Farm Update 09-17-20

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying what looks like it might be the last of the warmer times. Current forecasts are showing overnight freezing temps on both Saturday and Sunday nights, with even more cold scheduled farther out. Maybe the deer are onto something.

Anyway, work on the farm is continuing. I’ve harvested what I could of the pumpkin crop, given the deer at hundreds of them. I also got some extras so there would be a nice selection for people looking for both decorating and pie pumpkins. I was able to get Strawberries again this week, and also some Peaches, though not the Pennsylvania ones (these are from New Jersey). I also have Local Blueberries, whose season will be ending shortly.

Fresh Chicken will be available again this week, with the birds running on the larger side. I haven’t weighed them out yet, but they are bigger than many of the birds from last week. I will have fresh ones available next week as well and then there will be a gap of a week or so, since I get the next round of 3 week old birds this coming Tuesday.

Preserves keep running low, and even out, despite my best efforts to keep them well stocked. I will be making even more as we go into the Fall, since as far as I can tell demand is high. I apologize if the type or size you may be looking for is sold out, but more will be made soon.

If there are any bow hunters looking for a place to take deer easily, please get in touch. I really need to have the population thinned down a good bit.

That’s about it for this update. Hope you all have a great week, and thanks again for supporting the farm.

Farm Update 09-10-20

Hi everybody. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend and got to enjoy the near perfect weather. Since it is now past Labor Day, let’s just touch on what the schedule for the farm stand will be going into the Fall. As is usually the case, I commit to being open until at least Columbus Day weekend (10/9 – 10/11). If the weather stays decent and I still have Pumpkins to sell, then I would stay open until around Halloween (10/30 – 11/1). If there are still a lot of people around at that point, then I would consider staying open until the weekend before Thanksgiving (11/20 – 11/22). So as of now, there is still about a month of time that I will be open. Hope this clears up any confusion about the schedule going forward.

Next, I would like to just touch on an issue for which I have been contacted numerous times over the last couple of weeks. The farm has no dealings with, or ties to the Hunter Foundation. When I first opened the farm stand 5 years ago I did sell produce to the Hunter Foundation for their popup market for one season. Since then, and also a couple of years ago, I sold produce from the stand, the same as I would to any other customer, to the chef at the Deer Mountain Inn. That is the extent of my dealings with not only the Hunter Foundation, but also it associated entities. I trust from this point forward I will no longer need to re-answer this question.

Back to the farm itself, things are moving quickly into Fall. Aside from the leaves turning and the geese flying south, the deer have decided to take it upon themselves to mow down everything still growing in the field. Not only did they eat ALL of the Gladiolus, they continue to eat the Tomatoes and have now also taken to eating the Pumpkin and Zucchini leaves. If their behavior is any indicator, it’s going to be a bad Winter. I am still harvesting what I can, and filling in where I can with what I can find at the wholesale market. No peaches this week, though I as able to get a couple of flats of both Blueberries and Strawberries. Local Tomatoes are getting scarce, and it looks like quite a bit of other Local stuff is also ending. Good news, though. Local Apples are in good supply, with regular Macintosh joining the selection this week.

The layer Chickens are doing fine, and laying a good supply of larger sized eggs. I’m curious to see if the demand is still as high for them this week. I also processed more meat Chickens this week, so I will have them fresh over the weekend.

In the bad news department, the coyotes have decided to return. Just last night, as it was getting dark, they started howling a short ways inside the treeline behind the house. While I had been hearing them for the last couple of weeks, this is the closest they’ve been since I previously ran them off. I suspect I will soon be having encounters with them again, so if for some reason you come to the farm after sunset you can expect to find me carrying a weapon.

Besides all that, things continue apace. I will be making more preserves as I can, since I am again near selling out of a couple of types. I will also be processing meat Chickens for the next couple of weeks before the next gap between groups happens.

I guess that’s about it for this week. I sincerely appreciate and am very thankful for all the support of the farm. Have a great week.

Farm Update 08-27-20

I suppose if this update was titled it would be something like – The Woodchuck Strikes Back, or maybe – Revenge of the Coyotes, or perhaps Skunk Wars. And yes, all three are here, and all three are serious problems. Hope all of you are doing well in what has quickly turned into Fall here in the mountains. For those I talked to last week, it certainly seems like that feeling of change was accurate, as the quickly changing and dropping leaves are demonstrating. Ah well, and though it is what it is, I’m just glad I ordered as much firewood as I did.

The few crops that are still growing like normal in the field are doing fine so far. As I thought though, Sweet Corn won’t make it this year, as the cool down will slow their growth to next to nothing. The forecast lows over the next week (in the low to mid 40’s) will also surely take their toll. Deer have been actively eating the Tomato plants and any fruit that are even approaching ripe enough to pick. Can’t say that in the 14 years I’ve been growing stuff here, that I have ever seen the deer go after Tomato plants, much less Sunflower and Gladiolus leaves. Then again, maybe they know something we don’t.

