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Waltham Fields Community Farm (incorporated as Community Farms Outreach, Inc.) is a nonprofit farming organization focusing on sustainable food production, fresh food assistance, and on-farm education. For more information about Waltham Fields check out our website!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Notes From the Field - Ravbit Four

As I look out on the farm early Friday morning, the sun spreads its rays with a fullness, there is a bounty of deep greens and excitement in the air for the future harvest, but there is much work to be done. The mornings are some of my favorite times on the farm. Still with a coffee in hand, cool air, and a peacefulness in my body. There aren't many people around yet, but the plants are all there, waiting for the sun to intensify and the hustle and bustle of the day to begin. After the steady rain on Monday the crops were able to embrace this special solstice light that allows us to nourish our body and soul. This time of year the bulk of our crops are settling in and are beginning to go through what I call their growth spurt. They are slightly awkward, trying to anchor their roots and spread their leaves at the same time, finding their place in the world both below and above the earth and then ready themselves to produce fruit. Its always a magical time of year.

On June 15th our four-person Field Crew started just in time to kick it from snail 2 to rabbit 4 (tractor lingo) meaning we are in high gear. We are now harvesting everyday. Just as our workload doubles so does the crew. It felt like extended family has come back to stay a while as we all begin to form relationships over transplanting beets at Lyman. Weeds exploding like fire works, numerous families of vegetables ready to go in the ground, pests active and hungry like the potato beetle, and lettuces, garlic scapes, scallions, kale, collards, chard ready to be harvested. We are in the mad dash of farming now and there is no turning back. Luckily this past week was sunny and in the 70's: perfect weather for the adjustment to what I like to call "farm gym." This week were firsts for the radishes and beets. We transplanted an immense amount of life each day this week, it felt like some kind of Olympic planting record: Sweet potatoes are in at Gateways in Weston, finished the eggplant, some shallots also now have a home. Beets, fennel, scallions are in at the Lyman Estate. Dill, cilantro, and beans were direct seeded. Round two of cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash are done. More lettuce, and even fresh eating ginger are in the little hoop house! Thanks to the field crew we are able to get all of these plants in at this crucial time.

It is the Weed Crew's forth week now on the farm and they are going strong. June is their time to shine since the weeds grow like mushrooms, coming out of the cracks and crevices of every inch of soil. They start small and you look away for one day and suddenly they are looming over you. It can be daunting, but that's where the weed crew comes in as well as flame weeding (yes, killing weeds with fire) and tractor cultivation, all time consuming, but necessary modes of action in order for our vegetables to have the most space, water, and nutrients. We finished out this week with our 2nd annual crop mob (the first of two this year). Its kind of like a flash mob, but instead of dancing we are weeding. We had a great turn out of 25 people and were able to get through 7 beds of garlic and 3 beds of beets. Thanks to those who came out and hope to see you at the next one on July 25th.
Before: Beds of garlic competing with weeds for sun, soil, and water.
After: The great work of volunteers from Crop Mob help our veggies grow strong!

As we bend, twist, lift, sweat, and breathe together we become quick companions, as if we were all on a trip across the country through mountains, deserts, and streams right in our own back yard. As lunch approaches, conversations of food always arise. What will we make for dinner that night? Or what is your favorite way to prepare the foods we are transplanting that day. We become in sync with the land and community we live in. At times, growing vegetables is completely overwhelming, but once you learn to simply let go and surrender to the complexity of nature, it is an incredible way to be. It's a life style, a state of mind that inevitably brings you into the present. You realize the true beauty of transformation. When you step back and out of yourself even for a brief moment, you can begin to listen and observe who we are as a whole and become more aware of the importance of diversity and solidarity.

With light, happy solstice and happy cooking,

Anna Kelchlin, Assistant Grower

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