Farm Update 08-05-21

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the summer. Work on the farm continues, with an eye toward the approaching fall. For those who were not in the area, there was a good bit of a cold spot that passed through. The temps dropped considerably for a couple of days, and the low temp reached 41F here on the farm, with others in the area telling me they had localized temps down to 37F.

The crops in the field are growing okay, not great. The weather in general has been the biggest hindrance in having more veggies ready than I currently do. For those who already checked it, on the What’s Available page you will see that I was able to harvest a very small amount of Red Grape Tomatoes. And I do mean a small amount. Hopefully it’s a sign that I’ll be able to start harvesting more on a regular basis, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I’ll also be picking some Snap Peas this week.

There is one specific issue that I wanted to address separately from the rest of the crop news. As some of you know, I have been dealing with a massive infestation of Colorado Potato Beetles. These pests are around every year, but usually in small numbers that I can handle with the natural-based insecticides I typically use. This year, they have been are here by the thousands. Normally, they’d show up, I’d spray, and it would be fine. This year the numbers showing up are in the thousands. I’d spray, knock the population down, and then with a couple of days there would be even more of them. I don’t know why, and frankly don’t care anymore. They have devastated about 70% of the Potato crop and started moving about the field. Finally reaching the line in the sand, I invoked the nuclear option, and am currently spraying the Potatoes with two of the less bad synthetic pesticides (rapid breakdown, limited plant interaction and uptake) in alternating cycles (along with the natural fungal-based treatment), and will unfortunately have to continue to do so until this problem is under control. This operation is currently limited to the Potatoes, and should it change, proper notice will be made.

The chickens are all doing well. I will have Fresh Whole Chicken available this week, along with frozen birds.

I got another batch of honey from Mickle Hollow Maple & Honey this week, so all the types will be available at the stand. I also placed an order with them for Creamed Honey (something they make only in limited amounts), and should be able to have it in a few weeks.

Sales of preserves have been brisk, and consequently, people are asking if I am running short. The answer is not yet, and if necessary will be making more in a few weeks to meet the demand for the fall.

I’m pretty sure there was something else I meant to include with this update, but cannot think of what it was, so this will have to do for now. Hope you all have a great week.

Farm Update 07-29-21

I hope everyone is having a good week so far. Here on the farm the work continues at the normal summer pace, with a few added elements that are making for slightly longer days.

Overall, the crops in the ground and in the greenhouses are doing relatively well. The weather certainly leaves something to be desired, but could be far worse. The Zucchini, which have had squash set on the plants for the last two weeks have finally decided it’s time to grow out the squash. And while they are growing, they are not yet large enough to pick (perhaps before the end of the weekend). Cucumbers are doing roughly the same thing. The Snap Peas have finally perked back up and have even set some flowers. Isn’t it amazing what even a couple of days of stable, clear weather can do.

On the down side, and as a result of the rains and hot/cold cycles, the Lettuce that was almost ready has virtually all bolted to flower. Sadly, there will be none of my Lettuce available for probably 2 weeks. I’m also keeping a close eye on the Broccoli and Cauliflower plants to see what they’re going to do.

Out of nowhere, a major infestation of Potato Beetles arrived on Sunday evening. And I say arrived because I found them flying and walking in from northwest of the farm. Anyway, by Monday morning when I looked in the field, they had ravaged about 50% of the Russet Potato plants. While I did spray immediately, none of the pesticide I use is toxic enough to produce instant knockdown, so I wound up resorting to using a flame torch and burned almost all of the fully infested plants. I am still trying to get them under control, as they have also moved on to the Tomato and Eggplant areas. The damage they are causing will have a major impact on certain crops going forward this season.

The chickens are all doing pretty well. The Laying Hens are doing a great job, and the Broilers I have left, along with the newest additions are getting bigger by the minute. I did have a bunch of Broiler Chickens processed this week, and there is a good spread of sizes for fresh ones as well as frozen.

While I know it is still the middle of summer, I would like to remind everyone once again that I am taking orders for Fresh Thanksgiving Turkeys.

The sales of Preserves last week were rather brisk, but fear not as I still have a good supply. There is only one type I think I’ll have to make more of before Labor Day, and I am still working on getting Cherry Preserves done. Hopefully I’ll be able to get to it very soon.

Lastly, for those of you who pay close attention to nature, please let me know what you’re seeing in regard to the telltale trees throughout the area. I’ve noticed some very early changes, and I’m curious to get confirmation from around the mountaintop.

That’s it for the update, and I hope you all have a great week.

Farm Update 07-22-21

So… rain, rain, and yup, a little more rain. That pretty much sums up what it’s been like for those who haven’t been in the area lately, and I’ll give a little more information about what it’s doing below. In general, suffice it to say that more rain like we’ve had would be extremely bad.

