Farm Update 07-30-20

It’s just another sunrise on the farm. Work has already been going on for a couple of hours, and it looks like it will be a long one with everything planned for today, and that work includes slaughtering and processing the first round of meat chickens.

The crops are generally doing well, though the late start on a bunch of stuff is still holding back a larger selection from the field. The rain last night was a welcome change, though it would have been nicer if the cooler temps hung around.

The laying chickens are doing their thing, though I am still somewhat unhappy about the egg size issue. At this point, I’m almost certain it’s the feed and will be looking into what I can do to make it better.

Please be sure to check out the What’s Available page for this week. And yes, I was able to get more Sweet Red Cherries, along with a large quantity of very tasty Peaches.

Thanks again to all those who have come by and supported the farm. Hope you all have a great week.

Farm Update 07-23-20

Another shorter update for this week, since there is not too much new to report. Work, as usual and with the expected challenges, is progressing at the usual pace. So to quickly recap, the woodchuck menace has been dealt with accordingly, the weather conditions continue to cause problems, the weeds are beyond prolific, and I’m just managing to keep the bug population in check.

As far as specific crops go, Tomatoes are growing, but very slowly, the Broccoli and Cauliflower are simply not growing, and the early Cabbage plantings are a complete loss. The Lettuce for the next week or two has all bolted to flower due to the intense sun, and I have no idea what the Snap Peas are doing, since they don’t want to flower at all. On the positive side, Local Tomatoes are available this week, as are Local Blueberries.

So, as you can see, it’s all pretty much normal and usual (or to use the proper term – SNAFU). Regardless, I’m pushing ahead with all the usual plantings and preparations. Oh, and one other to note – I’m not sure why, though I have suspicions, but the chickens are still laying smaller than expected eggs. By this point they should be laying mostly Large and larger eggs, but are still laying just under half as Medium. I’ll be adjusting what I can to get the bigger eggs, hopefully over the next couple of weeks.

For those interested in the meat chickens, I will be taking contact info and number of birds wanted this week. Depending on how big the chickens look, I will either start the slaughtering this coming week or the following. Pricing calculations so far look like it will be about $5/lb, though this is only a projection using current info, and is not to be considered the sale price. Additionally, there will be a period of time after processing when you can pick up the birds before they are frozen. This will usually be within 72 hours of when the processing is complete. So, if I slaughter and process on a Thursday, the birds can be picked up refrigerated but unfrozen until Sunday afternoon. Most of the birds will be immediately frozen, so if you want them fresh, you’ll have to make sure to request it.

That’s all I can think of right now. Hope you all have a great week.

Farm Update 07-16-20

Hi everyone. I hope you all had a nice week and enjoyed the sunshine. Another shorter update this week.

So, around the farm it’s basically Weeds, and Bugs, and Woodchucks – Oh My! This is pretty much the usual. Quite a few of the crops are still running late or are misbehaving by not growing at even close to a standard pace. This seems to be a more and more frequent occurrence, and does not seem to be crop specific, so I’ll be looking into this a little more to see if I can find a way to deal with it short of using more chemicals.

Local Corn will be available this week, as will Local Raspberries and now Local Blueberries. I was able to get more of the Macintosh Apples people seemed to like, and a bunch of Cantaloupe this week. Plus, based on the initial response, I got some more Haas Avocados. No Strawberries this week due to a transport issue. You can find the full list for this week on the What’s Available page.

All the chickens are doing well. The “Tubby Little Buggers”, as I call the meat chickens, appear to have almost doubled in size in the week I’ve had them, and are doing their darnedest to eat me out of house and home. Seriously, they eat almost 25% more per day right now than the laying hens, who are full-size adult birds. So far it’s quite an experience having them, especially on the coop cleaning side of things.

Not a whole lot else going on, with everyday work eating up most of my time. So I guess that’s about it for this week’s update. A big thanks again to all those who came by the farm. Have a great week.

Farm Update 07-09-20

Hi all. This week’s update will be on the shorter side, as there’s not a whole lot different going on right now.

