2015 Pekarek’s Produce CSA – Week 9

 

Hey Folks!

We’ve always heard about raccoons eating people’s sweet corn, but have never really had a problem.  They would eat an ear here or there, but not too much.  This week we learned what raccoons can do to sweet corn.  We went to pick some sweet corn that we watching closely and it was going to be just about perfect!  Apparently it was perfect, because in a 1000 foot row of sweet corn, we found 13 ears 😦 The raccoons had decimated the patch!

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On a more positive note, the tomatoes have started to come on like gang busters.  It’s looking like a beautiful crop!  This kind of production usually begins earlier in the year, but the wet spring delayed pretty much everything around here.  At the farm, we like to say “We may not be the first, but we’ll be the last,” which isn’t a good motto for a sprint, but we like to think of this a marathon and we know we can be there at the end.

zucchini

We had zucchini in the high tunnel (greenhouse with no heat) once again this year.  We had hoped to get a bunch to you earlier, but have a hard time getting the bees to go into the tunnel.  Without the squash bees pollinating the zucchini, the plants put on fruit but the zucchini never get larger around than a quarter.  I like to call them mon petit zucchini, Ryan just calls them “Not Worth It.”

I want you all to know that we talk about vegetables, fruits, and managing vegetables and fruits daily in our house.  This is probably not a surprise, but you need to know that we talk about them in the dead of winter, on date nights (in winter), while shoveling snow, at family gatherings, and anywhere else you can imagine.  Just in case that is not enough vegetable talk, I worked at the Butler County Fair last week as superintendent of the horticulture crops.  I’m happy to say that we had more vegetable entries in this year’s fair, than the past 5 years I have been there.

We also had fun at the Dwight Czech festival over the weekend.  In addition to games, food, water slides, and a car show, we participated in the parade at the end of the weekend.  This year, we took the little tractor and water wheel transplanter.  The kids rode the transplanter, Ryan drove the tractor, and Joel (dressed in a carrot costume) and I walked along.  As any good parade float does, we threw out tons and tons of candy.  But if you were lucky enough to be at the parade, you will know that we also threw okurky (or cucumbers for you non-Czech speaking folks) – and I mean threw.  Hope you all have a great week.  Enjoy the produce!

Your Farmers,

Ryan, Katie, and Crew

2015 wk 9


What’s in this week’s bag?

Tomatoes

Broccoli

Zucchini

Onion

Cucumber

Eggplant

Yellow Squash*

Cauliflower*

*indicates items only in the full bag

2015 Pekarek’s Produce CSA – Week 8

Alfalfa-Photo

Hey Folks!

I am happy to say that this week you will all be receiving sweet corn!  Unfortunately, here is where we apologize in advance.  After this week, it looks like the sweet corn will be a little spotty for a bit.  This means that half of you may receive sweet corn one week, while the other half of you receive a different item.  We will track this closely and make sure that it all comes out evenly, so please be patient.IMG_0168

Last week’s heat was hard on everything on the farm – including humans.  The crew has been starting at 6 am for a while, trying to beat the heat and water is everybody’s and every-plant’s best friend.  We are continuing to move pipe this week to set up more irrigation.  For those of you familiar with the movie, Finding Nemo, irrigating follows a motto from Dori: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”  From this point until fall, we basically run irrigation all day, every day – from every hydrant and pump we have.  We think about what we can irrigate overnight, how far we can push water, and we live by alarms that we set on our phones to tell us when to turn off irrigation and move pipes and hoses to a new home.

Alfalfa-Photo

If you didn’t know it, Ryan thinks growing hay is fun.  Honestly, the alfalfa is very pretty – especially the pretty purple flowers!  We’ve baled two times so far and been rained on each time, but it looks like third cutting hay is going to be short, so as usual, as soon as the rain stopped, we need more rain.

This week, we set cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. We put out 110 trays (72 plants per tray) and filled up 2/3 of an acre, or so.  If you are looking for a fun activity, you can come hoe purslane with us (ha ha!) as this is an ongoing challenge.  The pumpkins are late due to a late start and funky weather, but they are gorgeous.  The pepper crop doesn’t look so good.  The weather has been pretty much backwards for what they need.

transplants

Finally, you can come visit us at the Dwight Czech festival this weekend.  There is a road rally Friday night, Sand Volleyball tournament on Saturday, a car show Sunday morning, Bohemian food at Dwight Assumption from 10:30 am – 2pm, kids games outside, a train ride for children and kids at heart, a parade at 5 pm with copious amounts of candy ANNND a surprise treat being thrown from the Pekarek’s Produce float.

Your Farmers,

Ryan, Katie, and Crew


What’s in this week’s bag?

Corn

Broccoli

Carrots

Cucumbers

Zucchini

Tomato*

Eggplant*

Onion*

*indicates items only in the full bag

2015 Pekarek’s Produce CSA – Week 7

 

Hey Folks!

This week we are introducing our newest crew member: Tater.  She is a 10 week old beagle-lab mix that is not even as big as our boots.  Tater instantly found her place on the farm among the potato patch, although she finds that carrot tops provide excellent shade for taking a nap since she is not yet a foot tall.   She has had it pretty tough since joining us on the farm.  The crew, including tater, has been starting work at 6 am this week to avoid some of the heat.  Even with temperatures in the 90s and lots of humidity, the attitudes have been great.

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I have been in South Dakota this week at a national conference for Agriculture Agents and our kids have gone to their grandparents, which means Ryan has been a bachelor. While this may sound relaxing to some, for Ryan, it has meant the opportunity to get more farming done!