As usual, planting continues, work is being done when and where I can, and operations in general are all directed at keeping the farm going. The Laying Chickens are all doing fine and producing great numbers of eggs. The next round of Broiler Chickens are getting bigger, though as I thought, are not quite big enough to start processing this week. I do still have frozen Chicken available in sizes from upper-4 to near 7 pounds.

I wanted to mention again that I am taking pre-orders for Thanksgiving Turkeys. Please get in touch if you would like additional details.

Now, back to the situation with the rain. While I’m sure most people understand that wet, muddy conditions prevent me from getting the tractor in the field for additional planting, it also means I am unable to weed, spray foliar fertilizer and anti-fungals, and most importantly, spray insecticide to control that massive numbers of bugs that wetter conditions allow. All of the rain we’ve been having has now gotten to the point where it is having very serious impacts, pretty much across the board. And this is happening not just here, but on farms throughout the area.

The more specific issue that will concern most people coming to the stand is item availability. There are some crops that will just be in short supply now, and potentially going forward for the rest of the season. Please keep an eye on the What’s Available page to see these changes.

I know there is more that I wanted to include with this update, but this is all I can think of at the moment. My thanks to all those who have been coming by to help support the farm. Hope everyone has a great week.

Farm Update 07-15-21

Hope all of you are doing well today. I’m fairly happy that the sun has at least decided to pop out occasionally from behind the clouds. The rain was getting to be a bit much, and was starting to cause real problems with the lack of time to spray for bugs and fungus.

With the rain holding off the field work that has been delayed is getting done. Loads of additional planting and general work is getting accomplished. Due to the gray days we had, some crops have been growing a little slower than expected. I also couldn’t get them sprayed with the foliar fertilizer I normally use, so that’s added a little to the delays as well. Still, things are moving along in the field.

The chickens are now more or less used to the hotter weather, so production is pretty much full steam ahead. As is usual, most eggs are Large-sized, but there are a decent number of XL and Jumbo. Though in fairness, there seems to be a lot of interest in the Jumbo eggs, so don’t be surprised if you can’t find them.

The next round of Broiler Chickens are getting bigger. All of the Red Royal birds I’d had are now sold. I’m not sure if I’ll get them again, so any feedback from those who bought them would be greatly appreciated. There will be no processing this week, so just frozen birds will be available. The next round of processing will be depend on how quickly the chickens get big, so could be next week, or the week after. The birds I currently have run in size from mid-4s to 7 pounds.

In the field, Sweet Corn does not look to be doing well at all. The same goes for Sunflowers. I’ll definitely be planting more flowers, but I’m not sure there is anywhere near enough time for the Corn. I guess it’ll depend if I have enough time to get more started and want to take the risk. It certainly would be nice to have 3 – 4 days of dry weather when I have time to be in the field.

If you’re looking for Strawberries again this week, then prepare for disappointment. I don’t know what the issue north of the border may be, but the seamless, constant supply of berries promised earlier in the season is anything but. There is now no word on when they will be available again.

While I was able to get Local Blueberries this week, the farm that grows the Raspberries was unable to harvest due to weather conditions. Hopefully I’ll be able to get them again next week.

And now something many have been waiting for – PENNSYLVANIA PEACHES are here. I was able to get a few boxes this week, and more should be available going forward.

That’s it for the update. Hope you all have a great week. Thanks so much for helping support the farm.

Farm Update 07-08-21

I hope everyone had a great July 4th weekend, and got a chance to see at least one of the many fireworks displays. There sure were a lot going off around here that I got a bit of chance to see as I was finishing up my work that day.

Around the farm work continues to progress. Additional fieldwork has been the priority due to what now seems like a never-ending cycle of intermittent thunderstorms. As I’ve said, I don’t really mind working in the rain, but lightning is a different story. The crops in the field are coming along, but it will still be a bit before they’re ready. I will have Lettuce from the greenhouse and will soon be swapping one of them over to growing things like Cucumbers and some Peppers, just in case the weather remains an issue over the remainder of the summer.

This week I’ve got a bunch fresh Whole Chicken available, along with some frozen. The chickens available run in sizes from mid-3s to near 7 pounds. After this week, it will be at least 2 weeks before I have chickens to process for fresh ones, so get them while you can.

The laying hens are doing much better after the long heat wave passed. Production and sizes are all pretty much back to normal, and the ladies are back to their usual mischievous ways.

As those of you who have been to the stand noticed, I am now bringing in a good bit of fruit. This seems to be a popular thing, so I will continue to search out the nicest, and local when I can get it, fruit that I think will be appealing. There are two new types this week – Black Plums, and Bing Cherries. Unfortunately, it looks like when I got them last week it was right in the middle of picking and now Local Cherries are already done. Local orchards may still have them, but they are not available in the market. So if you are determined to have local ones, you’ll need to contact the orchards and U-pick places nearby.

