Sunday, May 30, 2010

Field Operations

Farm work is busy. When there are things to do (which is almost always) there are tons of things that need to be done at once. Priorities are a MUST and we wander about picking and choosing out battles all day long on the farm. A Saturday afternoon project yesterday was to apply row cover to newly planted and emerging seedlings. I think it was arugula the guys were trying to save from insect damages. It typically gets munched into a doily full of holes by flea beetles. Other plants like cucumbers and squash are attacked by cucumber beetles, and the list goes on and on. When is it worthwhile to spend the time and energy to save a crop from these pest damages? Wayne and Jesus work together in the above image to attach a large roll of brand new row cover to the tractor for application. Tis the season of insect pests and if we want to have certain crops they will need protection in the form of exclusion.

Once the tractor is rigged to apply the row cover it can actually drive itself while the guys follow along and cover the edges so that it will not blow away. All of this extra time and labor and the resources are good examples of why farming organically can be challenging and costly in the broader scheme of food production techniques. These row covers will be re-used around the farm again and again until they out live their life cycle and a full of holes and tears. The guys will have to remove the covers in order to harvest and once the crop is done. It is a lot of extra work, but lets the crop thrive without the damages of our local insect pests.

Meanwhile, Roberto got called off of field operations to go pick more strawberries! He is our number one berry man when the time comes around to re-stock inventory throughout the sales day. We try to pick enough for everyone while also not over-picking. But it is trivial because we never know hen a large strawberry order might hit a the end of a day. You can often see Roberto out filling boxes of sweet berries from out the back of the farm stand. I'm certain he loves his sweet job as he was probing and calling for months as we anticipated the first berries of the season. I never find hesitation is asking for MORE berries AGAIN.

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