Farming Fun

It is nice to see the sun again today! We have seen a lot of rain over the past few days, and with the girls (Sanne 20, Renske 18) back home helping us on the farm, together with some friends, all the wet clothing has been piling up! In these kinds of days, it’s always good to focus on the better days to come; there is always sun after rain!

The rain has both been welcome and not so welcome. It’s been great for everything but the cherries and other soft fruit like the strawberries of course. Frank is out there today, working out the damage and the strategy for the next few weeks. Cherries are so intensely fragile weather-wise that up till the real pick you can’t really say anything about how well the harvest will be. And if damaged, we will have to wait till next year. Strawberries are different, damaged berries will rot away and new ones will keep on coming for a period of time; it might just e that next week and mybe the week after we will have to do without. Just while they were starting to do really well and come on line beautifully.  

Although some people (??!!) still like to think there is no climate change, it is not so much the warming that is an issue (although it is too), but the extreme weather bombs - small and big: hot, cold, wet, dry, hail, wind that will do the most damage in years to come as they are hapening more often. Farming is not an easy occupation - the risks are huge!

Frank just texted me some pictures and I am afraid to say it does not look too promising.The pictures shows cherries splitting on the tree and strawberries developing soft rot. This is a huge blow as the cherry crop is important to us over summer and a great addition to the CSA shares.

Having the CSA is for us a saviour as we are not so dependent anymore on the cherry crop as a cash crop; with many crops growing and doing well (zucchini, NZ spinach, broadbeans, lettuces, apples etc, etc) we spread the financial risk. 

It’s not as straightforward as it looks though, as with cropping a diverse range of fruits and vegetables comes also that one needs to be extra vigilant on what is happening on the farm, every crop has its challenges and opportunities and requires often specialist machinery/inputs or knowledge to deal with it. Last minute setbacks like the cherries and strawberries (to some extent) make it hard for us to plan ahead.

Helpers on the farm often have no idea what goes on in Frank’s head, but even simple things like the harvesting of this week’s crop(s) has an effect of what will be available next week (or not), and needs to be strategically handled, making sure there will enough to harvest in the weeks to follow.

Last night we watched “The real dirt on farmer John”, a documentary from a few years back that we had actually never watched, and although the documentary is mainly on the private life of Farmer John and the dirt (gossips) the neighbours threw on him, I liked seeing the effect starting the CSA had on his farm and the community of people  around him. Good things can and will happen if we keep believing in them!

For more info on the documentary: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0439774/

In the news

Court battle in Bay of Plenty about GE in the environment. http://press.gefree.org.nz/press/20131126.htm

Does GE food have an effect on gluten sensitivity? http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gluten

Green Day in Alicetown

If you're in the neigbouhood come and say hello at the Green Day in Alicetown, Lower Hutt.  From around 11 am onwards. Weather permitting.

In your shares this week

Fruit Share: 200 grams of Strawberries and either 1 kg of kiwifruit or oranges.

Small Veggie Share: 1 kg of new season Potatoes (or a Lettuce), 700 grams of Broad beans, 1 Bak Choy, 250 grams of Table Carrots, and 150 grams of New Zealand Spinach.

Large Veggie Share1 kg of new season Potatoes (or a Lettuce), 700 grams of Broad beans, 1 Bak Choy, 250 grams of Table Carrots, and 150 grams of New Zealand Spinach, a bunch of French Breakfast Radishes, 150 grams of Kale, 1 fancy Lettuce, 140 grams of Choho Oriental Spinach and 150 grams of Rocket.

Healthy Eating,

Frank and Josje.