Our family of six slipped away from the farm last week. It’s not easy to do…the list of what needs finishing before we can be absent for 8 days seems endless. But eventually we force an end to the last minute chores and we drive away. (We did not take any photos while gone, strangely enough. All photos here are from our farm in the past week.) We leave the farm in the hands of our capable crew and hope for no extremely challenging situation to present itself while we are gone.
(They did a fabulous job. Our absence allows them to exercise their independence and learn new subtleties of the operation here.)
We leave here so infrequently…our perspective while away is shaped by the tremendous amount of time that we spend on this little piece of earth. While driving north to visit Dan’s family in New England, we gave as long of a look as we could to the little farm on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike that looks similar to our farming operation. (In a country where highway views of agriculture are dominated by monocrops, a diversified farm is quite noticeable!) As we approached our destination, the co-pilot tuned into the farmers’ market locator website, checking out closing hours for area farmers’ markets.
We visited farms, of course. It’s a bit irresistible. We looked at tomato plants. Kale. Broccoli. (In August?!?) Apple trees were everywhere we went, seemingly untended, and dripping with apples. Amazing.
We even tried to visit a unique compost pile. Logistics ended up not allowing that compost investigation to work out, but how great of a vacation itinerary is that??
Yet…home is home for a reason. By the end of our week we were all ready to be back home. Even the kids were vocalizing how much they missed the taste of our sweet well water. (Kids that miss the tap water from their home! Our hearts fluttered, hoping that perhaps for many decades they will yearn to return home and enjoy a nice glass of water with us.) We leave, in part, so that we can have the experience of returning. For us, so connected to the plants here, seeing the time-lapse of eight days’ change is stunning. And the perspective shift makes everything different again. The kids notice a dragonfly. A large mushroom. Our oldest child spontaneously runs around, cutting anything flowering and potentially attractive in a vase, and places small bouquets (three stems each) in six places around our home. We all enjoy a tall glass of cool water. We take in the little details of the appreciated corners of our farm home. Our oldest gets the privilege of walking around with the camera to capture the images below. Not all is rosy: The carrot germination stinks. Same for the turnips. And radishes. Uh oh. However, the collards, cabbages, kale, and lettuces look great.
We dive back in. We’re potting up new tomato plants. (Yes, in September.) We’re still placing seed orders and seeding like crazy. (In part because there is a lot of season left here in this mild climate and in part because our direct-seeded root crops for the fall have been such a disaster thus far. Thus we need more seed to try again. Cut worm seems to be a significant culprit. Why have they descended upon us with such a vengeance?)
(The photo above is of our honeybees attacking a large Japanese Hornet. These hornets are carnivorous, huge, plague us daily, and threaten our honeybee population. Asian honeybees are known to effectively kill these hornets, but we have European honeybees which are not so adept at that skill. One can watch the hornets stand post outside our bee hives and take out the bees, one by one. Luckily, our bees sometimes rally and give a hornet a little what-for. Photo credit: Charles Aardema, resident honeybee helper.)
If you have managed to read this far, then you likely appreciate us enough to already know about the fall Farm Share CSA and farmers’ market details, but in case this information is hitting some new eyes: Fall Farm Share sign up is going on now! We are planning and working for weekly shares of our Certified Naturally Grown fall vegetables, picked up each week in October and November, with new pick up locations! Wednesday afternoons: at our farm, in Church Hill, and at Perk! Coffee and Lunchbox in Bon Air (promotional booth from last week pictured above! Thank you to our volunteers Mara and Liam for making this happen while our family was away!). Sunday morning pick up: at First UU Church in Richmond by Byrd Park/The Carillon Tower.
Fall Farmers Markets: As the school year starts back up, there is a strange phenomenon at farmers’ markets: Some shoppers stop coming! This is so sad, as we know people still need to eat vegetables, and lord knows we are still growing them (more than in the hottest summer months, in fact). If you enjoy getting our veggies at the markets, please still visit us there on Saturdays, even though it is no longer summer. If the school year and Saturday morning schedule makes it too difficult for you to get to the market, please join our CSA! Pick up on Wednesdays (or Saturday afternoons on the farm, or Sunday mornings in Richmond) are designed to accommodate families with Saturday sports events or weekend get-aways.
Also, remember that we have our cold produce now in our self-serve farmstand! Come visit and see what our refrigerator case has to offer. We occasionally post descriptions of the inventory on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter but the offerings can change daily.
– We are now taking applications for a Work Share position for the fall! Must be available for the ten Fridays, September 18 through November 20, to join us for full work days in exchange for a Farm Share bag of vegetables each week. Please see our website for details, and thanks for spreading the word to capable, pleasant folks.
– This Sunday, Sept 6, we will have samples of our veggies and CSA information during coffee hour, starting at 11:00, at First UU Church, site of a Fall Farm Share pick up location.
– We are participating again in the Richmond Farm Tour weekend, opening up for tours on Oct 3rd and 4th. Guided tours each day at 3:00. For full information, see the VABF website.
Available for Market Share CSA members to choose from this week:
Chard, Collards, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Green Beans, Kale, Lettuce Mix, Microgreens, Okra, Peppers (sweet and spicy), Salad Mix, Summer Squash (yellow and zucchini)…and Naturally Leavened, Organic Multigrain Bread.
Recipe Suggestions: see these and others cataloged on our Recipe Page
*Today’s appetite-inducing recipe suggestions are from Food & Wine magazine. Get inspired and enjoy the goodness.*
Tomato Soup with Feta, Olives, & Cucumbers
Summer Squash Salad with Pickled Currants [Raisins]
Kale Salad with Garlicky Panko
Swiss Chard with Sweet Garlic
Sweet Pepper Salad with Machego and Almonds
Lima Bean and Sweet Pepper Gratin
Braised Collard Greens
Collard Greens with Tomatoes and Garlic
Salade Nicoise (for lettuce, green beans, etc.)
Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts
Vegetables not ordered by our Market Share CSA members will join us at the Brandermill Green Market , Market at Magnolia Green, or the South of the James market this Saturday. Anyone may order select goods from us through Fall Line Farms, Richmond’s online farmers’ market. You can use discount code “broadfork” to earn a complimentary 6 month subscription.