Sunday, July 18, 2010

The routine of the summer season

And so, inspite of my best intentions, the busy harvesting/marketing season has left little time for updating this blog. Two weeks ago was the last posting, and in 2 weeks on the farm in the summer much can & does happen.

  The cherry harvest has come and gone. In the end we simply stopped picking - the quality was gone after much rain and then the heat & humidity. The trees that remained unpicked were marked and compared to notes about trees that have remained unpicked in previous years. Where a pattern emerges, the chainsaw will likely be the fate and we'll have open space - to plant a new cherry tree of a better variety next spring, or another crop perhaps. Some of these trees will get a reprieve as they are needed for pollination. Decisions like this, that have a long term effect are best made in 2 stages. An initial decision now when everything is fresh in our minds and a final verdict in fall after we've had time to mull things over.

  The raspberry harvest has also come & gone. It was very brief this season. After a promising start, the rains, heat & humidity ruined the berries as well. We choose not to spray our raspberries because that's what the customers prefer - but we may rethink this decision as some spray may have prevented or at least slowed the rot & mold problems & allowed us to harvest more raspberries.

  Crops being harvested now include peaches, yellow plums, tomatoes, zucchini, beans, swiss chard, carrots, beets ...Within the next few weeks we'll add nectarines, more plums, blackberries and later pears, along with more vegetables.

The summer settles into a routine for the next 5 or 6 weeks.
It goes something like this.
   Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays are the picking days for the vegetables. Five local students handle most of this. These are also prep days for our 4 farmers' markets. Everything that is picked must be sorted and packed and readied for market the next day. Tuesday & Thursdays are for catching up on other jobs - right now that means weeding, mulching, weeding, suckering & tying tomatoes, orchard maintenance (cutting grass, spraying ...) weeding etc... The fruit picking - mostly peaches - keeps our 2 men from Mexico busy almost full time Monday - Saturday. Sundays remain a day off for everyone on the farm.
   Market days are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Some of the produce is loaded on to the truck the evening before. The remainder that needs to be kept in the cold storage is loaded early (3:45 am) on market day. The truck leaves for market at 4:15 am (5:15 on Saturdays, our sleep in day!) On Thursday afternoon a second truck is loaded and heads off to our afternoon market in Grimsby.
   Fridays are also our CSA (community supported agriculture) pick up day. The assorted vegetables we grow for our CSA are harvested in the morning, prepped and ready for pick up in the afternoon.
It's a busy time, but also a satisfying time. What we have worked towards the entire year is now happening. Sometimes we get too busy & too tired to really enjoy it, but it's satisfying none-the-less!


  1. Thanks Tiffany!

    I am a big fan of your blog "Eating Niagara" as well.
    Just read your article in the summer issue of "Edible Toronto" - good stuff!