May 1st Farm Update!

 

On a drive around the farm today, beautiful signs of Spring were everywhere. The apricot trees are the first to flower!

 

 

peas

Peas

We had a cold start to the season this year and there will be a slight delay because of it. Even for cool weather crops like peas, you have to wait for the soil to warm up enough before you can put seeds in the ground.

For the past two years, peas were planted in the first week of April, but for 2014 they weren't in the ground until the third week. Although this is closer to normal, it does mean that we'll have to wait a little longer for those delicious green pods to make an appearance.

strawberry

 

Strawberries

When the forsythia blooms, we know it's time to rake the insulating layer of straw off of the strawberry plants. The sooner their green leaves can bask in the warm Spring sunshine, the sooner we can bite into a sweet, red, strawberry.

 

 

 

broccolies

Broccoli

This is the earliest broccoli has ever been planted at Kirby's. Thousands and thousands of plants were seeded. Starting in June, broccoli will be harvested every week until cold temperatures kill the plants. We're in for another epic year of broccoli!

 

Peaches

Last year we all enjoyed a phenomenal peach crop - we just about had more peaches then we knew what to do with! Unfortunately, it looks like this year we'll be lucky to find a peck basket in the entire orchard. It’s sad news for us, and our customers. Luckily many of our other stone fruits weren’t hit as hard; it looks like the plums, prunes, and apricots will be bearing a normal crop!

 You might remember a few days this past winter, when the temperature dropped to -11F.  That was too cold for the tender young growth of the peach trees to survive. The trees themselves weathered the winter, but those young buds are the source of this season's peaches.

barn
barn

If you're wondering how we can predict the yield for a crop that won't fruit for months, there is a simple way to find out if your blossoms will turn into fruit.

Sometime in April when the buds on the trees are just beginning to break out, Tim Kirby cuts a handful of small branches. He sticks them in a bucket or jar and keeps them in a warm place. The buds will open enough to reveal the flower. With the help of a magnifying glass and a small knife, you can see whether the inside of the pistil is black or green. A black heart is a sure sign that the fruit doesn't have a chance.


 Thanks for reading! We know our customers like to stay informed of how the weather is effecting the crops, and how the season is coming along. For the rest of the year, we 'll  post a Field Update on the first and third week of the month. See you soon!

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July Field Update

Early sour cherry variety.
Early sour cherry variety.

Hello from the farm! The persistent rain this Spring is a continuing challenge. It slowed things down and delayed the harvest on Spring crops like peas, lettuce, and beets. And then, it shortened the strawberry crop! I don't mind waiting for peas, but I am disappointed that strawberries are already done here.

We've said good bye to Spring crops of Rhubarb, Strawberries, and Spinach - it's time to embrace Summer!

To help you keep up with the changing seasons, here's a loose prediction of what the next month or so will look like.

Peas, Regular and Edible Pod

: Right now we're in our third planting with one more to go. We should have peas for two more weeks (mid-July)!

Lettuce: Our fresh lettuce will be available until mid-July.

Zucchini and Summer Squash are here now and will be until at least the end of July.

Sour Cherries showed up at the end of June. There isn't a lot of the first variety, so they won't be around too long. Later varieties will be here in mid July, and should last about 2 weeks.

Sweet Cherries arrived on June 28th, and they'll be around just into the beginning of August.

Broccoli

Fresh broccoli crowns, available by the pound.
Fresh broccoli crowns, available by the pound.

: our broccoli plantings are shaping up to be pretty epic this year, with a total of about 400,000 broccoli plants in the field.  We're in the first harvest right now! 

Recipes: 

Broccoli SoupBroccoli Salad, and Roasted Broccoli

 

Coming Up:

Pickles

will start showing up in about two weeks.  We're doing a planting each week for the entire month of July, with the last one going in on August 1st. This means we should have a steady supply for all of August and well into September, if Mother Nature cooperates.

3,000 feet of Beets were planted two weeks ago. We're looking forward to having lots to pick in about six weeks!

In our next update, we'll have news on tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, and peaches.

Strawberry Season!

If there's one thing a rainy Spring is good for, it's nice big strawberries. 

strwberries
strwberries

As of this Thursday, June 20th, you can come by the market to pick your own. Bring your own containers or buy a few baskets from us, and spend an hour or two in our strawberry patch picking berries. It's a great way to save a little money on this delicious fruit, and a great way to relax. Our berry patch is full of nice thick straw to kneel on and it's looking pretty weed free so far (good job Farmer Tim)! We recommend coming in the morning, just to avoid the heat of mid-day.

