It has been a while since my last farm update. The month of July seems to have breezed right by me, and now it’s the middle of August! Where did the summer go?! Weeks at the farm fly by at an incredible rate when there’s so much to be done during harvest season. We’ve pulled thousands upon thousands of pounds of food from the earth over the past few months. Our vegetables go out weekly to almost 300 homes, two farmers’ markets, a handful of restaurants, two natural food stores, and a dozen food pantries, shelters, and senior centers. It’s not always easy to stop and appreciate what we’re doing here as a community, when we’re buried in the daily tasks, but it’s special. So thank you! I hope you realize the impact you’re having on each other, our environment, and our future by being a part of it. Sandbrook Meadow Farm only exists because of you.
The season has been bountiful thus far but also trying. We’ve experienced some weather extremes that have had a significant impact on the crops. The spring started out hot and dry with almost no rain for six weeks! Then the rain arrived in and kept coming for the next month and a half. The rain prevented the garlic from “drying down” before harvest in early July. We had a disappointing harvest due to rot from the moisture (What we did get tastes great though, so enjoy it while it’s here!). I never thought I’d want to see rain again this year, especially with our new field, which is low-lying and has a higher content of clay. It was hard to get work done in there for much of June. Even though the rain stopped mid-July, the fingerprints of too much moisture and saturation were left on the season-long crops. When the days grew hot and dry, we still had to deal with ailing plants fighting off diseases while trying to keep everything watered. A broken irrigation pump did not help the mood. We lost some seedlings to the heat and battled poor germination rates. The sweet potatoes have been frowning at me for the past two weeks, desperate for water.
Yet, despite the set-backs, there have been plenty of bright spots along the way. The tomatoes, which have had me in a pretty stressful state over the last two months, are flourishing. Despite being hit hard with the foliar diseases Septoria leaf spot and early blight, which left the plants looking a bit shabby, we are swimming in delicious, healthy tomatoes. Rolling Harvest Food Rescue volunteers came by on Saturday and harvested over 1,000 pounds of tomatoes to distribute to their hunger relief partners in the area. They do amazing work! Relief came to the sweet potatoes as well, and the new pump combined with over two inches of rain this week has me happy today. That rain was desperately needed. Have I mentioned yet that I have a love-hate relationship with the weather!?
We’ve been working on getting our fall successions in the ground over the past few weeks. It won’t be long before you start seeing those leafy greens again. It will be time to say farewell to some of the summer veg towards the end of the month. The summer squash and cucumber plants are on their way out, past the peak of their production. I can’t say that I’m upset about bidding adieu to those friends until next June. We have been harvesting them pretty much every day. I am excited about seeing Kale again! And sweet potatoes, and kohlrabi, and…..ah I love the seasons. Hope you are loving the seasonality of eating local too. Until next time—see you at the farm!