Every year there is a constant weed pressure on the farm.  After three hours of hoeing in the heat yesterday, feeling ready to pass out from exhaustion, one member of the crew, Courtney, said “you have to have an eye for the weeds,” which I think is the equivalent to saying sometimes, “you can’t see the forest for the trees.”  – Our crew is wise beyond their years.  Everything on the farm looks beautiful after it’s been hoed.

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We are excited to say that we have started picking in the sweet corn patch this week, so there will be some available at the Seward farmer’s market starting tonight. For three weeks, we’ve been saying that we were going to have to start irrigating potatoes if we didn’t catch a rain.  This week, we finally started irrigating potatoes.  This means Ryan and crew have been moving pipe and checking irrigation.  It’s amazing how easily you can turn on the water, walk away, and forget that you are irrigating until you are lying in bed.   Some of those transplants we are growing in the greenhouse have been transplanted this week, mostly cabbage.  Today the crew seeded zucchini, cucumbers, squash and cantaloupe.

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Finally, I am happy to tell you that today is our 9 year anniversary and to celebrate, we are writing this CSA newsletter and selling vegetables at the market.  Aren’t we romantic 🙂

Your Farmers,

Ryan, Katie, and Crew


What’s in this week’s bag?

Beets*

Cabbage*

Potatoes

Cucumbers

Picklers (Sun Dills anyone?)

Broccoli

Zucchini

*indicates items only in the full bag

2015 Pekarek’s Produce CSA – Week 6

Hey Folks!

Well, even though it feels like fall this week, it’s definitely summer.  We’ve finished picking peas, spinach and radishes for the summer.  These crops really like to have cooler weather or else they get bitter or spicy.  Luckily we have started into the green bean harvest and have been able to grow some delicious lettuce at the same time.

green beans

The greenhouse is currently full of plants for the fall!! There’s almost not enough room to walk through for everything that’s growing.  There’s broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.  We hope to get these into the field by Friday, depending on how the weather goes.  Much of our fall crop will make its way to Super Saver and Russ’s Markets.

20110310 Cabbage

We raked hay last week, which of course means that it rained on it.  Not good for hay, but good for the potatoes – and the rest of the veggies!  So far we have been able to keep putting off irrigation.  But Ryan’s got that weird twinkle (or twitch) in his eye, so it looks like it’s gonna get hot next week and we are once again getting ready to irrigate.

Peppers and tomatoes are being staked this week.  Think about when you grow a tomato or pepper plant at home.  You have to put a cage around it so it doesn’t fall over.  In the greenhouse, we tie the tomato plants to a trellis.  In the field we do something called the stake and weave.  We basically put a stake between every other plant and then weave tomato string from stake to stake to make the plants stand up.  When we don’t get it done on time, picking becomes a full nightmare!

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Sweet corn is tasseling – hopefully there will be limited sweet corn next week.  Kohlrabi looks great!  Beets are looking beautiful and growing like gangbusters.  If you’ve ever wanted to pickle beets, now is the time.  Beets are available for pickling – just give Ryan a call!

Your Farmers,

Ryan, Katie, and Crew

2015 CSA – Week 5

Hey folks!

Thank you to all of you who were able to come out to the farm on Sunday for our farm tour.  We had an amazing turnout and a great time!

2015 PP Tour

Ryan starts off the tour at the greenhouse and packing shed

As usual, there are many activities happening on the farm.  Quite a bit of time is dedicated to harvesting and washing produce at this point.  We are starting to dig potatoes.  It’s kind of a fun process – we use an old horse drawn potato digger that digs the potatoes, tosses them in the row, and then we come in and pick them up by hand.  We grow five different varieties of potatoes, both red and white.

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The green bean harvest has also begun in the last week.  The first official harvest came into the house in a small bowl, but we now have beans at market as well.  Tomatoes took a little bit of a lull over the last week.  The first tomatoes we were picking were coming out of the greenhouse.  Unfortunately, some of the cloudy, cool weather that happened in May made the plants drop its blossoms and we are seeing the effects of not having fruits now.  Luckily the tomatoes in the tunnel are starting to kick into production

tomatoes

In other news… we’ve talked about rain and mud for so long, it’s hard to imagine anything but mud.  It dried off quite a bit this last week.  We did get 0.40 inches of rain Tuesday night.  But as we drove through the countryside we saw farms that are already starting to irrigate.  It looks like we will probably follow suit, as we will probably need to start irrigating potatoes next week.

Ryan at the start of the 2015 tour

The tour goes by the no till pumpkins – can you see them? They are small.

There is a big batch of broccoli and cauliflower in the field that is starting to grow.  Sweet corn is coming along and it looks like we will have a limited supply for next week.  Zucchini are moving forward verrrry slowly – keep waiting, you’ll see some soon.  Those pumpkins and hard squash we planted last week are looking nice. Looks like every plant came up.  The only little problem we’ve had with them is the ground squirrel who decided to eat some of the seeds in ground.

2015 PP Tour2

Sweet corn is one of the first stops on the 2015 tour.

As always, every week we are working out some mechanical issues.  We had to take the big market truck in to get worked on this week, but it looks like it’ll be up and running again by market on Saturday.  There were some frustrating issues with tools that hooked up to the tractor, but those looked to be solved as well… for now!

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As usual, we hope you enjoy this week’s produce.  If you have any questions, feel free to call or email, or drop a note in your bag.  Have  a great and safe Independence Day!

Your Farmers,

Ryan, Katie, and Crew