The growing season is very strange, as most people who have gardens noticed. Other farmers throughout the country are dealing with similar issues, and it’s causing some rather odd availability issues and price fluctuations. Still, while I’m doing my best to keep things on track, I do have to note that Local Corn is still not available at the wholesale market yet.

Among other issues, Local Lettuce became temporarily unavailable, though my own should be plentiful enough to at least get us through this weekend. It will be a bit hit or miss after that though, as I’m having many of the same problems. My own Cucumbers and Zucchini are coming along, but will still likely not be big enough to harvest this week. And I may have a small amount of my own String Beans from plants I grew out in the greenhouses.

I was able to get a couple of new items for this week – Midnight Black Seedless Grapes and Haas Avocados. Additionally, I was able to get Strawberries, Raspberries, and Blueberries, plus Peaches (no Jersey ones yet, but these are still quite good).

There were some new additions to the farm. The first of three batches of meat birds arrived on Tuesday. They’re tubby little buggers, who seem to eat continuously. I will be starting a list next week for people who would like to lock in advance order chickens. They will also be available for purchase at the stand with advance notice.

The laying chickens are doing well and are producing a good range of egg sizes. Sales have been brisk, so if there is a specific size you are looking for, then Friday is the day to check for them.

I think that’s about it for this week’s update. I want to thank all those who have come by, as your support of the farm is greatly appreciated. I also would like to add, for those who I normally see each summer but are now stuck in other parts of the US, your presence is missed, and I hope you are all doing well. Have a great week.

Farm Update 07-02-20

Hi all. Well, judging by the calendar I guess we’ve hit summer. All things on the farm are moving along despite the disruptions caused by the weather. The current, frequent thunderstorm activity has caused a little bit more of a realignment in the order of planting, as well as some other problems, and has currently pushed parts of the schedule about 2 1/2 to 3 weeks behind “normal”. It’s just part and parcel of dealing with Mother Nature.

Additional crops have been planted this week, with all the Winter Squash and most all of the Pumpkins now in the ground. Additional plantings of Lettuce, Herbs, and other frequent rotation crops also continued. The drawback to the recent weather is not just having to reschedule, but also how it is affecting the plants that are already in the ground. Early plantings of Lettuce, Broccoli, and Cauliflower are all acting as strangely as they have during other past odd weather times, either bolting directly to flower, or taking an inordinately long time to pass mid-growth stage. Zucchini also seem to be suffering a bit of the same issue, so they will also not be ready for this week. I’m doing what I can to keep things moving along, but wanted to make people aware that there will be some randomness to availability of a number of crops. Gladiolus have also wound up being affected, and will probably be a bit later than I would like them to be, while the sunflowers, having germinated at a lower than expected rate, seem to be growing on schedule. So overall, this season will see some shortages, and general lack of availability.

As far as the stuff I can get from other farms, there’s good, bad, and expected news. The bad – Local Strawberries have been devastated by the daily rain. None of the six farms I get berries from had any for sale, and said that they didn’t think there would be any more for wholesale sale this season. Canadian Strawberries, like I had last year, will be available in the next week or two. The expected – Local Corn is not ready yet, at least for wholesale. The hope is that it will be ready for next week. There may be some farms that have small amounts ready, but I’d expect it to be fairly small sized. The good – Local Raspberries are available this week.

The chickens are doing well and continue to lay increasingly larger eggs. I’m getting about 4 1/2 dozen eggs per day and have been selling out consistently. I apologize to those who have had trouble getting eggs so far, but there seem to be many more people around than I had anticipated when I ordered in the chickens. I’m also still waiting on notice to go pick up the first batch of meat chickens, which should happen shortly.

Other than all that, things on the farm just keep chugging along. I’m not sure what this weekend will bring, given the holiday, though I am taking my best guess, so hopefully I won’t be too far off. Let’s all hope that the weather holds out and it will be nice, sunny, and not too hot or humid. I want to thank all those who came by this week for your support of the farm. Hope you all have a great week.

Farm Update 06-25-20

Hi all. Not a whole lot to give updates on for this week, so this will be short and sweet.

