Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A New Adventure Begins

Long story short, early in 2012 when Trillium Haven Farm closed their CSA and opened a restaurant, I took the opportunity to set off on my own. That summer, my wife and I started looking for a suitable property and were fortunate to find one in early 2013. We moved there in August and named the place Blackbird Farms. I squeezed in an abbreviated season that year, selling at the Fulton Street Farmers' Market, and I will be offering a limited number of shares of my own CSA for 2014.

All the details about the CSA and ongoing coverage of this new adventure are available on our web site: blackbirdfarms.net. Please come on over. There is a place at the table waiting for you.

Monday, April 11, 2011

High Winds.

I get nervous on days like today. The strong winds make the greenhouses shimmy in alarming ways. At the wind speeds we experienced yesterday and today, none of the houses were in any real danger of being damaged, but I like to keep an eye out. Every so often, Growing for Market will publish the photo of some poor soul’s greenhouse under which the wind swept, then lifted and crushed onto the roof of a nearby barn. These photos give me pause.

Of all the different kinds of weather we work in, I think the most irritating is the wind. Autumn’s cold and wet can be demoralizing, but when the wind flares out of the west, raising whitecaps on Maplewood Lake and scouring everything with the fine silt of the muck fields, stinging your eyes, infiltrating every seam in your clothing, filling your mouth with dust -- that gets old fast.

These winds are drying out the soil nicely, though. This week, our plan is to start planting in the fields, starting with fava beans and peas, and maybe some early salad greens.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Boon or Boondoggle?

After a short pause, we are back to seeding the CSA’s crops: early broccoli, the first round of lettuce, and the second of scallions. We needed to wait until the heater in the new greenhouse was hooked up, which happened this earlier this week. “New” in this case really means “not so new anymore,” since building this greenhouse has taken us over two years and no little amount of trouble. Finally, everything is installed, running, and ready to go -- electrical lines, ventilation system, air circulation fans, and, now, the new propane heater. Last spring, we used this house as an unheated space for hardening off seedlings before planting them out in the fields, and last winter we grew cold-hardy greens in it, but with it heated, we can now use it to start seedlings, which is a boon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The cedar waxwings have returned.

There is a spot on the farm, just across the drive from one of the greenhouses, where Michael planted a few American cranberry bushes. Their fruit is not good for much other than attracting these lovely small, swift birds. When I walked past, the bushes were full of birds, and they were flying back and forth between the bushes and the greater shelter of the woods behind the greenhouse.

One of my field guides reads, “it is not unusual to see a row of them perched on a branch, passing a berry down the line and back again, bill to bill, in a ceremony that ends when one swallows the food.” It also claims that “the birds wander in flocks whose arrivals and departures are unpredictable,” though on the farm their coming is one more sign that the winter is truly ending.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Welcome to Spring!

I know that the weather forecast is calling for colder temperatures by the end of this week, but I think we have turned a corner on the season nonetheless. At the farm, even the largest of the snowdrifts melted away long ago. The garlic we planted in the fall is now pushing its green fingers through the thawing soil. A few days ago, I saw a red-winged blackbird, and today I saw a robin. Last month the farm slumbered. Now, I can feel it waking.

In the greenhouses, there is no question that spring is here. In the past month since we cleaned them out and switched on the heaters, we have seeded all the farm's leeks, shallots, and onions, as well as the celery and celeriac. This week's agenda includes parsley, kale, and the first round of frisee and radicchio. And before we know it, we will be out in the fields.