Anyway, the chickens are still laying at full steam, and with the feed issue apparently resolved, they are laying many more Large and XL-sized eggs. Jumbo eggs are still fairly scarce, but do make an occasional showing. In the less than positive chicken news category, I have had to separate and bring one of the layer hens inside, as she was being constantly pecked and harassed by the other hens. If anyone is looking for a pet chicken, she is available to a willing and able home. Additionally, the new batch of meat chickens are getting bigger every day, and I swear there are times you can see it happening.

I was able to make some more Preserves this week, so the smaller size Raspberry and Strawberry-Rhubarb are once again available. I get the feeling that I will probably have to make a few more batches over the next couple of weeks just to keep from running out completely before the end of the season.

Lastly, I would like to make a request. For people who come by the stand would you please let me know if you are planning on being here past Labor Day. I usually scale back operations pretty quickly afterwards, since kids are usually back in school, however, given the current state of things I get the sense that more people than usual will be around after that time and I would like to make sure that I either harvest or get enough that it will at least come close to meeting demand. So if it’s possible, please let me know.

That’s about it for the update this week. Thanks to all of you, I sincerely appreciate your support of the farm. Hope you all have a great week.

Farm Update 08-20-20

No, I didn’t forget about the update for this week, it’s just late due to some schedule changes over the last few days. It will also be a short update, because I still have a lot of stuff to do before the end of the day.

In what comes in no way as a surprise, the overnight temp last night dropped to 42F. Needless to say, this has caused a few issues. I’m not going to go into detail, mainly because there is no point, I’m just adjusting what I am doing, and what I will do accordingly.

The laying chickens are now pretty much back to laying the expected size eggs, and have been doing so consistently. This is positive news, and I’m sure people will be happier to have a choice larger-sized eggs.

I picked up the new batch of chickens today. I wound up with a few more than expected, but it should all work out without issue.

I’m trying my best to get some more Preserves made, as the sales have been so brisk that I am quickly running out of all types and sizes. My apologies if I have not been able to make the ones you may be looking to get. They are all on the list of things to do.

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

Farm Update 08-13-20

Hi everyone. I hope you are all enjoying the summer, and the wonderful sunny weather.

Work on the farm continues as usual. The recent rains have added a few challenges, mainly for timing the digging of potatoes, but nothing too much to worry about. I was able to get more of all three types of Potatoes dug this week and so far the yields look good. Not too sure about the later plantings, so we’ll just have to wait and see. From the looks, I should be able to pick both Green Peppers and Eggplant this week.

The deer have all of a sudden decided to make a real nuisance of themselves. They’ve taken a real liking to the String Bean and Pepper plants, chomping some of them right down to the ground.

The Chickens are now laying a much better spread of egg sizes, with greater numbers of large-sized eggs now in the mix. I did lose one of the hens last week to an unknown issue.

This week I will be processing Meat Chickens again. I also get the next round of birds on Tuesday, so as I had mentioned, there will be a gap of a couple of weeks before I will have more non-frozen ones for sale. There are also a number of frozen ones available at this time, since I processed a second batch earlier specifically to freeze.

Sales of preserves have been much higher than anticipated, with small Raspberry already sold out, and others running low very quickly. As a result, I will squeeze the making of some additional preserve batches into my schedule. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get at least one batch done next week.

I think that’s about all for this update. Thanks for all your support, it is greatly appreciated. Have a great week.

Farm Update 08-06-20

Hi everyone. Hope you’re all having a great week so far, despite the storm, which raced through the area the other day. With over three inches of rain coming down, it could have been much worse here on the farm, but thankfully the ground soaked up a very good amount before it began to pond.

The crops that are growing are generally growing well. There are a few issues here and there, and the weeds are… well, they are weeds. Let’s just leave it at that. For those interested, Lettuce will be some time before it’s ready, and I do think I saw a few small, red Tomatoes the other day. I’m still going to try digging Russet Potatoes for this weekend, though it will depend on whether the ground dries enough to effectively do it. It also appeared that there may be a few small Eggplant and Green Peppers this week, though I did not include them in the What’s Available list, because I’m not sure how many will actually be ready for harvest.

The Chickens are still laying at full pace. And the issue with the smaller eggs does appear to be a feed-based one, which I will now have to work around. It’s not really a big deal to do, it’s just more of a pain in the ass.

The plan is to process the next round of Meat Chickens today. Demand for the unfrozen ones last week all but cleaned them out. I should have more available this week than last, and hopefully with a bit more variety in terms of size.

Rick at Maplecrest Valley Apiary replied to my inquiry the other day that honey is not ready yet, and did not have an estimate as to when it might be available. Additionally, sales of certain types of preserves have been way beyond my estimates, with some like the small Raspberry already sold out, and others running quite low. Given the demand, I will be making more, it’s just quite difficult to work it into my schedule given the time requirements.

I guess that’s it for this week’s update. Thanks for all of your support for the farm, and your words of encouragement and appreciation. Have a great week.

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 07-09-20

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.