Planting was the main project this past week, with lots going in the ground. The colder weather has taken its toll though, so things will be running a bit late, just like last year. The chickens are laying slightly larger eggs by the day, so the number of dozens of large eggs should be getting better soon.

Fresh Strawberries will again be available, and I was able to get more of them for this week. I also was able to find some Cantaloupe, which I’m told are quite tasty. The Peaches will be from South Carolina, and unfortunately I was unable to get Blueberries, so the Strawberries will have to do. You can see all the rest of what I could get on the What’s Available page.

Like I said, not much other news. Saw the Bonnie and Clyde gang one more time on Monday, but it looks like they may have pulled a job and then gone into hiding as I haven’t seen them since. And thankfully, the bears have stayed away.

So thanks to everyone who came by the farm last week. Your support is truly appreciated. Hope to see lots of you this week.

Farm Update 06-11-20

Hi everyone. So the time has finally arrived. The stand reopens this week on Friday with the following schedule:

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

As was mentioned in previous updates, this will likely be the schedule for the entire summer.

Work on the farm continues. There’s not too much ready at this point, as it’s still early in the growing season up here, and the weather has once again been less than cooperative. Please check the What’s Available for current offerings. On the topic of what will be available, I recently spoke to Rick, who owns and operates Maplecrest Valley Apiary, and found out that he lost all but one of his hives over the winter. Sadly, this means I won’t have Local Honey until some time in July at the earliest.

The new coop building for the Meat Chickens is just about done. There was a hold up due to building material and supply delays. A big thanks to my neighbor Peter, who has come by to help me get it built and operational.

The laying chickens are doing their thing and egg production is nearing “normal”, with egg sizes still running a little on the smaller side. Unfortunately, as was mentioned in previous updates, due to the large increases in costs of both feed and cartons, the price of eggs will be going up.

Otherwise, around the farm is pretty much business as usual. A few days ago I went to put the chickens in for the night, just before 9pm, and stepped out of the house and almost literally into the warm embrace of the 300# bear, who was just a few feet away out of sight behind the truck. Good times.

A thank you to those who placed orders online both last and this week. Your support is greatly appreciated. Looking forward to getting the stand opened back up. See you all soon.

Farm Update 05-31-20

Hi all. I realize that updates are far more sporadic this year than years past. That’s partly due to extra work, as it relates to problems caused by lockdowns, and also due to the fact that much of what I’m doing is stuff that I’ve written about before and I don’t like continually repeating myself. That said, I will do my best to get some more frequent updates out, so that you all know what’s going on here.

To start, I will be adding a link to the website later today to order items for pick-up. On the order page you will find certain, specific items that can be pre-ordered, such as the CSA-style veg box, eggs, preserves, and a eventually a few other items. Please understand, that online ordering is a bit of an experiment and there may be some hiccups. Also, regarding the veg box, there may be some substitutions given produce availability, though I will do my best to keep it consistent.

A limited number of Veg Boxes, and some other items will be available for order and pick-up THIS WEEK (on Friday 6/5), even though the stand will not yet be open.

The way online ordering will work is as follows. Orders can be placed though a marketplace page linked to the website. The orders can be placed between Saturday 8am and Wednesday 10pm, when that week’s ordering will be closed. Orders must be prepaid, along with a selecting one of the designated pick-up times. The orders will be prepared and be ready for pick-up on that Friday at the farm stand area. So I’m perfectly clear about this:

Order Saturday thru Wednesday -> Pick-up Friday (at pre-selected time)

Unfortunately, you will not, as of now, be able to order for pick-up on any other days, as I am unable to coordinate all of the logistics to make that work. Additionally, if for some reason you are unable to make it for your selected pick-up time, you should contact me as soon as possible to reschedule and so I can get your order back into cool storage.

As is done in the farm stand the same rules apply – if you want to buy all of what’s available, then feel free to do so. There are no restrictions on how many of each item you may purchase, so long as they are listed as “in stock”. I will work diligently to increase supply to meet the demand. Please contact me with questions/comments about the online ordering.

