Our crew had its first week to market yesterday, our tomatoes are flourishing in Tunnel Two, and I got to hang out for part of my afternoon at a dairy operation. I couldn’t be happier.
On Thursday Jay and I spent most of our morning in one of our high tunnels preparing our tomatoes for some serious growth. We tied strings from the ceiling bars over every plant, then clipped the string to each plant’s main stem to kick start their race to the ceiling. We also pruned the plants by pulling off the “suckers,” which are extra branches that grow out of V limbs. They waste the plants energy that it could be using for fruit, and tend to make the plant grow in wild directions. In a few months these tomatoes will be twice as tall as me, and we’ll have to stand on ladders to harvest them. I can’t wait to see it.
Friday was our first Harvest Day – the day we collect all of our market wares. Keith took us through the herbs, mesclun beds, lettuces and onions and showed us the best way to grab and band a handful of herbs and cut a head of lettuce without damaging the outside leaves. It was slow going for the first time, but we all started to get the hang of it by the end. Then we clean the mesclun, sort the herbs, and load the truck. Matt, Chelsea and Keith left at 4am Saturday morning for market – with a little snack from Boyhouse (which Matthew and Jay named with my begrudging consent – thankfully I’m the cleanest boy in Boyhouse, haha). Rhubarb Honey Muffins with Honey Butter and Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. Oh La La.
So with my day off I tended the greenhouse and at 4pm headed over to Freedom Hill Dairy for its 4:30pm milking. I met Rick and Julie, the delightful owners, and a bunch of city folks from some intentional communities and mission groups who were helping with a neighboring nonprofit farm. More on that after some more investigation. I hung out with the twenty-somethings and watched Rick’s milking process, and then, of course, played with my favorite calves – even shot a little YouTube video of Sally, if you haven’t seen a Jersey cow before.
On the way back I was stopped, not by a train crossing, but by a cow crossing. And I couldn’t have been more amped. And with the bags of herbs drying in the basement and the bags of leftover mesclun in the fridge, I am excited to start cooking more farm food, for real.