September Farm News
We have had quite a busy summer here on the farm and it’s not slowing down yet!
We are currently at the peak of our harvest with the vast majority of our time focused on harvesting, washing and packaging produce. Our roadside stand is open from dawn to dusk, 7 days a week and requires restocking several times a day. Our customer base has grown over the years and the farm stand has become a local favorite and our most consistent outlet. We also spend Wednesday evening and Saturday morning at the Village Green in Vashon town, selling our produce at the Farmers Market. This year the Vashon Farmers Market continues to grow and expand and we have seen our best sales to date. We are selling direct to two new restaurants, Gravy and Bramble House and occasionally to the natural food store, Minglemint. We look forward to working with the Middle School students this fall who will be managing a farm stand at school to share this beautiful produce with the Pacific Crest community!
Here’s a glimpse of what we are harvesting these days…Salad mix, carrots, beets, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, radishes, cucumbers, squash, strawberries, plums, pears and apples! YUM!
In addition to all those delicious fruits and vegetables, we are collecting a couple dozen eggs every day from our laying hens. Our turkeys are growing quickly and brings a new energy to the farm. We are enjoying their happy little gobbles and clucks as they cruise through the walnut orchard in unison. The spring lambs are growing fast and soon will be a big as their mothers. A few are still nursing and all are full of energy and have become quite adept at breaking out of their electric fencing, much to our dismay. With the coyote population growing and now a cougar hanging around, they better stay in that fence!
There have been a number of school gatherings on the farm this summer. We had our first two “Picnic on the Farm” events and both times welcomed a great group of families out to explore the farm and learn more about its operation and the many opportunities for students here. In July we hosted the first Middle School farm camp, led by teacher Chuck. Eight students joined us for an entire week, managing their camp and meals but still meeting us every morning at 7am to begin the day with yoga before heading out to plant, weed, and/or harvest. They swam at the local pool in the afternoon, harvested veggies for dinner and enjoyed each other’s company at the fire pit at night. On Saturday they joined us at the farmers market and groups of two took turns helping us work the booth. They really enjoyed seeing all the crops they had worked with over the week in a beautiful display. It really was a great week!
The first week of August was Elementary School farm camp. Sonya and Jen organized a fun camp for 14 elementary students with help from 8th grader Anna Wilk and her brother, Pacific Crest alum, Sam Wilk. The group helped us with a big invasive weed removal project where we pulled and cut flowers from patches of tansy ragwort. They gathered fallen apples for the chickens and a big load for another farmer’s pigs. We also worked on a big swath of blackberries that were taking over the pond’s edge. Speaking of blackberries, they gathered many and hand-churned some delicious looking ice cream, to follow one of their dinners at the outdoor kitchen.
The farm hosted a family campout that was bid on and won at last year’s auction. We had a fun group out and a delicious meal served up by Seonaidh Davenport, Brian Sharon and Scott Hasenkamp. The wall tents were decorated with lights, the campfire was burning and there was even an amazing farm-fresh plum crisp for dessert!
With all of the work that goes on here on the farm, Bob and I are grateful to welcome interns each season. Our interns work full-time with us from March into November. They participate in all aspects of farming as well as leading students and volunteers with weeding, harvest and other projects. It’s a big commitment on their part and we couldn’t do it without them! This season we have Jacquie Henning from Nebraska and Jessica Davidson from Gig Harbor, WA.
As September approaches we are planting our final successions, beginning to think about compost and fall cover crops, planning for the return of regular school groups and looking forward to welcoming everyone out for the annual Cider Press on September 17th. See you then!