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Hard to Harvest

Lately we have been thinking so much more about the land, the soil and the whole plant, not just the portion that we harvest(at least from a non root veg standpoint). But the whole plant leaf, stem, root and all. Actually writing this just now and mentioning root vegetable there is definitely a realization of how easy it is to focus on the goal and not the whole system which accomplishes it. When growing carrots or beets even though we strive for a healthy root, because we can see it. We also want healthy foliage and in fact use that as an indication of crop health. Inversely because we cannot see it when growing something like lettuce or kale we are not always considering the whole plant, most specifically the root. The truth of the matter is that life, this miracle or accident we call Mother Earth is a whole system intricately and intimately tied to one another. We are all privileged with the opportunity to exist and in fact thrive within this system.

Saying that we have been fortunate, lucky, blessed, however it sounds best is an understatement. The land has been cared for in such a wholesome way, which we have the unique opportunity to continue to steward. Being a part of the Good Food Movement, feeling the love and support from all of you the Good Food People, is what helps us get through the day and continue to do what we do. The process from seed to plate is truly such an amazing thing. It seems to take forever until things start popping, then its happens almost overnight. There does come that point though when everything is looking so nearly perfect just as we pictured it. All that conceptualizing and hope reaches it’s culmination and is almost too beautiful to harvest. But you know what they say you cant feed the Good Food Folks without harvesting a few vegetables(well more than a few).

Speaking of harvest as many of you can guess there is a whole lot of that going on around the farm these days. However, we are approaching that special time of year. That’s right you’ve guessed it the great garlic harvest will be kicking off this week in it’s usual spectacular fashion. Last November and December we planted over 200 pounds of garlic in the hopes of being able to save enough that we don’t have to buy any seed garlic, but also to meet the ever growing demand for Star Light Gardens very own Love Garlic. Around half of what has gone in the ground last year was our own saved seed with the rest being purchased from our trusty seed garlic source. Remember the garlic that we will be selling these next few weeks is uncured fresh garlic. That means it would be best to either cure it yourself or keep it in the fridge for longer term storage.

When it comes to keeping cool and storing things the saga of getting our refrigeration back to par has been much more of a long term project than we had hoped. With any luck that all will be solved today with the help of our friend Jimmy and his demo saw. Other problems that have finally been solved is the mystery of the unstartable tractor. Our trusted mechanic finally got to the root of the problem, where mice had done a good deal of wire chewing, With any luck if the rain subsides Joel will be driving the tractor back to the farm this afternoon, most likely to the annoyance of a few drivers. But it is a short ride and the tractor can nearly hit 25 in high gear, our apologies if you happen to be behind us.

What else is kicking into high gear around the farm you may ask, with it being July one major thing is fall/winter plantings. The list of what needs to be started is too long and frankly a little overwhelming to type out, but with July hitting its stride the time is now. This week or early next we will be releasing the chickens and sheep into one of the high tunnels in Middlefield. We’ll let them chow down and do there thing for a day or two before some light incorporation and tarping of those beds. A more thorough prep and watering will follow along with another tarping to encourage weed and volunteer veg seeds to germinate. Then come August we will plant carrots to be harvested in January and February. A newer planting regiment for us that worked out quite beautifully last year. Also the long duration from seeding to harvest allow us to accomplish the more regenerative practice of incorporating animals in the the farm fertility program something that is a long term goal for us. It is our hope that through a system of cover cover cropping and animal grazing we can begin to regenerate and bring back into production the outside field space on Middlefield. Doing so over the next few years will in a slow in methodical way which will be good for the health of the land, the Good Food People not to mention the health and sanity of the farmers.

This weeks edition of Recipes & Nutrition Inspiration by Empower comes from the excitement we had last week when visited from an old friend we haven’t seen in a while, eggplant! We don’t have a large amount at the moment but this Caramelized Japanese Eggplant with Herby Yogurt Sauce recipe will truly get your mouth watering thinking about all the summer crop goodness that is about the come. Be sure to grab some eggplant while you can at the markets, and we will add it to our online store once we have a reliable harvest.

As for reliable harvest, unfortunately our chickens have had a rough month or so. Between predators (hopefully resolved) and heat our remaining ladies are stressed and not producing much. Between that and insect pressure we apologize to those of you who’s preorders weren’t fully met over the last couple weeks.

That July heat is here! Stay hydrated out there people, and have a good week!!

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