Friday, August 29, 2014

Best Red Kuri Crop Ever

Summer is coming to a close but that means the height of the harvest is just beginning. We are swimming in all kinds of tomatoes and peppers, we still have tons of cabbage even as the fall cabbage is about the be ready, and the onions and garlic are harvested and curing. It's been a record year for all of those things, but the most exciting for me is our best Red Kuri crop ever.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What a Beautiful Day!

What a beautiful day to be outside! The sun is shining, its not too hot, and there is a nice little breeze blowing through. Unlike the past few days where it was hot and muggy!

So for my farm day today I was back over at Rippling Brook Farm. When I got there Aaron and his children were picking cabbage, again (this is like the 10th time, or more!) I wasn't sure what to do so he sent me over to weed the jalapeno peppers with one of his daughters. I don't like hot stuff but those peppers looked good!

After that we started weeding cabbage (almost thought I was back to that first day.)

And while we were weeding, we stumbled upon this little fe-llow (female fellow :) .....

This is a female Black and Yellow Argiope spider (Argiope aurantia.) Argiopes are orb weavers, meaning they spin their webs in a beautiful circlular design. Argiopes are also one of the few spiders that are active during the day. They are commonly found in fields and gardens, like the one we found today.

Another characteristic of Argiopes and day active spiders is they spin stabilimenta. Stabilimenta is a thick, zig-zag shaped web, which you can see in this picture. It is uncertain what the stabilimenta is used for for certain, but speculations are that it is used for either stabilizing the web (stable is the root word), attracting prey, or discouraging predators by the reflection of UV rays. Either way, its a pretty cool feature of the Agriope.

I learned about this spider, and many more, in one of my classes at SRU. I am glad that I am able to put my learned knowledge to work and that I could share this knowledge with you. Also, like most spiders, Agriopes are venomous to their prey, but to humans, the bite isn't any worse than a bee sting. So if you see one in your own garden, please do not harm this beautiful creature!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Road Trip!

This past Monday I had an opportunity to drive out to the Lancaster with some of our farmers to check out another organic cooperative that is out there. This cooperative is called Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, and it is HUGE!

Before we went to the warehouse we stopped at one of the cooperatives farms, who is owned by someone that Aaron has spoken to before. We were shown around the fields and green houses (I couldn't understand what they were saying because they were speaking German) and some of the crops that are grown on this farm include cucumber and carrots.

 The next stop was the LFFC Warehouse in Leola. When we arrived we were greeted by the, I think, Manager Casey. He then showed us around the different coolers and packing areas. This warehouse is definitely bigger than our own, but it would have to be to have enough space to store the produce for almost 6,000 CSA shares a week. Yep, that's right. 6,000! We only pack around 600 a week, and there is only three of us! At LFFC there are nine people in a packing line and they have a roller table, which gives them a slight advantage. And I didn't see it personally, but Casey told us that the packers can pack a box in 6 seconds! That's really fast considering their shares are bigger than ours and it takes us at   least thirty seconds. But I guess when you have 6,000 shares you learn to hurry!

Aside from the really long drive I had a good time and it was nice to see the other side of thee state again. I learned a lot and hopefully I can implement those learnings here at CRO (like pack a box in 3 seconds) :) Probably not but I can sure try!

             And since today is Thursday I was at one of the farms. Well this time two. I started at Toby's helping his daughter pick shell peas (which are for their own use, not for CRO) and then we went up to James' farm. Whatever was originally planned didn't happen because of the rain so we weeded the small blueberry patch and planted some cauliflower and broccoli. Then afterwards I helped them shuck peas. Hopefully next week will be more productive. Keep an eye for my post to see if it is!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Peak of the Season Registrations Open!

Our Peak of the Season CSA shares include some of the most anticipated veggies of the summer. If you'd like to try a CSA but can't commit to the entire 6 month season, you have some picky eaters in the house, or you missed signups for the full season CSA you may have come to the right place. 8 weeks of tomatoes, peppers, green beans, summer squash, cucumbers, carrots, sweet corn, greens, lettuce, watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, ground cherries and more.

Email us at for more info/questions.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

SCAPES! What are they??

Garlic patch
 Today I spent the morning at Ivan's farm picking garlic scapes. Ivan has a garlic patch that is approximately an acre. There are about 8 sections with four rows in each, and many, many garlic plants in each row. That's a lot of garlic!
Garlic scapes
But the cloves are not what I was after today, it was the scapes. Garlic scapes are like a stem that grows out of the top of the plant, and each one has a seed head near the top. As the scapes grow, they start to curl around, and that's when you know they are ready to pick and eat. You can cook the scapes or eat them raw (they aren't as strong as the cloves, I tried one.)

 I made it through three rows, between two sections, and that took me four hours! That shows how much garlic Ivan grows. But it was a peaceful morning out in the field, listening to the birds (and the rooster.) The only downside is that I still smell like garlic. At least I don't have to worry about vampires! (Let's not mention it's the middle of the day :))

Just to add some anticipation, blueberries will be ready for harvest within the next month or so! So be on the lookout!