Summer Tours and The Art
I had a few moments to myself in the fields this
week. It was a nice time of solitude I must say. I contemplated doing
some spontaneous yoga positions, but the fear of pulling a hamstring
lead me to just observe and enjoy all our plants. Watching all of our
babies hit their teenage months, made me realize that we need to do a
farm tour. So May 25th at 9 am we will host a free
tour of our South Valley farm. Come on out and please feel free to bring any friends or
family. Directions to the farm are on the web site.
May always seems to mark the beginning of the abundance for local food in our
area. The greens of late winter actually meet up with roots and things that you
need teeth to eat. I love greens, but at some point my mouth needs a crunch.
As I walked around, I saw one of the most beautiful sights I have seen this year,
baby yellow zucchini just getting to a size to harvest. And as any of you who
have grown zucchini before know, once they start producing, the harvest will
grow exponentially for the next 4 weeks. All in all, we hope to have a 7-8 week
harvest season for our zucchini before you get completely sick of them. So plan
on seeing those dudes in the harvest boxes beginning in a week or two.
Here was another important thing that struck me checking out our fields, no failures.
I hate to admit it but in the past, every spring we have dealt with some sort
of crop failure. Over-planted roots. Cut worms decimating our broccoli. Weather
gets too hot for cauliflower. You name it. We have probably seen it happen. Those
are the painful lessons of trial and error farming. Pushing the seasonal envelope,
we see many successes, but we also belly up to a huge piece of humble pie at
times. Why is this year different? Time and experience. Learning from trials.
Taking notes. Implementing changes.
This year marks our 11th season in the fields here. And what started as a huge
block of granite is now being fine-tuned into a piece of art. I don’t know
how else to describe it other than art. When you see those zucchini or the colors
from a 400 foot long bed of Rainbow chard, you are witnessing Mother Nature’s
canvas. An inspiring spectacle.
But back to the failures, or lack of them. Over the seasons we have found what
loves to grow here and what is not happy here. Now I am not saying that we have
figured it all out, but we have amassed a great foundation of plants.
With that, we do not waste resources (time and money) growing stuff that is destined
to fail. So when seeds hit the soil, they are more likely to produce a harvest
for us. Crop failures will always be part of the farming gig, so our goal really
needs to be to minimize the risks. Make sure our time is spent on items that
will feed our members and not feed our pests.
So our past mistakes, late zucchini that have been devastated by squash bugs,
broccoli that hates our springs, and planting enough eggplant to feed all of
Italy have given way to smarter plants that love our New Mexican weather. As
I have written and said in the past, our mantra around here is just because we
can grow something, doesn’t mean that we should grow it. Our goal needs
to be to make our members smile with our food and not force feed you local food
like medicine. The most sustainable thing that I have ever seen in my life is
happiness. So in our effort to practice sustainable farming, we need to maximize
your happiness. If we can do that, you will eat more local food. Pretty simple.
Besides the crops that we have moved away from, we have expanded plantings on
your favorites—cucumbers, tomatoes, green chile, carrots, beets, and melons.
Time after time, these crops get the best reviews from your surveys. So my hope
is that you will see a lot more of these items throughout this summer and into
the fall. They all look great to date at least.
With all of said, I encourage you to come on down to the farm for the tour. I
see a light bulb go off for everyone when they visit the farm for the first time.
You are able to see the answer to the question of how does one grow food for
thousands of people? I think our farm is a very open and transparent answer to
that question. Some come on down and bring any questions you may have about growing
on the home scale, too. We will address it all, and have some fun while we do
Have a great week, Farmer Monte