Week 7. Carrots and sticks

Another week, and another big Saturday delivery! I enjoy seeing everyone and know the faces even if I have not learned all the names. I especially enjoy hearing how some of the items are prepared.

One of you roasted baby carrots as part of a pork roast; someone else made a pesto sauce with carrot greens; her mom said it was delicious.

What is very popular, and we’re going to increase the amount, are the herbs.  Last week was the usual basil, always a favorite, along with Flat Italian parsley. This week we brought along a box of cilantro—another favorite.

I wanted to spend a bit of time on carrots; yesterday’s harvest included, as did last week, bunches of small Scarlet Nantes carrots.  These are an heirloom variety and are in my opinion slightly sweeter than the usual grocery store version.

Carrots are best when fresh, so for delivery I got up very early and dug rows at about 6 am!

Sometimes carrots get soft just after harvesting unless they are managed and this is especially true of some of the heirloom carrots. But regardless, the Scarlet Nantes carrot is delicious roasted, sautéed or raw.  It’s also a favorite of our billy goat, Apollo.  If he gets out of his pasture area, I know exactly what part of the garden he’s headed to!

Weed control and some derecho storm damage
Some of you have asked about the garden and how it is going. Overall, we’ve been lucky with rain. While we have irrigation equipment, the rain has been regular enough in recent weeks that we have not had to use it. Of course, when the garden is growing, so are the weeds!

Weed control is one of the ongoing challenges of any farm operation, organic or not.  Much of it is handwork. We can run the small 18 inch tiller between the rows (most planted on 3 foot centers) to get in-between, but even so, sometimes we just have to do hand weeding.

Also, when we had the derecho storm, it appeared as most of the damage was one large tree and all the sticks that we had to clean up that blew down. Our tomato stands were blown down and we haven’t been able to recoup all of the plants. Fortunately the small yellow pear tomatoes are still okay.

But the peppers and squash are doing well! We are also getting in some cukes soon.  Some of the heirloom corn is almost ready to pick—a little small last week. More chard is planted and will be ready to harvest soon, and we’re going to turn the big lettuce bed over and plant chard there as well for the fall.

We’re also planting more of the burgundy beans and yellow squash as they have a short enough maturation time that we should be able to get a good yield in early September, which is usually still warm.

Farm Dinners and Wine Tastings – 3rd Sunday in August and 3rd Sunday in September
In addition to the usual garden work, we’ve been focused on having an event—and partnering with a local winery, Rogers Ford Farm Winery, owned by Carlotta and John Puckett. The winery is located about ten minutes away from the farm in front the Rappahannock River.

John and Carlotta are part of the older community of winemakers in Virginia—starting their winery many years ago. They are a small boutique winery, specializing in old-world techniques; John is the primary winemaker, and their chardonnay, Jacob Christopher Chardonnay (2009 vintage now on sale), is named after their first grandson.

We are in for a treat!

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