June 30, 2013

Early Sunrise Mornings

Sunrise over the farm
I (Anna) was up early this morning, due to Julia's determination to ruin all hopes of a good night's sleep. It was very early.  Early enough to watch the sunrise after the coffee had finished perking in the french press.   The glow of the greenhouses caught my eye and I could hardly change lenses quick enough to keep up with the rising sun.

Farmer Vince, on the other hand, has been up almost this early these past few weeks just because there are so many time-sensitive things to do right now.  If there is daylight you might as well use it, right?  Saturday and Monday morning CSA deliveries needing to be ready at 10am sandwich the Sunday market for which we also need to be ready by 10.  These early mornings are fueled by our desire (and need) to harvest most everything the morning we sell it.  This may change a bit when we have refrigeration some day.  On the bright side, (pun intended) up-with-the-sun mornings sure beat harvesting-by-headlamp mornings.  Needless to say, we will really enjoy our weekends "off" come the second half of November.  

June 12, 2013

Farming by the Weather

Rain is so important, but at the right times. Last year, June was so wet we felt so far behind.   And with all that great rain come the other plants that like the hydration: weeds. If it's too wet, we can't get in the fields to weed without ruining the soil.  By the time we can get out there, we are searching for carrots with a magnifying glass. (Hence an increasing number of crops we are transplanting rather than direct-seeding.)
That's a lot of lush spring green...

This June feels a little better.  I think Vince had a farmer's tan in May already.

Here is Vince's quote this evening. I can't promise to be exact, but as his wife, I guess I can use my literary license to get as close to the real quote as possible:  
"It's funny how when you're farming, the weather seems so important now.  I wanted it to rain today [like it was expected to] but not until I got my seeds in the ground. Now that I got them in, I want it to really rain. A good rain. But not so hard that it washes my seeds away.  It doesn't matter what the weather is doing, it is never good enough."  
By the way- he was out seeding until it was too dark to see the rows last night- all because he knew it might rain today.    Farming by the weather. Maybe I should have called it farming with the weather. 

June 1, 2013

Fruit! Berries, Cherries, and Kiwi to name a few...

As much as we love all kinds of vegetables and get excited when it is time to harvest something for the first time each season, for some reason, fruit steals the show every time. Oh- that reason is probably our sweet tooth. Or teeth, should I say, as the whole family- and most of our customers- seem to have this love affair with sugar.

We ate our first strawberries out of the field last night.  That is what got me (Anna) started on this fruit tangent. The strawberries were a little on the sour side, but that didn't bother the kids at all. Fruit is fruit. Although, to offer perspective, rhubarb (no, not a fruit),  is eaten straight out of the garden by our kids. They walk around gnawing on a stalk. Now that's sour.

This is not the row we ate from. These are new plantings that we will hopefully harvest in the fall.

Kiwi ready to flower

Vince tightens the wire that makes the kiwi trellis.
One fruit we are excited to harvest for the first time is kiwi. They have been growing up this trellis for the past three years and hopefully, with enough pollination, they will bear fruit this year.

See a June, 2011 post about the trellis.
We're working to increase the amount of fruit in our fields.  Our little orchard trees, while finally protected from the deer, won't bear fruit for a while yet. Berries are a little quicker.   This big bunch of blueberry plants has been prepped to be planted, but Vince is rethinking the space where he wanted to plant them.  While moist ground is good, it seems a little too wet and he is worried about lack of drainage from the area.  So they sit happily in their pots, waiting.
We can't wait for the cherries to ripen. Every day the kids check to see that they're still small, hard and green. And the minute they are big, soft and red we will have to fight the birds for them.  There was an Asian pear tree, two huge cherry trees and two plum trees near the house when we moved in. They were a bit out of control, so it has taken a few years of pruning to get them to where we might be able to reach some of the fruit.
The battle with the birds is not new to us. Here is a post related to netting this very tree.

May 29, 2013

Our New Brand

Our talented brother Nick designed a new logo for the farm.  Our goal was to develop a consistent brand that is easily recognized and can be used on all of our signage and our few products that are packaged.  Nick's aim was to create a rustic, earthy feel with bold letters and to tie in our view of Cascade Mountains which are a backdrop in our fields. 

Here is part of our mountain view. Pretty sure he nailed it!

Our next step was to create and print new signs for the farmer's market. When they arrived from Nick, we borrowed a friend's serger and finished the edges, punched some new gromets, and got a pretty cute model to hold it up. Do you think he'll stand there the duration of a market?

When celebrating new things, we can't forget to look back and see where we've come from.  The logo below, designed by a great friend, Theresa Anderson, will always hold a special "first logo" spot in our hearts.  This was created from the beginning when our first great crop was broccoli.  And more broccoli. Before we had a real outlet for lots of broccoli.  It was a good thing that many people (Theresa included) loved it. Hence, the Caruso Farm Broccoli Fork was born. And it served us well for quite a few years.

May 26, 2013

Diversified Farming

There is a lot more to farming than driving the tractor up and down the rows. Especially at this time of year. The morning yesterday was spent checking each new planting, evaluating the condition of the plants, and prioritizing what needed to be replanted, planted for a second (or third) harvest, and what to plant next and where.

When you are working with limited space, planning is important to get the most out of the prepared rows as well as timing for harvest and maturation time of each crop. Diversified growing is so important to us and what we are doing, but it requires a lot more organization than seeding multiple acres of the same crop.

April 6, 2013

Planting Spuds

The stretch of dry weather at the end of March was so welcome around here and we didn't waste a minute of sunshine.  We put Dad/Opa/Chris on the tractor and set him loose.   

 It was truly a family planting activity and the kids were just as excited to be playing in the dirt again.  This year we took the risk of planting our own storage potatoes that had started to sprout.  We are hoping it pays off and that they are disease free because there are now a lot of potatoes in the ground.
It appears she needs a more seasonal hat...

 Not a bad spot for a well deserved snack break, if I say so myself.

March 26, 2013

2013 CSA

Click on this membership form for a printable version and more information
At Caruso Farm we are planning for a new growing season and some planting has already begun.  We're excited to get our hands dirty both planting and harvesting and we hope you will join us this year.  Our Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, subscriptions will begin in June, depending on weather.  As a member, you will receive a box of freshly harvested produce once a week for 20 weeks.  Joining any farm CSA program is a commitment.  That being said, we have found that members seize the opportunity to learn to be an adventuresome cook, and better yet, enjoy being a healthy adventuresome eater!

We think our CSA is a special one in that our farm is entirely run by our family and nearly everything in our boxes is grown on our land.  You will not see California grown produce, but what you eat will be grown in our fields just a few miles from your home.

The link at the top of the page will take you to our registration form.  It also explains a little more about how we grow our produce and why we grow it, as well as what it means to be a CSA member of Caruso Farm.  We invite you to join the CSA experience.