February 15, 2016

Spring Peeking Through

From the Fields - Thaddeus

There is a sweet smell in the air. The birds are chirping more than they usually do. Some fruit trees are beginning to decorate their bare branches with pops of pink color, which are literally the explosion of their newly formed buds for the year. The hills are green with grass. It is almost impossible to see any evidence of last year’s dried grass. There is no mistaking the feeling that spring is springing, but I have seen this before, and deep in my bones, I know that winter is lingering out there over the Pacific. She will be back for another visit.

With the dry, sunny weather, we are excited to get caught up from the many weeks of operation-stopping mud. Older fields of chards, kales and beets have become resort towns for aphids, and now, our mowers and disks are turning everything back into the earth. After that, our mix of cold weather-loving cover crops (grains and peas) will be sown into the ground to keep the weeds down, and turn nitrogen gas in the air into organic nitrogen that crops will use to increase the organic matter percentage in the soil – not a bad deal at all. Love thy cover crop.

The warm weather has our asparagus field on high alert. It is starting to send up a shoot here and a shoot there. Under the cover of a greenhouse, our tomato plants are being tricked into thinking that now is a good time to germinate. Because our greenhouses will keep them protected from frost (that is bound to be back in the next four weeks), it is a good idea for them to germinate. This will make them ready to be put out into the field in the middle of March, which in all my days has always been a date on which our farm can count on never seeing frost again until the winter.

There remain several fields of vegetables that don’t have the aphids, and from these fields we are harvesting as much as we can with the sunny days. Every couple of hours, a tractor with a field trailer leaves. On the trailer are boxes neatly organized onto pallets that are then neatly organized onto the trailer. Each box has its label side out and in each box are 24 bunches of kale that are headed to our cooler before heading to your home.