If you'd rather enjoy some delicious strawberries without having to work for it, you can buy them by the quart and flat in the market.

We also have homegrown beets, lettuce, zucchini, edible pod peas, swiss chard, and garlic scapes.

For an even sweeter treat, grab a fresh cookie, turnover or scone. They come in every Tuesday and Friday from Greg'ry's Bakery in Bergen.

Field Update, May 31st

So far the weather has set us up for a pretty average Spring as far as timing goes. Patches of hot weather got things started, alternating with those cold snaps that slowed everything right back down. The rain we had earlier this week was very much appreciated by the plants, fueling the burst of bloom in our strawberry and pea fields. Read on for more details!

spinach

Spinach! Now filling a basket on our produce table, it's freshly pulled from a field behind the market and rinsed in clean, cold water. We only have one planting so it will be here for just a short time... but it WILL be back in the fall! Homegrown spinach is so tender and delicious. And full of nutrients of course!

 

 

peaplant

Next up: Peas! The very first blossom showed up one week ago today. We expect to pick about three weeks after the first bloom, so look for peas around June 14th.



Our strawberries began to bloom right before the coldest weather hit in May. Even with the added protection of a row cover (light-weight fabric that provides a layer of insulati0n) our very first strawberries were killed by the cold. We were sad to lose what is always the biggest berries of the season, but the hundreds of blossoms in our field right now makes us feel a lot better! The strawberries out there right now are already getting some pretty good size to them. We should be picking in about two weeks if Mother Nature continues to be kind.

lettuce

The quilt of lettuce growing in the greenhouse has been planted in neat rows in the field. When you drive by, you might notice two rows of white plastic next to rows and rows of black plastic. That's the lettuce! White plastic will prevent the tender leaves from burning. Black plastic absorbs heat, which can be great to get plants going in the Spring, but it's just too hot for lettuce. Lettuce will be ready for sale around June 14th as well.

broccolibaby

Broccoli is the undertaking of the year! Every week for eighteen weeks, our Captain of Seeding, Ron, is planting 15,000 broccoli plants. This photo shows you just a small percentage of what is soon to be acres of glorious broccoli. We'll start picking around July 1st.

In Season Now

Dark Sweet Cherries showed up last Saturday.

Freeze them, dry them, blend them with lemonade, toss some onto a salad - if they make it home that is!  When the Sweet Cherries show up, Sour Cherries can't be far behind.

July is fast approaching!

We've had strawberries for several weeks but they won't be here much longer. Now is the time to purchase by the flat for jam, juice, and freezing. Freezing is my favorite way to preserve strawberries for the winter. Last year I somehow ran out of time and only got around to making jam. Let me tell you, I missed them alll winter. And I learned my lesson - there are eight quarts in my freezer right now!

Our lettuce is grown right behind the market,

so we can take a short walk out back and pick more whenever we need to. We keep at least two heads of each type available (Green Leaf, Red Leaf, Ithaca, and Buttercrunch), and you know it's fresh! I didn't know what good lettuce was until we started growing it ourselves. It is so sweet and tender and beautiful!

Regular Peas are still going strong!

We'll have them for a few more weeks, so take a few pounds home to enjoy a little pea-shelling meditation on the front porch.

June Produce

Almost everything is early this year so we have to keep you informed! That warm weather early this Spring gave everything a little bit of a head start.

  • Cherries: in the market since 6/20, we'll have sweet cherries for several weeks yet. Sour cherries will be here before July, we hope. A little later and with a shorter season then sweet, you definitely want to catch some before they're gone. We like to eat them fresh, make some into a cobbler and of course... cherry pie!
  • Strawberries: I picked a few quarts this afternoon and there are plenty of big beautiful berries out there.  If you're not interested in picking your own, we have plenty in the market already picked.
  • Lettuce: fresh Kirbygrown lettuce is so tender and crisp. (I have been tempted to eat an entire head for lunch on more then one occasion, dressed simply in a cider vinagrette). Red leaf, green leaf and buttercruch!
  • Peas: Sweet and Edible Pod are here at the moment. Our second planting is just getting started.
  • Coming soon: zucchini, summer squash, early peaches.

As always, call ahead if you're coming for a specific item! You never know when we might sell out of something and we don't want anyone to be disappointed. Feel free to place an order by phone or in person ahead of time and if it's in the field we'll have it ready to go at any time, on any day.