Posts Tagged ‘compost’

Bean Time

It’s that time of year at Stone’s Throw Farm: farm members are getting a lot of green beans in their CSA shares, and some are starting to come out to pick their own beans for preserving. My nephews were here visiting my parents again recently, and Franklin (almost 6) helped me pick beans one day. All he needed was a “measuring stick bean” to help him determine if each bean was big enough to pick. Apparently he told my dad that next year, he’ll be able to pick all of the beans for me. In the meantime, I’m thankful that one of our farm members is a massage therapist!

Most of my time is spent picking cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and so forth; my mom helps with picking and does a whole lot of weighing and bagging on harvest days (thanks, Mom). My dad takes care of the pigs and the field work so the show can go on.

The recent rains really got some veggies going, and today’s sun should agree with most everything. Too much of a good thing can be a downer, though; Sunday night we got over 2 inches of rain at the farm, and didn’t need a drop of it! The pigs are probably happy that they have a regular pond in their pen now, so that part is positive. They’re getting more damaged produce now (I know the beets in the second video look good from a distance, but trust me . . .), which they also enjoy.

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I didn’t get any action shots of my parents at work at Stone’s Throw Farm because I was too busy just trying to keep up with them, but here they are with Elden and me at Stone’s Throw Farm at the end of the day on Friday. Despite all the nice weather we’ve been having, it was chilly most of the time my parents were here, and the wind was relentless. The weekend was beautiful after they left, of course.

I forgot all about the first task my parents and I tackled together — fitting some strips of rubber belting under the endwalls of the hoophouse to keep the weeds out, and putting down old railroad ties down to hold the edges of the plastic.

Here’s what the inside of the hoophouse looks like after my mom rototilled it.  It was not a fun task — the soil was pretty compacted and there were lots of sod chunks — but she insisted on doing it.

 Here’s the start of our deer fence.

Some logs and sapling poles we saved while clearing a spot for the septic mound.  We didn’t really want to use any of our cleared land for the mound, so we decided to tuck it into the woods behind the treeline even though we hate killing trees.

Before they left on Saturday, my parents stopped at the farm to load all their gear into their pickup. Dad also insisted on helping me hook up the cultivator and run it through the area I had disked to see if it helped break up some of the sod and rye clumps (it did, some). They left me feeling way ahead of where I expected to be on April 17, and with a promise to come back with feeder pigs in June. Can’t wait!

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Lately it seems that every time I turn around I’m reminded of my time at Caretaker Farm in 2007. This morning I found an article posted last week on the College News blog by a Williams College student about local farmers withstanding the economic storm. One of the interviewees was my mentor, Don:

Caretaker Farm in Williamstown, Mass., has built a strong relationship with Williams College. Don Zasada, the farm’s owner, said, “We receive (Williams College’s) food scraps to add to our composting system.  The economic downturn has not had an impact on this. They have been very committed to bringing us their food scraps.”

What’s more, personal values about environmental stewardship, human rights, and animal rights aspect motivate people to make long-term commitments to locally grown food; such values—so fundamental to people’s worldview—remain intact despite economic changes.

Zasada said that a CSA enables consumers to “understand how the land and the workers were treated on the farm.”

Check out the article for more on the benefits of “close connection between consumer and food,” and remember, college students:  thanks for the compost, but please don’t throw your silverware into the bin. “Fork weeds,” as we called them, turn up in the veggie fields by the dozens.

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