Beyond that, work on the farm continues. The weather is once again keeping me on my toes, and from what I can see from the long-range forecast will continue to do so for some time. Despite it, planting and other prep work is ongoing. As usual, even opening late, I will have only a limited selection of my own produce.

Of special note to those who have asked in the past, I will be raising, slaughtering, processing, and selling meat chickens this year. Their abode is almost complete, and I will likely be taking the first delivery of birds some time in the next couple of weeks. At this time, the plan is to raise at least 3 batches of chickens over the summer and into the fall. These chickens, a Rock Cornish hybrid known as Cornish X, will be raised on a “conventional” natural grain feed, unlike the laying chickens. This decision was made based on the astronomical price of organic feed for meat birds. And yes, they require a different type of feed than the layers. I will be providing more information (availability, ordering, pricing, etc.) about the meat chickens in the somewhat near future.

There will be some changes to the farm stand layout this year. It’s a work in progress, so I don’t have any specifics to share at this time. There will also be some changes in the way things are handled within the stand itself (subject to fed, state, and insurance company mandates/requirements). Please understand that these operational changes are not my choice, and include:

  • Limits on total number of people in the stand
  • Limiting number of people per group to one or two during busier times
  • Restricting the entry of children into the stand area
  • Requesting that produce and goods only be handled if being purchased
  • Pets must be kept out of the stand area this season
  • No recycling/re-use of packaging materials (egg cartons/jam jars)
  • Reusable bag users will have to pack their own purchases

Additionally:

  • All visitors are to remain within the stand, parking area, or on the grassy hillside behind the stand
  • Entry to the field, buildings (except the farm stand), animal, and storage areas is prohibited

Like I said, these changes are not my choice, and will hopefully end some time in the near future.

And so you all know, I really dislike that parts of these updates are as negative sounding as they are.

On the lighter side of things, Henrietta the Turkey has been by several times in the last week. Guess she wants to make sure I’m getting my work done. And with the usual departure of Bonnie and Clyde I seem to have acquired yet another guest – Gorgeous Georgia the Canada Goose – who appears to have decided to keep me company for a while, and wanders between the field and pond most of the day. There have also been several visits by the “new” 300# bear, though nothing to get too excited about.

That’s about it for now. Hope all of you are well. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch. Take care.

Farm Update 05-15-20

Hi everyone. Let me start off by providing the most important news. The farm stand opening will be delayed until June 12th (6/12/20). The decision to delay the opening is not being made lightly, but given the extreme cold, and continuing snowfalls, I am simply going to need more time to get the springtime work done. I don’t want to have a repeat of last year’s backlog of work.

Additionally, the farm stand schedule, starting 6/12 will be:

Fri 10 – 6
Sat 10 – 6
Sun 10 – 4

This will be the operating schedule for the entire season, including for July and August. I sincerely hope that the shortened schedule will still work for most people.

In regards to the CSA-style boxes of veg I mentioned previously, I am still planning on doing them and will have even more information about them posted in the next update. To provide a little more color about them, they will be boxes of mixed veg (mine or brought in depending on availability), suitable for 2 people for a long weekend or so. The generic list of items (which may change or vary slightly) in a box:

Lettuce
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Green Peppers
Zucchini
Russet Potatoes
Broccoli
Carrots
Onions (Yellow and Red)
Garlic
Scallions
Celery

The boxes will be for pick-up only, and be available on Fridays (note – depending on demand and requests, a second order/pick-up date might be added). Orders would have to be placed online and pre-paid, with a cut-off of Wednesday evening (probably 10pm-ish). Beyond the boxes, I am also planning on offering a number of additional items for pre-order and pick-up, including other veg, mushrooms, bags of kale or spinach, 5# bags of red or yukon gold potatoes, preserves, honey, maple syrup, and maybe eggs too. But like I said, more info will be coming in the next update.

In regular farm news, the greenhouses are quickly filling with plants, the chickens are doing their thing and have just started laying, additional projects are being worked on, and I’m generally staying bundled up, because it’s damn cold outside. I am also working on getting a small meat chicken operation up and running (more info on this in a future update).

