Farm tour weekend, wow, always enjoyable and always long days. We had our usual modest sized crowds which makes it much easier for us to visit with everyone and answer their specific questions. Some of the farms, especially those with animals, have told me that they had more than 1000 visitors! There is no way we could deal with numbers like that and enjoy it as much as we do. It was great to see everybody especially our customers from market, we also get quite a few people who are farming or are seriously looking into it and they ask really good questions about why we do things in certain ways. One of the highlights was the three van loads of farmers and extension agents who drove all the way up form Louisiana for the tour!
With the hubbub of the farm tour behind us we now turn to the next big projects on the list. Yesterday we covered the four bays of the Big Tops, over the flowers, moving quickly before the winds came up. We can now begin the last cultivation and weeding in those crops before we have to start trellising them in the next few weeks. There are only a few big “hurdles” we must clear each year so we can move on with certain crops and this is one of them. They punctuate the season which is dominated by little steps each day on the way to the end of the year. Sliding the tunnels, preparing for planting tomatoes, covering the Big Tops, preparing for planting peppers; those are the ones that always loom large in my mind, three down, one to go. The big planting of tomatoes went in Monday and they are very happy with this warm weather. “Only” seventeen varieties in this planting including some new large sauce types from Italy and a cherry from Italy which is one of the Slow Food Presidia, special crops or foods that have been designated as such to help save them. Here is a link to more information about Slow Food’s efforts to save endangered foods. Pea trellis went up yesterday, the sugar snap peas have grown out of the freeze damage of a few weeks ago and are wanting to climb. More flowers and vegetables have been planted and now we settle in on the chores of cultivating, trellising and keeping them watered.
Well many of you have been asking about the turkeys and if we will be raising them this year. We normally would have the little poults here by now but have been waiting to receive word about the status of the new processing plant. I finally talked with them on Tuesday and while they are making good progress on building it they could not assure me that it would be ready for Thanksgiving. So the decision has been made for us. No turkeys this year. After two years of the stress of not knowing if there would be a place to have them processed we feel it is best to wait until we know for sure there will be a facility. This is one of the big differences with turkeys as the heritage types, like the Bourbon Reds that we raise, take a full six months to grow so we need to be assured of the outcome far in advance. With chickens they only take a little over two months to raise and are easier to get the chicks for, so those farmers producing them can still wait and have several flocks this year when the plant is ready to go. Sadly no excellent turkey for Thanksgiving or stories of Mr. Tasty as the season unfolds.