Decided it's time for a glamour shot of the mix again! I love the fluorescent pinks and dusty blues of the kale. By volume the mix is currently heavy on what we call "extras", as in non-lettuce. These include dark, shiny beet leaves, frilly red mustard, chartreuse mizuna, frilly and gorgeous nagoya garnish kale, hot pink amaranth, and baby red russian kale. Our lettuce plantings are tight right now, mainly from our scattered attention around the time of the wedding. Funny to realize other's perspectives: yesterday, I mentioned this to a client, and she innocently asked "Did you just get married last weekend?". I chuckled and explained that when you make a mistake in farming, you have to live with it for a long time. We are rationing the current lettuce planting over the next two weeks, and then have a 2-week gap. Luckily, TapRoot saves the day and it looks like there is appropriately-mature salanova lettuce that we can buy for a couple of weeks before the next transplants are fully grown. It means not really earning much those weeks, but it also means consistent supply-- which is of utmost importance when supplying for wholesale-- so, worth it!
Luckily, seeing the carefully labelled and bagged salad is enough satisfaction to keep us moving for another week. We are thrilled with the product we are producing, but we are tired. All of the salad work is done outside of our full-time employment, which means long days and the occasional late night or early morning. We're counting our blessings that it is convenient, located right at the farm, and looking forward to the end goal, the reason that we are doing this-- to have our own farm soon!
We're also very fortunate that there is more demand than we can fill with our mix. I was flipping back over the orders from the past month, and we've gone from week 1 orders through Southfield for 10 lbs bulk, to this week where the harvest was 24 half pound bags and 22 pounds - 34 pounds total. Added with our other orders, we ended up with a 50 lb harvest, and could have had more-- Noggins will take basically everything we can produce at the moment. As Josh said, not a bad problem to have! It's a bit frustrating to not be able to supply more, but our future plantings are on track for 100 lbs per week, and when we are able to do twice weekly harvests in August, it will increase our capacity a lot. Right now, 50 lbs is all we can reasonably do in daylight hours Wednesday night and Thursday mornings!
<-- Here's the salad stack, all bagged up and ready to face the world!
This weekend we plan to continue keeping up with weeding, re-lay some plastic mulch that ripped off a bed, and hopefully weedwhack a row that got away from us and is super embarrassing. My Mom and Dad judge farming success primarily by the weed-free status of the field. They wouldn't be proud of me right now! Photos of the field to follow soon, after that is taken care of. :)
Nothing more satisfying than a freshly weeded field! Here's the next two plantings of salad "extras". Production is FINALLY where we want it to be-- we played catch up for about a month after the wedding, due to the fact that we didn't stay on schedule during that hectic time. I'm really proud of the efforts that we have been putting in, and staying on top of things is so much more motivating than being behind!
On this bed, we had some post-tropical-storm-Arthur damage. We removed the row cover (so Arthur didn't remove it for us!), but by the time it was back on, flea beetles had moved in. The earlier planting of extras is pretty lacy, as in hole-riddled. We planned that we would spray if need be, and so we had to last week. The spray is called Entrust and is approved for use on organics. We treat it as a band-aid when our production plan runs into issues, but would prefer to not use it if the row cover is adequate. Decisions, decisons!
On the bed above, Jon planted 2 weeks ago. Last week, he planted the second half and wheel-hoed the first planting. Yesterday he wheel-hoed both plantings and I in-row weeded the entire patch. This is how we planned to manage weed control, so it's really nice that we have achieved a good system. Good systems make everything run smoothly and maximize all of our efforts, which with our schedules these days is really important.
Eat. Sleep. Work. Salad. Repeat! :)
We've been really thrilled with our relationship with the market/restaurant in Port Williams, The Noodle Guy. Ross is serving our salad and taking orders twice a week, as well as having it for sale in his store. One of these less crazy days we're going to get over there for lunch and have our salad served to us! A blogging opportunity for sure. More soon!
Jon is an outdoor guy. He doesn't spend much time in front of the computer, especially compared to me, and so he hadn't seen the Southfield price list yet. Allison has been featuring us at the top for the past few weeks. We got talking about the good ol' days when we first met working at Blush Lane in Calgary, and how certain companies would feature growers from time to time. Now we're on the other end of things, and it's exciting to see "the best mix in town" on the list!
The lovely Jocelyn snapped this photo today as Jon and I were bagging salad. We worked until 10 last night harvesting and washing, and were back at 6 am to pack... A little tired, but still smiling!
This will be delivered to Pete's Halifax, Pete's Bedford, and Noggins Corner Farm today, so it's hitting the shelves later this afternoon for the weekend!