Local Strawberries are also now finished, and as was talked about, shipping issues have delayed the berries from Canada, so there won’t be Strawberries this week. There are Local Raspberries and I also got a fair amount of nice looking Blueberries.

Local Sweet Corn was at the market this week, so I grabbed some. It is still a little early, but quickly coming into peak season, and should be around for a while.

I think that’s about it for the news this week. Hope you all have a great day. Thanks again for supporting the farm.

Farm Update 06-30-21

It certainly has been an interesting couple of weeks we’ve had, not even including all the things that happen here on the farm. I’ll spare all of you the gory details of events that are not directly relevant other than to say they happened, were dealt with, and then I continued on like usual to the next job.

The heat and then storm activity has slowed some of the field work. More crops are being planted each week and most of the crops are doing well. I generally don’t mind doing field work when it’s raining, but working in the field with lightning is another story. I’m going to hold off on giving too many ETAs, but those I’m willing to guesstimate will show up on the What’s Available page under the Available Soon section.

The chickens did not like the heat at all, and made their displeasure known by greatly slowing egg production and also laying smaller sized eggs. I should still have a good amount of eggs for over the weekend. Also, I am due to process a number of Broiler Chickens on Thursday, so hopefully that will come close meeting demand. The chickens will all likely be on the larger side, partly due to last week’s power outage. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.

Good news for Honey lovers. I was finally able to connect with Mickle Hollow Maple & Honey, the apiary operation in Schoharie (interestingly not too far from where I get my chickens), and will now have a supply of Local Honey. I will have not only Spring and Autumn honey, but also Buckwheat Honey, for those seeking a change from the ordinary. There will be one and two pound sizes on hand, but for those who make Mead, or other things, I can also get Honey in 2 gallon pails by advance order.

Those of you who have already looked over the What’s Available list have, I’m sure, noticed that I am bringing in more types of fruit (Local when I can). This week, I was able to not only get nice looking Local Strawberries, but also Local Raspberries and Local Rainier Cherries. Be sure to check out the full listing for the weekend.

Even though this is July 4th weekend, the farm stand will still only be open on the Friday through Sunday schedule. Also, given the forecast, please understand that while I will be open in all but the worst weather, I would ask everyone to please hold off coming to the stand when there are active thunderstorms with lighting passing through. You can always text to check on conditions here.

That’s going to be it for this week’s update. Thanks so much for helping support the farm. Hope you all have a great week, and Happy 4th of July.

Farm Update 06-24-21

Well, the power outage this morning was quite the unwelcome surprise, and happened as I was working on this update. And it’s not that the outage will have stopped all work, but it kept me from processing chickens this week, as the outage continued past the cutoff time I had established for being able to get all the work done. I do still have some chickens frozen, and will be processing twice next week to catch back up.

So, as I was saying, the work continues, with more and more plants finally being put into the field. And despite the date on the calendar, the morning temps are still down around 40F, which is a good bit colder than it should be this time of year.

Looks like I will finally be able to get some greenhouse grown Lettuce picked for this weekend. I had decided, given the strange conditions, to let some grow out in the greenhouses, just in case something like what has happened happened. I’ll also be setting up some tomatoes, cukes, and peppers in the greenhouse just in case anything else weird happens.

The crazy changes in temps have also not been the best thing for the laying hens. While they are still producing eggs at a good pace, the overall number of eggs per day is down, and most of the eggs are now back in the Large size, with fewer XL and Jumbo. This should settle out as the weather steadies into general warming for the summer. For the most part the chickens have been behaving themselves and only get into minor mischief. They are also generally healthy, although I did have to put one down due to an egg laying-related health issue.

Lastly, I’ve made some changes to the layout of the farm stand, and brought in some other new fruit and produce items. The Lettuce, along with bagged Baby Lettuce, Spinach, and Arugula will now be found in coolers along the back wall of the stand. This should go a long way to helping keep the Lettuce in a far nicer condition than just in the trays on the tables. The other new items will be found throughout the stand in the usual display baskets.

That’s it for now. Please check the What’s Available page for the current list of items. Hope you all have a great day and week.

Farm Update 06-17-21

Well, this past one has certainly been an interesting week. Everything from a minor Dog Tick infestation (happening all over the area this year), to the truck breaking down (no worries, I already have contingencies in effect), to the temperature dropping to 36-37F with a few visible patches of frost (6/17 at 5:45am). So… like I said, interesting.

In spite of it all, things keep rolling along here and work continues apace. There will be frozen chicken (Red Royal) available this week, but the Cornish birds are not big enough to process just yet, so no fresh birds this week.

With the temperatures as cold as they were this morning, there will be some lingering effects on certain crops. Things like Tomatoes and Lettuce may take a little longer, though thankfully, because of my schedule, there was no Basil as yet planted in the field (that level of cold would have killed it outright). We’ll just keep an eye on everything and see how it goes.

