This Winter has been the coldest one with an unusual amount of snow accumulating almost every other day. Our precious Winter break was spent shoveling snow off the driveways and around the farm, but rewarded by a cup of good hot chocolate waiting on the wood burning stove. Nevertheless, we were able to capture many beautiful moments that the snow had brought us. Here are some of the photographs . . .
Despite the enormous amount of snow piled up and covering the entire sides of our hoophouses, the inside story is quite a contrast. Look at these gorgeous greens waiting to be harvested and enjoyed. With the sun shining outside, the temperature soars up to the 80’s and warms up the entire space during the day so that our delicate plants can survive another cold night to come.
When these little seedlings grow big enough to be transplanted to the field, we know then Spring has finally come to the farm!
Alas! The little plants that were dormant in the ground are lifting their heads up through the March snow to let us know that Spring in on it’s way. The Winter seems to want to linger which slows the planting season, but we are still busy planning our second year on the new farm. We also have been studying and researching a lot with hopes of providing more exciting “veggies with spirit.”
Most of January was spent repairing the greenhouses that were damaged from hurricane Sandy last Fall, and we even managed to build 3 more which now totals 6 large and 2 small green/hoop houses. Everyone worked very hard pounding the posts through the frozen ground, including my poor son who couldn’t use his hands for a whole week afterwards.
Without the full heat, even the cold hardy plants had to be under extra covers in order to be protected from freezing.
See how they survived under those shrouds and are now thriving? All kinds of greens are as happy as they can be.
“When do you get your little peppers?” is the question most asked by our customers everyday. Well, here they are! In the greenhouse, still suffering a bit from the the cold night temperatures but hanging in there. We can’t wait till they flower and start to bear little tiny peppers that grow into everyone’s favorite, Shishito.
Oh, last but not least, over-wintered broccoli raabs that surpass the sweetness of candy are just starting to shoot out their floret stems. Hopefully, a few more days of nice weather will bring them one step closer to harvest. Yummmm, sauteed broccoli raab, anyone?
Melons are one of the best crops we don’t want to miss in the Summer! They come in all colors, textures, and sweetness, such as beautiful and rare yellow skin watermelons, caramel-sweet froggy melons that one can not resist to ask for more once tasted, and crisp orange honeydew with a hint of smokiness. Oh, let’s not forget the Chameh Korean melon with small edible seeds. It’s subtle flavor and crunchy texture is great for a salad dish mixed with some sweet and hot peppers and a squeeze of lemon. We have planted 13 different fresh pick variety of melons this year, found a few that wasn’t so favorable, but most of them were irresistibly juicy and delicious.
Melon field showing second crop of cantaloupes
If I had to pick only one crop to grow, it would definitely be BEANS. There are so many variety of beans available to plant, and it’s sad that we can only handle a dozen of them throughout the season. Bush beans, pole beans, pod beans, shell beans….I just love BEANS.
Cultivating is one of the most tedious tasks on the farm, but even struggling with weeds can be a happy moment for me as long as it is a bean field.
Summer is not a Summer without heirloom tomatoes, and a salad is not complete without a display of big, juicy, colorful slice of an heirloom tomato sprinkled with a pinch of sea salt.
Our second crop of tomatoes are already on their way. The first crop didn’t do as well as we hoped due to the lack of experience with our new farm’s soil type and early onset of blights. Hopefully, we will gain more knowledge from the mistakes and progress further for the new season to come.
This year, we acquired a beautiful new farm in New Jersey. The farm is dotted with rustic stone and wood barns; and blessed with green pastures, fields for vegetables, and pine woods.
How peaceful it is to watch the horses leisurely grazing on the pasture.
My daughter Lani taking a riding lesson on a Sunday afternoon.
In the middle of constructing the first greenhouse in February. Only eight more to go. Oh what a nightmare it was to cover the frame with plastic on a windy day! It took seven people on their hands and knees.
Tuscan kales, as well as other greens, are growing in the new fields and look luscious.
Fava beans are already in bloom! We’re hoping to get an abundance of delicious beans in late May.
Strawberries came in almost a month earlier this year due to the unusually warm winter. Bees are happy with plenty of flowers to feast on, and we’re thrilled to eat the fruits.
Our absolutely sweet 240 Rhode Island Reds just started laying eggs. We’re trying to teach them the word “sit”, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Still it’s delightful to be with them.
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It might be getting cold outside, but leafy vegetables are growing beautifully in our greenhouses.
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Several crops have survived the devastation of hurricane Irene. We currently have a wonderful selection of winter squashes as well as hard to find Goguma-Korean sweet potatoes with the flavor and texture that resemble chestnuts. Of course leafy greens are abundant (mustard greens, baby bok choy, mizuna, lettuces…) and we still have a large variety of beans and heirloom tomatoes.
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After countless number of rainy days in August that already made the ground wet and susceptible to diseases, our farm was hit by one of the most devastating hurricane which swept away and destroyed more than half of our crops.
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