What’s been going on?
Newsletter a day early as we have lots going on the end of the week. I first want to thank Bret Jennings and the Elaine’s on Franklin crew for a great farm dinner last Wednesday. For those that made it you know what I am talking about but the whole pepper inspired menu was right on the money!
Yesterday was turkey moving day, into a new area for a couple of weeks or so. I realized that the picture below is kind of a microcosm of the whole farm and shows many of the fundamental operating concepts we always try to apply. For those of you who have been here on a farm tour, this maybe familiar. What can be seen here is parts of the three, quarter acre, blocks that the Big Tops are set up over. The one the turkeys are in just has the rows of legs that support the hoops. It is in its “rest” year where we grow no cash crops but instead grow three sets of cover crops in a row to improve the soil and run the turkeys over it so they can add their goodness too. This cover crop is the summer sudangrass and cowpeas.
To the left of the turkey shelters is another Big Top block, this one had the flowers this year and if you blow the picture up you can see, through the turkey shelter, the red of the last of the crested celosias for the year. This block with be rested next year and it’s hoops moved over where the turkeys are. The far set of Big Tops was the tomato block this year and you can see two bays still covered with the last of the tomatoes and two bays uncovered for the winter. The flowers will move to here next year and the tomatoes will move to where the turkeys are now. Once uncovered (next week) we will plant winter cover crops in those fields too.
One of our key beliefs is that diversity leads to a balanced system which improves sustainability. So in just this one picture you see diverse cash crops (many varieties of flowers and tomatoes), cover crops (at least seven different kinds over the three year rotation), and breeds (Bourbon Reds and Broad Breasted Bronzes). What you can’t see is also a diversity in soil improvement/management practices like fertility from rock powders, cover crop and cash crop residues, and manure from the turkeys. Or disease and pest control by using the Big Tops to keep plants dry, trellises for better air flow and sunlight, turkeys to eat bugs, crop rotation, drip irrigation and many more techniques.
OK, professors hat off. And it’s a beautiful early fall day on the farm too!
Picture of the Week
Turkeys happy in a new field.
What’s going to be at the market?
Don’t forget about that Thanksgiving Turkey, reserve now while the selection is ample.
Thankfully the last planting of Crested Celosia is still giving us some nice heads as the flower season takes its precipitous plunge to the end. A few nice Zinnias of course. Betsy’s beautiful bouquets. Plenty of fragrant Oriental Lilies in white and pink and the non-fragrant Asiatic Lilies too.
Still a fair supply of peppers this week so make sure you get what you want in the freezer now because next week there will not be a lot to choose from. In hot types there are still plenty of beautiful Anaheims and Poblanos, Jalapeno, Serrano. Cayennes and Habaneros for the incendiary among us. The hotter-than-they-should-be Padrone and a few (not so hot) Shishito, the Spanish and Japanese snacking peppers, just quickly coat them in a pan with some hot olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and eat the whole thing. The Peregrine Picante Pimientos are back with nice red, slightly hot, thick fleshed fruit. In Sweet peppers we have small supply of Purple Bells, lime green Cubanelles and Corno di Toros. Looks like the last good amount of Red Bells, with tiny amounts of Yellow Bells this week too.
Tomato supply is very light. In Reds there is a small supply of Big Beefs. In cherry types there is a pretty good supply of Sungolds. More of the awesome Italian heirloom Eggplant. Basil to go with tomatoes. A few more bunches of Japanese Turnips and Easter Egg Radishes.
Hope to see you all at the market!
Alex and Betsy