Lastly, when you come to visit the farm you will notice a number of changes, and some new (hopefully temporary) rules. These changes are not being made by choice, with the most impactful not as a result of either federal or state mandates, but rather insurance company requirements.

There are now multiple sets of gates to limit access to the farm. DO NOT open or pass through a gate that you have not been authorized to go through.

Aside from the farm stand area, all farm buildings, greenhouses, structures, and animal pens will be strictly off-limits.

While I used to maintain extra insurance policy coverage so people could wander around the field, the provision was removed, so this means no walking in the field this year. I really liked being able to let people walk around and check things out, so hopefully I’ll be able to get this coverage again in the future.

I think that’s about it for this update. A special thank you to all those who provided feedback to the questions in the last update. My apologies for the delay in opening for the season and for the imposition of the new, hopefully temporary rules. And if you need additional information, or have questions please feel free to contact me.

Farm Update 04-21-20

Hi everyone. I hope you all have had a generally nice winter and that you are all currently healthy. I’d like to start this season’s updates by thanking those who have gotten in contact with me to check up and make sure I’m doing okay. I sincerely appreciate your concern.

In regards to the farm, the work, as usual, continued through the winter, albeit at a much slower pace. I was able to get a couple of days off this year, which was quite nice. At this point work has been ramping up into the normal springtime craziness, with a little added difficulty due to business closures, reduced hours, and the lack of availability of certain items. That being said, I have most everything I need to at least get into full swing for the season.

Now, there will be some changes for this season, and I am not talking about just in relation to the current health issues. The one that will be most impactful will be a change in the farm stand operating hours. I have not yet finalized the schedule, and I am doing my best to figure out changes that will be the least disruptive. The pending schedule will likely be included in the next update that should come out in a couple of weeks. The schedule will also depend on what the feds, state, county, and local officials dictate.

There will also be changes to the crop lineup, which will be posted to the site on the 2020 Crops page. The biggest change is that I will not be doing bunched field flowers this year, however I will still be planting Gladiolus and Sunflowers. And for those who will invariably ask, yes, I will be planting Sweet Corn.

Other changes will be the addition of one new greenhouse and the conversion of two older ones (and maybe two new ones) to field use as hot house tunnels for attempted early crops of Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Zucchini, and String Beans. I say attempted, because there are no guarantees when growing things here on the mountaintop.

Chickens are due on April 27th. Once they get settled in it will hopefully only be a couple of weeks before they start laying regularly. Given the number of people who have contacted me about them, I will start egg sales as soon as I can. I have not started any kind of list, nor do I intend to, so please hold off asking to be added to one. If this changes it will be noted in a subsequent update prior to being implemented.

I’m also looking at bringing in some other grocery type items to compliment the offerings at the stand. Not the easiest thing to do, given that I’m a tiny, seasonal operation, but I’m working on it. I would appreciate feedback on this, not so much for specific items, but more if it would be of any interest at all.

So all that leads me to some questions, for which I really do need feedback. Given the current virus concerns, I am considering shortening the general open schedule for the stand even further and having one day be for pick ups only. This would be for pre-ordered “CSA-style” boxes of mixed veg, with the ability to add other grocery items, eggs, maple syrup, honey, and preserves to the order. I need to know if there is enough interest in this for me to take the time to set it up, since I would have to create a virtual storefront in order to make it work. And along the same line, since I can currently get produce from the wholesale markets, would there be enough interest for me to start a once a week online order for pick up right now. If you would, please email me at farmer@scribnerhollowfarm.com with what you think of these ideas, and/or if you have any other general suggestions or comments.

Aside from all that there are the usual goings on about the farm. My annual visiting Canada Geese (Bonnie and Clyde) have returned again this year. I also have a more recent, semi-regular visiting hen turkey, who I named Henrietta. She is quite interested in the farm, and takes every opportunity to peek into and conduct thorough inspections of all the buildings that are opened up during the day. Other animals have been fewer and farther between, with the coyotes only making rare, unwelcome visits.

I suppose that’s about it for this update. Looking forward to getting your feedback and eventually seeing all of you sometime soon. Take care.