welcome, and thank you for joining me on my tiny little farm in southern lancaster county, pennsylvania
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Friday, February 25, 2011

to market, to market... and a farm update

Good news - this week I was given the nod of approval from the Board of Directors of Lancaster's Central Market, and barring any unforeseen incidents will be a standholder starting April first! I feel both excitement and trepidation. Excitement because I love going to market with beautiful produce, talking with customers, and all that it entails. Trepidation, because this is a big commitment. Market is open three days a week (all year around) which allows just four days to do all the growing and harvesting. I anticipate that during the height of the season I'll be working seven days a week. Hopefully that will be offset by a much lower workload during the winter when growing slows down and it is mostly about harvesting what was sown in the fall.

What's been started so far...
Planting for the spring season started in late January with a couple of flats of lettuce. Not too much to start with since I still didn't know if or when I'd be able to start at market. Now that a decision has been made, it's full steam ahead!

In the first week of February, rosemary, lavender, and alpine strawberries were started, some to be sold as seedlings, some to be planted here on the farm. Greenhouse tomatoes and peppers were also started in soil blocks - seven varieties of sweet peppers, four of hot peppers, and three types of tomatoes. The tomatoes are growing like gangbusters and will probably need to be moved from my kitchen to be planted in the greenhouse within the next two weeks. If they grow like last year, they should hit the market stand at the end of May!

In the second week of February additional lettuce was started. This year, I'm growing eight varieties - a red and green type each of butterhead, leaf, summercrisp, and romaine, which makes for a very pretty display and an even more delicious salad!

This week, bee balm, thyme, oregano, hanging basket tomatoes, and rhubarb (all mostly for seedling sales) was started in soil blocks, as was more lettuce. Beets, turnips, swiss chard, mustard greens, pak choi, tatsoi, and spinach, was seeded directly into the greenhouse beds to be grown for market.

Seedling sales...
We will once again be attending the Landis Valley Herb Faire May 6-7 as vendors. We'll have over 25 species of herbs, including lemon grass and stevia along with many culinary favorites; luscious alpine strawberries; rhubarb; celery; artichokes; red roselle; cotton; 6 varieties of eggplants; 12 varieties of sweet peppers; 6 varieties of hot peppers; 16 varieties of tomatoes; 11 varieties of melons; 3 varieties of cucumbers; 4 varieties of summer squash; and hanging baskets of tumbling tom tomatoes and everbearing strawberries. With the exception of the hanging baskets, all of the seedlings are heirloom open pollinated varieties which offer superior flavor, promote genetic diversity, and allow for home seed saving.

Other news...
The silky bantam peeps that hatched on new years are doing great. They, along with the adults have been moved out of the greenhouse and back into the barn since the greenhouse is now back in production. Hopefully with the lengthening of days, the adult hens will start laying again - their eggs have surely been missed around here.

Speaking of eggs, the geese have started nesting and Griselda has laid her first egg of the year.

The sheep are also doing well, eating their fair share of hay and growing wool like nobody's business. I need to make an appointment for the shearer to come pretty soon. The remainder of last year's lambs finally went to "freezer camp". Certainly it was a tough decision, but a necessary one. On the plus side, this means that we have lamb for sale, both chops and burger; and in a couple weeks, lambskins - nothing goes to waste.

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