goodbye to the sugarsnap peas.  They were just starting to really produce too.  We'll try to pick as many as we can before the heat kills the plans and shrivels up the pods.  It's a bummer but tends to be how things work out in the midwest climate.  Cool spring slows the plant growth and early heat kills them off.  But hey, at least we have a good climate for heat loving crops like peppers and tomatoes and okra.  

Now is the time to stock up on the cool season crops that will soon be falling off the harvest list like the peas, the broccolini, the napa cabbage and to some extent the lettuce.  

The tomatoes and peppers haven't really hit their stride yet, so just keep looking forward to those.  Really nothing likes 100 degrees, except maybe the okra, but we'll make it through this week.


Help Garlic Harvesting

In the midst of getting behind do to the tornado, we have the huge task of harvesting garlic ahead of us.  Some of ya'll have helped us in the past and we'll be needing help with it again soon.  We have thousands of garlic bulbs that we need to lift, trim and hang in the barn to cure.  It's looking like it's time to start on that soon so we may be putting out some requests for some evening help (you know when it's cooled down to 95 or so).  I wish I could time the weather patterns, but clearly I've got no control over those.  The thing is, when garlic is ready, you have to harvest it.  Wait too long and the wrappers deteriorate and it won't keep long at all and you also run the risk of getting moldy garlic (ew).  So, if you can brave the heat with us, we'll be chugging along lifting garlic.

Bread and Cheese

Bread: Farm to Market Eight Grain Sliced 

Cheese: Hemme Brother's Original Curds

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) 

I know CSA isn't a well-known concept in our area and some of you (our members) don't even know what to call what you are a member of.  Well, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and its a way for the local community to come alongside local growers to help make sustainable locally-produced food available.  We're really grateful for all of your support, especially through this rough time, that could have been much worse.  Thanks for all those who have offered prayers and notes of encouragement and lended a hand wherever possible.  We are really exhausted and discouraged by this turn of events, but it really helps knowing you all care and will help us get through it.  This is what CSA means!

So we really do mean it that we're glad and grateful to be your farmers.

Dave and Sheri