I thought that this week I would share "A Day in the Life of Our Farm" so that you can see how we shape our days and the rhythms that we follow. But before I get into that there are a few crop updates I wanted to share. You will see that you have a choice between zucchini and broccoli this week. We will have many more for everyone in later weeks - we are just picking the first few that are ready this week. You may notice the broccoli looks a little misshapen. This is because it is buttoning. For those not up on broccoli lingo, this means that heat stress (and probably water stress too) is causing it to want to flower before it's full size. We are harvesting them now because they will not improve with age. But let me assure you that they still taste great! I sampled a few as I harvested :)
You will also notice that the lettuce in the shares is in smaller quantities. While many vegetables love this heat, the lettuce does not and has unfortunately bolted. In the lettuce lingo world, this means that it suddenly shoots up a flower stalk from the centre of the plant. At this point, only the pigs and goats like to eat them. So you have lettuce for this week, but then we will probably be without for a couple weeks while we wait for our second planting to size up. This seems to happen at some point every year and I will say that not being able to get the timing of each planting right drives me a little bonkers. Oh well, there always something to improve on... For those with lettuce add-on shares, you will get your add-on this week, but not again until the next planting is ready. I will email each of you to explain how we compensate you for the lack of lettuce.
This week is the start of 'bonus' items in the shares. Bonus items are not part of the main share but are available to members to take if they can use them. Sometimes we bring a crop that we have a surplus we have to get rid of (like this week) and other times we bring small quantities of items like herbs and hot peppers that share members can take if they would like. In another week or two, we will start to have herbs as regular bonus items.
Now, on to "A Day in the Life of Our Farm". One of my favourite aspects of being self-employed is my ability to create a rhythm to our days that works for me. While many farms follow similar hours, each will be a little different based on their needs and desires. For us, the rhythm you see below works for us. Like many parents, we struggle to find the perfect balance between employment (in our case, farm work), parenting, and general household management. As our farm and children grow, I imagine our daily rhythms will change too.
5AM Rob gets up and starts the day by opening the chicken and duck coops and making sure the animals are content. Then it's breakfast time for Rob.
5:30AM I (Lorraine) start the day by making a quick smoothie for myself and the boys. I then head outside to handpick cucumber beetles on the squash plants. While outside, I also open up the greenhouse.
7AM Back outside, Rob carries buckets of water and food to all the livestock, checks our live trap (we have a raccoon or skunk that is terrorizing the chickens), waters his tree nursery stock, and then heads off to his off-farm employment.
7:30AM I head back inside to make a proper breakfast for myself and the boys. Healthy eating and high quality food is one of the main reasons we became interested in farming in the first place so we always make time to enjoy the fruits of our labour!
8AM Our intern, Thomas, starts his day harvesting and washing 60 bunches of kale for our shares.
8:45AM After a yummy breakfast, I'm back outside and spend the morning cutting pea shoots in the greenhouse, harvesting peas, and setting up the irrigation for the day.
11AM Terran and Rowan (also known as 'the boys') collect cut hay from our hay field and transport it to the driveshed using a large garden cart. That was hot work, so then they have a water gun fight on the lawn. I may have been caught in the crossfire once or twice.
12PM I head inside to make lunch for everyone.
1:30PM After lunch and scrubbing off the field dirt, I water Rob's tree nursery again and load all the veggies into the truck. It's CSA delivery day!
2PM I get on the road for Guelph and Thomas moves the irrigation and spends the rest of the afternoon weeding the beets and beans.
3PM I arrive in Guelph and setup the stand for the first eager share members at 4PM!
5PM Thomas starts supper for all who are at home. Part of our interns' responsibilities is to prepare a meal for everyone 1 day per week. This gives them a chance to learn to cook seasonally and give me a chance to do other tasks.
5:30PM Rob arrives home from work and brings in the rest of the hay. There is rain in the forecast and we don't want it to get wet!
6:30PM The share drop-off is now complete and I pack up the remnants. Back on the farm, Rob and the boys head into Mount Forest for soccer practice. Terran and Rowan play soccer in the summer and Rob coaches both of their teams.
8:30PM I am back at the farm after running a few errands in Guelph and Rob and the boys are back now too. I load the remaining vegetables into the walk-in cooler, close the greenhouse, and check that everything is in order outside.
9PM Rob closes the coops and does a final check of the animals. Now it's off to bed for us!
Whew! This post is turning out to a be long one! For the sake of brevity, I will keep this recipe section to the point. For the fourth week, you are getting green onions in your share! Another week or two, and they will be done for the year. I love the smell and look of green onions and never tire of them. But I know some share members have a hard time using them all up. Here are some ways we use green onions: