My goodness gracious. It has been so hot and DRY lately, things are dying all around us. Lawns are brown, trees are loosing their leaves, the people are wilting themselves. Team WWOOF is so bored, I can tell. They spend a lot of time, all day usually, watering. You see with the CSA, we can’t let things die on us. Our customers are depending on a crop. Let me rephrase that. We could totally let it ALL die and the customer would have to understand, because they signed a piece of paper, and something like drought is part of the liability. But we’re too nice, and since we have a lot of help and it’s too hot to do much else, we put a hose in their hand. It’s funny, because as I type this out, it is currently raining. The rain, which has only been going on for about 20 minutes or so has prompted me to write about the dryness, because I’ve been needing to. One of our CSA members asked me the other day how things were growing. I let him know how tough it’s been and how some things are just wilting away. He totally understood if the bags were empty for the next few weeks. He shared the story of his garden with me. He said he and his wife had been gone for three weeks. Even though they had someone watering it for them, they returned and their garden was dust. This “heat wave” that the weather man has talked about has lasted for two months now. It’s more like a heat tsunami! This wave won’t leave. I guess my message to you dear reader is respect the fact that there is produce at your grocery store, and there are many, MANY factors that go into its survival. Uh oh, the rain knew I was talking about it, it just stopped : (
We have lost Annie, but gained Jake and Patrick, brothers from Springfield Missouri. The brothers have been here a week now and are enjoying their time here on the farm. They have a fun story, sorry guys but I’m going to tell it. They both worked for Expedia, the travel web site. They worked in the call center to help you book your trip. Well, they both got fired on the same day and decided it was time to move on. They said that their higher-ups did them a favor because they saw how unhappy they were. So they started to travel themselves , instead of helping all of you book your vacations. They also drastically changed their lifestyle choices, including their diets. Jake was over 400 lbs. Through good old eating right and exercise, he was able to drop over 160 lbs! Talk about a monkey off your back! I’m so inspired by their enthusiasm and will power and in turn they are inspired by ours.
Annie D’s last breakfast with the team. We miss you already, happy trails.
(L-R) Jake, Patrick, since nicknamed the “Missouri Angels”.
The greatest job on the farm.
Oliver likes to hang out while people are working. He makes sure this ship sails smoothly.
I’m glad he does, because we can get cute pictures of him doing super-cute things.
Paul put him to work picking green beans.
Jake displaying his tomato harvest.
We are currently selling produce through numerous avenues. A few local grocery stores are the proud recipients of Ozark Alternatives potatoes, as well as a few local restaurants and of course the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market. The tomatoes seen here were sold through our CSA, Northwest Arkansas Local Harvest. We also have sold some through the Farmer’s Market.
We have an endless supply of potatoes in the ground her at Ozark Alternatives, and they’re for SALE (*wink*). Marine, Annie, David and I were digging potatoes, until Annie and David broke for dinner duty. We took a little breather when David brought out some wine, we were pretty much done for after that.
After we pulled the garlic out of the ground, the next step was to bunch it together and hang it to let it cure. Once garlic is pulled, it is not dry like the kind you buy from the grocery store, it’s moist, still usable, but for any kind of storing purposes you must cure it. In order to cure garlic, you need to hang it in a shady spot, where it won’t be rained on and that gets plenty of air flow. Proper cure time is two to three weeks. We had a couple of places to consider, one being a tool storage area in the goat barn, the other being under the front porch of the office. We chose to hang it under the porch because it would get more airflow. Mckenna, Marine, Annie and David were the WWOOF team dedicated to getting this task done.
This task looks easy, but it was definitely a learning curve. Last summer, I hung the garlic by myself up in the attic of my house, near the opening with fresh air hitting it. It worked, but I think it was too hot up there for it. Garlic has to be kept somewhat cool…as cool as it can get in the summer heat.
Since these pictures were taken a few days ago, Mckenna has left the farm. She was needed in Arizona a few days ahead of schedule then she had planned for, so like the wind poof. It wasn’t a sad goodbye, they can be sometimes, but we seem to have a pretty good “swing back through rate”. So, like others before, McKenna will be coming back through at the end of July. She plans on taking David and Marine to her native Kentucky, Louisville, to visit and see the sights. She’s even going to bring them back that crazy girl…but I’m glad somebody is, they have a two month commitment here.
Shiori and Keyohei have also taken leave of us after six weeks of service. However, as old friends leave, new friends arrive, to swing a mattock in the heat of the day, all with smiles on their faces.
Father’s Day, does it always fall on a Sunday? Sundays are our Farmer’s Market day, so we watched all of the daddy’s with their children, young and old. Channel 5 news was there, a local news outlet here in Northwest Arkansas and they interviewed Paul, Oliver and Isaac about Father’s Day and what they were going to do for their Dad. I have a link posted. We were the first to this market with tomatoes. Lest you forget we sell at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks, every Sunday, from 9am-2pm. Also, I take that back about the first with tomatoes, that accomplishment was shared that day. Another vendor had tomatoes also, they weren’t quite ready, but it’s important to be first. The people are tomato hungry right now and I don’t blame them.
Paul and Isaac at the farmer’s market on Father’s Day.
Later in the day we sat and prepared garlic to cure. Here is Shiori doing an amazing job.
I was really pleased to know that a neighbor of a friend of mine reads my blog. When I saw him recently the first thing to come out of his mouth was how I had a “buy local” sticker on my foreign automobile. The second thing was “You need to update your blog, and with close-ups of all of your hot volunteers!” I’ll try my best Dale, and for the record I think he meant hot, as in it’s hot outside and therefore they are hot…it’s just a guess. Like I had said before, on day one of the CSA we received Nora and Will from Brooklyn. Shiori and Keyohei were here as well. A few days after Will and Nora’s arrival, Hayley also arrived from Albuquerque.
Everybody, this is Will. He’s planting cucumber seeds.
Crew cleaning onions while Oliver just watches.
These were some great people and great volunteers. Thank you Will and Nora for bringing Brooklyn to the farm, and to any future Brooklynites who are interested, BRING IT!
My apologies, now let’s move forward. These pictures are of the kids and I planting their garden, and the beginning day of our CSA. This day we also welcomed two new WWOOF‘ers from Brooklyn (represent) Nora and Will.
Paul adding fresh jam to the sacks for the CSA customers. Did I mention this was day one?
As of present, we just finished week 6 of delivery…maybe that’s where I’ve been.
Today we were supposed to welcome two WWOOF’ers coming from Little Rock area, originally from Japan, Shiori and her friend Kyohei. Unfortunately someone hit her car as they were preparing to leave town. So, we will welcome them on monday instead. In other news, Farmer’s Market take two tomorrow. Paul, the kids and I will b e standing out in GORGEOUS weather hustling. I’m so glad the weather will be nice. Last week, if you read, rained and only a few people showed up. Hopefully the crowds manifest themselves tomorrow. Also, to all of the Mother’s out there, Happy Mother’s Day! I can’t forget to call mine tomorrow, I’ve been so busy, I didn’t even mail a card…I feel bad Mom. I LOVE YOU. It’s because of her that I have a green thumb. What a true inspiration she has been in my life. Shiori, Kyohei, we will see you Monday afternoon. To all of my other WWOOF’ers past, I hope your journeys are going well. Thanks for the post cards ; )
Our first Farmer’s Market experience was a fun one. There were only a few vendors there because there was rain in the forcast. We decided to go to break the ice and meet some of the vendors. The rain kept the folks away, but there were a few diehards who came out, umbrellas in hand. We mad a whopping $25. It’s no fortune, but it’s a start.
Tomorrow we start the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks Farmer’s Market, weather permitting. There is a high chance of rain, but not until 1pm or so…so “they” say. All day today we have been doing chores getting ready for market. I haven’t gone to this farmer’s market before, even as a patron, so I’m not sure what to expect. I’m full of all sorts of apprehension, trying to drown it with a doughnut and blogging.