In a nutshell, it's been a very, very, very hot and dry summer. Numerous small isolated storms have missed us here at Quincy Farm. We've had less than 1/10 of an inch of moisture in the last 3+ weeks, and the only rain for 2 weeks prior came in a pair of heavy storms in about 45 minutes, which largely runs off the fields. After last year, though, this is a problem we're happy to have. We're spending money hand over fist for irrigation, but generally the crops are doing great. Our little irrigation reel has been a blessing, and we just invested $1,500 in a big sand filter that will allow us to run more trickle irrigation... An investment we hadn't meant to make, but we found the economical disc filter we'd bought last year just wasn't up to the task. I HATE spending money under pressure, and I suspect we went a little overboard on the media filter, since we didn't have time to indulge my usual overly-researched buying routine... but when it hasn't rained in three weeks and you can't run irrigation because of a hardware issue, and you're watching high-value crops droop and wither, ANYTHING is better than nothing. We may never need the full capacity of this new filter, but it means we'll never be taxing it, and it can run longer without needing to be cleaned. In farming, it always pays to have a little more capacity than you need, and it goes double for irrigation.
Our CSA has been going really well, with almost nothing but glowing feedback through our weekly e-survey. It's so rewarding to have that connection and those members, and so satisfying to be able to grow and harvest food that's going to such a great group of folks. I think that in some ways Cara and I are just not suited to the waste part of farmers' markets--even when you have a decent market, you still come home with perfectly beautiful produce that you just dump in the compost... because there's more, perfecter produce to take the next market. With CSA, we only harvest and wash the amount the share wants (plus some small safety margin), and it all gets picked up or donated to the food pantry. It's less an issue of actual finances than just the emotional difference between coming home with an empty truck and a real personal connection vs a half full truck and a box of money. Maybe it's just the altruistic hippy side of us showing through, I don't know. But CSA members: We love you guys.
Otherwise, WWOOFers have come and gone, our weekend markets are doing well (though the midweek markets could use an awful lot more traffic: Malta and Ballston Spa folks: TELL YOUR FRIENDS!). The van had a blow out with no one hurt, but cost an unanticipated thousand dollars in tires. The greenhouse, skinned with last season's poly (that's only meant to last a year) continues to try to self-destruct before we're done with it, and we keep trying to patch it along. Murphy's law is in full effect, as always, but we try to be prepared for him. Our garlic harvest was bountiful, and the barn's fragrant with the smell of curing alliums... We're just finally starting to see eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes, which we're excited to have at market. Things are just generally busy, busy, busy.
If I ever have the time to do so, I'd like to put up a post about all the great folks who've been here to help us this season. It's a new challenge to manage a constantly-revolving crew of inexperienced help, further complicated that we share not just the workload, but our home. It hasn't been without the odd speed bump here or there, but overall has been (and is still) a very positive experience. Cara and I are still killing ourselves with work, but compared to last year it's like being on vacation. We even found time to go mini-golfing a few weeks back! What a life!
Now that we have the newsletter up, the goal is to use the facebook page as a brief This Is What We're Up To Right Now, the newsletter as a weekly update concept, and let the blog be a less frequent (monthly?) and more thoughtful format. Not like this post.
So, yes, we're still here, and sorry to be so silent on most fronts. Getting all of our emails onto the newsletter list is somewhere on the priority list, and hopefully you'll all be receiving them shortly!
Thanks for your support!
Luke & Cara