|Smaller beets peeled and ready for canning|
From the Farmers – August 11
It’s pickling night at Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm! Dilled
Sandwich Stackers, Short Brined Dill Pickles, Bread & Butter Pickles, Pickled Beets, and Dilly Beans! We’re pickling all the beets too small or gopher bitten for shares, the final hurrah of the Green Beans and the Pickling Cukes planted especially for the farm interns and farmers. The smell of vinegar and garlic, and dill and onions permeates the whole house. We’ve set up the propane camp stove on the porch so we can have 4 big kettles cooking and processing all at the same time. This is the first big canning day at the farm, but hopefully there will be more as the tomatoes begin ripening.
We are so thankful for the beautiful weather. It is an absolute joy to work when the weather is perfect – even when the job is not fun – like pulling up cabbages and broccoli and tearing plastic mulch out of the fields. We’ve also been getting some fencing done – as soon as the early sweet corn (look for it in your share) is done, we’ll be moving the sheep into the field to clean up all the small ears and stalks. This is great way to clean up the field, put some weight on the ewes prior to fall breeding, and get a head start on putting up the winter pens for the sheep.
Speaking of sheep, with the fall like weather – these cool nights, we knew it was time to get the rams away from the ewes. Sheep are seasonal breeders (like deer and goats) and it is possible that with the abrupt drop in temperature, some ewes might begin cycling. A couple of years ago, we procrastinated too long to get the rams out and had a group of ewes lambing a full month before we planned. We are not doing that again!!! So today, after lunch, with our whole crew helping, we squeezed up the group, separated the rams, let the ewes back out to pasture, loaded the rams into the stock trailer and moved them up to the pen they will share with Nitro, our buck goat. Whew! That’s done! Now we can relax about that.
This year, we’ve been trying harder to clean up the fields as the crops are harvested and done. This way, all the cleanup does not fall on the interns and farmers who are still here in October. Emily’s last day is next Thursday (if you see her at your drop site, wish her well as she returns to college) and Holly will be leaving the first part of September returning to school at Carleton. Susie is also preparing for what’s next and interviewing out East for a couple chunks of time in August, sooooo .. we are trying to set our smaller fall crew up to enjoy the late summer part of our season instead of being overwhelmed with the cleanup after the crops are done.
Early this week, while Susie and Holly did some hedge trimming in an attempt to open up our weedy (yes they were mulched) onions to the sun, Liz and Emily ripped up the black plastic mulch left behind after the broccoli was pulled up and tossed to the sheep. Both kind of nasty jobs. We also had Sue, our faithful volunteer who comes to help every Wednesday, and Tim a former intern, back to help for a day this week. We so appreciate these volunteers who both help out with the work and make us all more enthusiastic about our work. We do love what we do, but sometimes after days of hot humid weather, dirty, dirty, dirty, and difficult work, we forget. It’s good to be reminded why we do this. And finally, thanks to everyone who attended our SUMMER ABUNDANCE FESTIVAL last Sunday. It was a great time! Please mark the first Sunday in October on your calendar – our END OF THE HARVEST and Final Festival of the Year. Until next week………..
What’s in your share
Gold / Norkotah Russet Yukon
Beets – Merlin / Red Ace
Sweet Corn – Yellow Sugar Buns / Bicolor Ambrosia
Summer Squash – Lita, Sunburst, Cashflow, President, Horn or Plenty
Cucumbers – Diva, Raider, Fanfare
Melons – Sarah’s Choice cantaloupe / Diplomat Honeydew (may not be in all shares)
Peppers Hot – El Jefe Jalapeno, Serrano Del Sol Serrano
Peppers Sweet – yellow Gypsy / ??
Radish – Summer Cross Diakon
Basil – Lime / Purple