A day late for a number of reasons. Anticipating this current impending storm we worked a full day yesterday getting things picked and soil turned over. Friday was to be the last pepper harvest of the season but we moved it up to yesterday to get it all done while it was dry. Just as we thought, there were still so many fruits left on the plants that is took all day to clean them off. So many peppers in fact that we will be coming to Saturday market one more week than usual. For nearly ten years now we have finished up our selling season the last Saturday of September as the peppers have waned along with everything else (including us!). So this year we have a bonus week.
As I have mentioned before, one of the reasons we close down earlier than many other area farms it because we feel it is vitally important to help us properly get the farm put to bed for the winter. Because our soil maintenance and fertility is based on growing lush cover crops we need to have the time and the fields empty so we can get the soil ready to plant them. The optimum time to seed these winter soil improving crops is September and October. If we had crops in the ground until November, or later, we would be able to maybe get some winter rye to come up but that would be about it.
So for weeks now we have been clearing the fields of trellises, irrigation and mowing down crops as they have finished up. All that remains is the pepper field and a few rows of flowers, at least until next week. Finally, yesterday, I spent the day on the tractor making the first pass over two acres of now empty fields cutting in the residues of the summers growth. This first disking, followed by the rain over the next few days will allow the residues to begin to breakdown. In a week or so I will follow with more soil preparation until in the entire farm is in raised beds and seeded to various combinations of winter grains and legumes. We only have three weeks until we leave for the Slow Food event in Italy and there is still much to do.
Speaking of Terra Madre in Italy, not only are we going but two of our favorite fellow farms are also going. Joann and Brian Gallagher of Castlemaine Farm (336-376-1025) and Ristin Cooks and Patrick Walsh of Castle Rock Gardens (919-636-0832) are also going with us. The deal with Slow Food is if you get yourself there they pay for everything else, housing, food etc. That leaves a large plane ticket bill for these still new and small farms to cover. To that end they are having a fundraising Chicken dinner at Castle Rock Gardens in Chatham county on Oct. 12th. Chicken from their farms along with vegetables too for only $25. Check with them at market for further details and tickets or call them at the above phone numbers. Let’s help get them to Italy!