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Welcome to our blog! Learn about our farm operation, public programs, and the people behind our work through the Notes from the Field and Education sections. Peruse the Recipes section for some staff favorites.

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!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Notes From the Field - Summer Time on the Farm

As I begin my day in the wash station, I write 7/17 Lettuce 20 (meaning date, veggie type and number of heads) on the blue packing bin, and yes it's mid-July. How did this happen? Remember when we were all shoveling and tunneling our way out of the snow? And we now are in the height of the season: full on with harvesting, bed making, planting, weeding, irrigating, fertilizing, seeding, and the list goes on. The change in seasons never ceases to amaze me, like a new born baby or a tiny seed of a collard plant all grown up to elephant size leaves. It's breathtaking when you really think about it. There is such immense change in such little time. The summer weather has definitely arrived along with full mornings of harvesting that are beginning to spill into the afternoon. This means of course more delicious vegetables and more variety, but less time to get everything else done we still need to do. However, our crew seems to increase with each week. We are now at our maximum capacity, at least I think so. The youth crew started with us this week. Yay! Welcome Youth Crew! I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with these young people one day a week, whom for most is their first exposure to farm life, and also their very first job. Together we got to know each other over harvesting collards, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and even garlic. They will be working in the barn on Saturdays and also at our Outreach Market which is kicking off today! More on that next week.

Some highlights from this past week were transplanting the first round of fall brassicas. We were able to plant broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and water it right away with our water reel irrigation system. Weed crew, field crew, and volunteers got a ton of weeding done (probably close to a true ton) in the leeks, carrots, onions, and flowers to name a few. The flower share opened this week. Some fields are beginning to be flail mowed and disked in and ready for a second crop such as a light feeder like lettuce or spinach. We had some spectacular beet harvests of golden, dark reds, and candy stripes. The kale bunches are becoming more bold and beautiful by the week and we also started the once a year garlic harvest, which includes pitchforking all three rows of garlic, then very gently pulling each head of garlic up, being careful not to bruise them so that they can store through the winter. Then finally we lay the heads with stems out in the greenhouse for a couple weeks of curing. Erinn and I direct seeded our last bean planting and more carrots. This went super smoothly thanks to Tim who was able to fix one of the shoes on our seeder so that it's just the right depth for those teeny tiny carrot seeds. And finally, our farm family was able to finish out the week's greenhouse seeding of our 4th generation of spinach, 11th generation of lettuce and more kohlrabi, endive, and escarole.

Through all of these activities I always find myself struck by the concept of time and its magical powers. Back in the wash station, Anna (not me, but our field crew member Anna) said something that was quite wise, and something I didn't think about until recently. She said something like this, "I only worked as a waitress for three days in Paris and hated it, but in those three days I learned so much. I learned to do as many things in one movement as possible." I thought about this more and how true and important this is throughout our farm day and maybe even to our society. It's so easy to get lost in time on the farm even though we have the sun and moon to guide us through the day. As farmers we are on the go. Moving from one task to the next, trying to be most efficient with our time so that we can grow as many beautiful and healthy vegetables for our CSA shareholders and people who can't afford organic produce at this moment in time. It could be that time moves with such velocity because of our pace, or our attention to detail with the amount of water our seedling trays have or what kind of beetle is on our bean plants, but maybe its because we can pass the time in all weather with people who share similar values. There is one constant on the farm which is that no moment is ever the same and that we must roll with whatever is thrown our way - whether it be a disease, a heat wave, or hundreds of cucumbers to harvest - we like to be kept on our toes and connect with our surroundings.

I would love to hear from you all when I'm out in the field about your experiences and memories on the farm. Please flag me down anytime. I would love to meet more of the people who are a part of this beautiful community. Join me this Saturday July 25th from 9am until noon for our 2nd Crop Mob of the season.

Enjoy the harvest,

Anna, for all who are involved in our food system.

Anna, a Field Crew member, washing beets in the wash station.

A beautiful beet harvest.

A snapshot of the once a year garlic harvest.

Our first okra harvest.

Field Crew and farmers harvesting garlic.

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