I was finally able to get connected with a new Honey operation, and should have a selection in stock shortly. I’ll also have Maple Syrup back this week too.

That’s it for this week’s update. I want to thank everyone who came by the farm stand this past week. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Farm Update 06-09-21

Well, that time is upon up once again. The farm stand will be opening for the season on Friday (6/11). For those who may have not yet seen it, the open schedule is the same as last year:

Fri 10 – 6
Sat 10 – 6
Sun 10 – 4

Work on the farm continues pretty much non-stop. The weather, as it usually is, has been a bit of a mischief-maker, but nothing too outrageous. From the cold of Memorial Day weekend to the heat this week has been pretty interesting.

As I did last year, I will be bringing in produce from outside farms to supplement my own crops, or to provide things I don’t or can’t grow. So far, what I’m hearing from other farms is that there should be a good amount available this year, and the fruit producers say they are looking at early, and large crops.

Local Strawberries, South Carolina Peaches, and New Jersey Blueberries will be on hand this weekend, along with many other items. Please be sure to check out the What’s Available page to see all the rest that is on offer this week.

The laying hens have been chickening like mad in spite of the heat, so there will be a good supply of eggs. I did get a few more chickens for this year, so hopefully I will be a little closer to meeting the demand for eggs. The hens are also laying a good few larger-sized eggs, so Jumbo eggs shouldn’t be quite as elusive this year.

The current plan is to have Fresh Broiler Chickens ready for this weekend. I’m still not going to guarantee this, but it is the plan. The current birds are all on the larger size, and are the Red Royal birds I had mentioned previously. They are a heritage breed bird and are supposed to be quite tasty. In the following weeks I will have the regular Cornish birds. I’m also trying to coordinate with a local processor to handle extra birds I’ll raise, so this way I can have a supply of fresh and frozen Broilers right through the summer.

As I mentioned in the previous update, I will have Fresh Turkeys available for Thanksgiving this year. The farm where I get the Broilers will be raising the Turkeys out to my specs, and they will be processed by a NY state certified operation. The Turkeys must be ordered in advance, and a cash deposit will be required. The Turkeys will be ready for pick up from the weekend before Thanksgiving. Please feel free to ask if you have any questions.

Can’t think of anything else to add at this point, though I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch of stuff. I will be updating the What’s available page as soon as I can (hopefully early this evening). Looking forward to seeing you all soon.

 

Addendum: I just realized that an update I made to Google several weeks ago, to accurately reflect when the farm stand would open, did not go through.  My apologies to anyone who came by the farm thinking it would open.  I’ll be sure to confirm these changes going forward.

Farm Update 05-28-21

Hi everybody. I suppose it’s time to give all of you an idea of what was going on here, along with the stand hours and opening day. So let’s get the important stuff out of the way quickly.

The current plan is to open the farm stand for the 2021 season on Friday, June 11th. I’ve also decided to keep the farm stand hours the same as they were last year, and they will be as follows for the entire summer:

Fri – 10 – 6
Sat – 10 – 6
Sun – 10 – 4

Now, for those of you who just can’t wait to get something, the chickens have been doing their best and are currently laying a good number of eggs per day, with sizes already going up to Jumbo. If you’d like to get some, please get in touch ahead of time and schedule your pickup.

As far as operations go, it has been quite hectic here. The primary greenhouse is full, and the secondary one is starting to fill up too. There have been some issues getting seeds, plant starts, and even seed potatoes, and while I will be doing my best, there may be times when things are unavailable. Field planting will begin with hardier veggies and potatoes this coming week. Unfortunately, again this year, due to insurance coverage restrictions, there will be no access to the field or animals.

Part of why it has been so hectic here is that I will be raising broiler chickens again, and already have some here. I will have the same Cornish X broiler chickens as last year, and also a breed called Red Royal, which is a heritage breed, slow-growth chicken that is supposed to be even more flavorful than the standard birds. The Red Royals will be ready first, and may even be available on the 1st week I’m back open, but no guarantees.

Additionally, I was made an offer by the farm where I get the layer hens and broiler chickens – they are willing to raise out Thanksgiving turkeys to my exact standards. There turkeys will be somewhere between 16 – 20 pounds, and I’ll be able to have them ready for pick up fresh, refrigerated-only starting the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Given the current and projected costs of feed, the estimated price will be $5.00/lb, though could be less if feed costs go down. Please note, that ordering a turkey will require a cash deposit. I need to provide a firm number of birds to the farm within just a few weeks, so if you have any interest please let me know as soon as possible.

I’m sure there is a whole bunch more information I’m forgetting to include right now, but like I said, it’s been quite chaotic here this spring. Looking forward to seeing you all again soon. Hope everyone has a great holiday.