FARM NEWSWe are approaching the longest day of the year, and it can be noticed by how early the sun sheds light on the farm. Crews are in the field and working at 5:30 am, quickly trying to get the day’s tasks done before the force of the afternoon heat settles onto everything.
The mornings are glorious, cool from the evening, and the colors, crops and wildlife are at their most vibrant. Tomatoes stretch their sticky vines toward the sun with dark green leaves dotted with brilliant paisley yellow flowers.
In the field next to them, melons are close to covering the entire field with vines. Above the field, the irrigation canal is running, fast and full to the brim. The water is an olive green as most of it rushes downstream toward all the farms below our farm. Not all the water makes it; we have two pumping stations that each pull water out of the canal and run it through a sand-media filtration system before supplying main lines, which feed sub-mains before being distributed on the water desiring soil through drip tape or sprinklers.
At the base of the tomato plants, the soil is mostly tan, but there are spots here and there where the drip system wets the soil all the way to the surface. It is here that the soil is almost black in color. I stick my finger into the mud and ponder the significant difference in soil with or without water. Near the ground is where the tomato plant it the oldest. It is here that the little yellow tomato flower long ago came and developed into the crown-set tomatoes – the first, largest and most valuable tomatoes on the vine. This tomato is dark green with a lighter green variegations. I instantly recognize the tomato as Vintage Wine – the dark green on its skin will mature to red and light green stripes will mature to yellow. Slicing the tomato in half, I can see gel just starting to form in the cavities that house the seeds. This tomato will be ready in two weeks.
By the afternoon, the farm is mostly done with its work for the day. When I walk outside, I do it in sporadic sprints from one shady spot to the other – big trees are the most popular plants on the farm. There is a steady hum from the refrigeration equipment that does not get to go home; it works in the hot sun turning electricity into the cool air that protects our day’s harvest in the cooler before it makes its way out to your homes.