On the stands this week…
Hoping to open Sunday 5/28 for u-pick strawberries for a few hours…this cool, wet weather has really slowed things down!
Asparagus is on hold- it has slowed down to nothing with this cooler weather.
(Croton Road only)
May 11, 2017
Good Morning! Things are hopping now that we are beyond any nights of frost (at least lets hope!). We are busy getting all the annual crops into the ground, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash, melons, etc. Also getting the herb garden in at the Pittstown Road farm. So much to do, so few hours in the day!!!
We had a cold scare last week… the new farm (Pittstown Road) is always cooler than our home farm on cold nights- usually 2-5 degrees cooler for some reason. And on clear, windless nights, ground temperature is always colder yet, because remember from elementary school science class, warm air rises, cold air sinks…
This is important for fruit flower buds. So on nights predicted to be 36-38, it was reaching 32 in the strawberry plants. Strawberries do fine until 30 degrees, when the open flowers take damage. Lower temps can also harm forming fruit, and even lower can hurt even unopened flower buds. With so many open flowers and 34 with patchy frost predicted for last Monday night, we decided to cover the field, just in case. Because we REALLY LOVE our strawberries!
Covering the field means unrolling giant frost blankets, 30 feet across by 250 feet long. They are light weight, like dryer sheets or hospital booties. But at that size they get heavy. And any breeze makes them a big kite, which means they can’t go down until the wind dies, typically sometime in the evening just before the cold sets in. The pic above makes it look like daytime, but it is a camera trick…it was taken just as the sun was setting.
We put a pipe through the tube that they are rolled on, and two people stand at the end of the rows holding the tube (like toiled paper on a roll) while others grab the ends and pull the cover to the opposite end of the field as it unrolls. Others grab the sides and help lighten the load by walking along the sides, tugging. After unrolling, we carry sand bags out to pin down the perimeters. Lots of sandbags. Lots of work. Even more work the day after, when they need to be removed before the strawberries cook underneath, and sandbags, which seem to be slug magnets (we farmers hate the strawberry-eating slugs!) must be pulled out of the field.
Rolling them up is just no fun.
So. The results? Strawberries are safe. I wish I could say we saved the day, but the cloud cover stuck around, and the farm stayed at the predicted 34 degrees, with the ground temperature in the strawberries hitting a low of 32 degrees, too warm for damage. Yay! Lol. Except now for cleaning up the row covers…
Opening date for strawberries is looking like Memorial Day weekend or a few days before…stay tuned. Not to jinx anything, but Sam says this is looking like what may be the very best crop he has seen in his entire life. Being a third generation strawberry farmer, that is saying something.
Hope you are having a wonderful week!
Sam, Laura and kids
Friday, April 28, 2017
Hello Farm Friends!
Welcome to the new website…it is far from complete but winter somehow became spring and now we need it working again, so here it is. Improvements and finishing touches expected at an undisclosed time in the future…(is that vague enough???!) This new and improved version should make it much easier for me to update the list of what is available even when I’m crazy busy in the field, and we’ll be able to add recipes etc more frequently because with the new format the kids can help with updates, they don’t all need to be handled from my old cantankerous computer.
The latest in farm news is just what you’ve seen if you’ve driven by…we are super busy planting and getting ready for the new season. We planted a new peach field in the neighbor’s front field next door to the Croton Road farm, put in new rows of apples so that we don’t run out of Winesap, Snowsweet, Mutsu Crispin, Empire, and Macoun as quickly, planted a bunch of new pears, put in thousands of new strawberry plants to have extras of your favorites, added a new row of raspberries at the Pittstown Road farm and several more at the Croton Road farm, planted more grapes, 3 kinds of peas, fava beans, two kinds of potatoes, six kinds of onions, broccoli, and many, many seedlings.
The strawberries are starting to flower- my guess is we’ll start picking those around May 20-25th, and Memorial Day weekend will likely be our opening weekend for pick your own (no promises! I’ll update as we get closer!!). Asparagus is on the stand now, and we’ll continue to pick as long as we can.
Hope you all are well and able to be outside to enjoy this fabulous weather!
Sam, Laura, and kids
ps. For your viewing pleasure, two of our middle kids planting strawberries on the high tech “Mechanical Transplanter.” Totally beats using a shovel, as we did our first several years farming! (click the img links below, I know there is a way to make them pretty and show the videos, but I don’t know how yet and its gorgeous outside and I have cabbages to plant!)