A Start of Fall Catch-Up – The Summer Was Awesome, Let Me Tell You About It

I did that thing I do where I fall off in the summer. But it’s all for good reasons this time. Here at Crooked Row we’ve been working like mad, running two Philly markets and meeting all sorts of wild and interesting people. We’ve been learning about different growing methods, what people are looking for in their farmstands, and what gets people excited about food.

It’s been lots of fun and grossly tiring. It’s September – the marathon is winding down, but I can’t wake up without the sun no matter how many alarms I set, and my back and legs perpetually hurt. I am talking a lot of salt baths and drinking a lot of water with magnesium powder and starting to drop in to hot yoga classes at West End Yoga to fix this. I am catching up on mountains of filing and paperwork and already editing and creating promotional materials for the 2015 season.

This season has already been such a transition from our first foray in 2013. The diversity of growth, the successful and the failed growing experiments, and the prepping of new areas are all setting us up for an even more bolstered season next year. I already can’t wait.

It’s hard to talk specifics after so much lag time in the posts. Here’s some idea of what we’ve been doing.

The tomatoes came in half-heartedly and left quickly.

The brief season of crazy tomatoes

The brief season of crazy tomatoes

Next year, (shakes fist), next year will be better.

Next year, (shakes fist), next year will be better.

The garlic was beautiful and great and this year I’ve got some new seed stock that I just picked up TODAY from the guys Dan and PJ at Garlicspot, out my way. Music, Hungarian Purple, , and of course the staple Keith Stewart Rocambole will be in the CSA bags and at the stand next summer. Jazzed? I surely am.

hanging garlic

Hanging garlic just looks so cool, right?

garlic stock

Chesnok, Rocambole, Music to my ears…

mom garlic

The greens are coming in great for the fall. In a couple weeks I’ll have fall brassicas that got away from me last season. I still haven’t perfected having lettuces and a good pile of salad mix during the hottest months, but I’m working on it.

carrots lettuce

And the potatoes. Man. I love growing potatoes. I love how happy they make people, with the colors and the flavors. My dear chef friend at My Grandmother’s Table says the Carolas are second to none when it comes to making gnocchi. And I started digging my fingerlings this week for the CSA, and they look awesome.

fingerling potatoes

I’ve learned about streamlining, and promoting, and marketing, and all that necessary work that you have to do out of the field. I had a really amazing opportunity to attend the Sam Adams ‘Brewing The American Dream’ Business Speed Coaching sessions ten minutes from the farm Tuesday night. I met some incredible folks doing really important work with business incubators, economic development, business strategics and planning and more, and for two and a half hours I had the opportunity to pick their brains, pitch the farm and talk about how to network with food connections, create a stable business plan and, eventually, get myself to a place where I am financially stable doing the thing I love.

My speed session card - each person I sat with had something great to share and teach.

My speed session card – each person I sat with had something great to share and teach. And the food was fantastic. Check out Thomas at the Book Shop when you get a chance.

God, that sounds good. And looks even better in writing.

We’re trying out some dehydrating and dried herb and tea blends. Stay tuned for where you can pick them up.

dehydrator

Plans, schemes, expansion. We’re winding down and building up at the same time. And the scenery never stops being amazing. This winter will be one of adventures, and I’d love to take the time to share more about Crooked Row and some of my friends who are doing amazing things with their own farm endeavors. Won’t you stay awhile?

sunet

Yours in Purple Majesty, Rocambole and Red Russian,

Farmer Liz

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