Thursday, June 21, 2012

Spring Wrapped Up, On to Summer!

Wow!  so much has happen since my last post, its hard to know where to start.  We we are officially done with Spring!  And by Spring I mean the season in which I work 12 hour days to get all the beds prepped and planted and begin to enjoy our first delicious harvests of Detroit produce.  It was a crazy one.  We unfortunately had some personnel turn over right in the middle of the peak field work period (end of May), when we had 10 90 foot beds to work up and get planted.  But thanks to friends and family who were able to put in a little extra Finn-care time I was able to bust my butt and get it all done.  Of course now that all the real work is over I have more then enough help, as Joan has returned from South America (good stories, you should ask her about it) to join the Rising Pheasant Farms team again and we have brought on Russell for some additional assistance.  So the farm is really looking great right now and I'm nervous about running out of things for us all to do (probably won't happen but now I don't feel bad about taking Monday's off...well from field work at least).

Snapshot of the farm harvest currently: scallions, garlic scapes, broccoli, cabbage (we grew them mini, and folks seem to really like that), collards, red russian kale and curly kale, swiss chard, spinach, and peas.  A few of these spring vegetables are on their way out (we'll have more head lettuce, spinach and peas in the fall!), but just in time for our favorite summer vegetable to begin to produce.

We also planted a bunch of perennials which we will not be able to harvest at all this year.  Raspberries, blackberries, asparagus, and strawberries all went in and I can't wait till next year when I'm harvesting all that goodness.  With the complete devastation of Michigan fruiting crops it has reaffirmed my desire to grow my own berries (gotta use that heat-island effect for something positive).  Plus with out the recent crops losses, it has generally been difficult to come across organic/no spray berries at Eastern Market or even near by upick.  I used to just ignore that fact but with a small child and the unfortunate knowledge (some times a curse) that berries absorb more pesticides and herbcides then really any other type of produce, I just can't bring myself to purchase/consume conventional berries.  And I LOVE them so much...its really aweful.  But next year we will have more strawberries, raspberries and blackberries then we'll know what to do with!!  It will be interesting to see if any of them make it to market.

Infrastructure wise, we're still plugging a way on the fence (and making plans for fencing in the side yard) and we've finally finished demo on the farmhouse!  This past weekend we actually put something IN the house (besides blood, sweat and tears).  My neighbor Mike, who is a carpenter, assisted us in building and placing a 16 foot beam down the center of the house so we could remove a support wall and expand the kitchen.  It looks awesome and only took one days work (after a year of demo, it is unbelieveable that any thing could be accomplished in a day).  The next project is replacing the stairs in the center of the house (taken out when it was converted to a 2 flat).

We've also started our weekly farm stand.  We've put up our stand 3 times now and seen some decent neighborhood traffic, including meeting at least 5 new neighbors.  And since that's really the whole point of the stand, besides increasing access to fresh produce, I'd say we're doing pretty well.  The farm stand will probably never be a big money maker (hard to beat Eastern Market) but I think it will serve very well as a neighborhood gathering spot and mini food hub.

Well I'm sure I'm forgetting a whole bunch of exciting updates, but its time to get out to the field so I'll leave you with some photos from the spring!

Tilling up the new land back in April

Cabbage back in April.  Now we've got mini cabbages at market.

Finn enjoying an entire bag of sunshoots :)

A little help from the neighbors at our first farm stand!

Our biggest load yet...we made it to the 3rd level!

View of the farm (beginning of June) taken by Randall of Eastern Market Corp.