Is it really time to start Farmers’ Market already!? Where did the winter go?

So, winter has come and gone (almost didn’t even notice we had a winter), and it is time to start appearing at the public marketplace to sell farm products to the community.  Most people get excited about spring, myself included.  The weather is warmer, things start to grow, birds are singing, flowers blooming, and grand plans hatched in the cold, dark evenings of winter can finally commence.  What actually happens though, which I am finally beginning to grasp and seemingly particular to my situation, is the weather warms unseasonably early and especially warm for about two weeks in April.  Many things get done then in anticipation of many more weeks of warm, pleasant weather and worrying about all the work that needs doing before the market starts.  Potato seed and onion sets are acquired; early season seeds are germinated at 80 degrees, potted-on in tray flats, moved to the high tunnel, and then to the outside racks; plots are cleaned up, burn piles and last seasons perennial growth are lit ablaze; flower beds are cut back, raked out, and tidied up for another go; overwintered growth emerges with promise to give a little back from last years efforts; livestock is ordered, barns and brooders are cleaned and everything starts to happen all over again.  Then, it rains for a week and the temperature hovers around 48.  The fields that were almost ready for onion planting and potato planting and compost spreading and cultivation and seeds are now a muddy mess.  Transplants begin to pile up with no place to go.  Early small plantings of seed sit in the ground wondering why you took them out of their packages and introduced them to this inhospitable environment.

And then it dawns on me: oh yeah, THIS IS SPRING!  Hurry up and wait.  Pick your spots.  Git while the gittin’s good.  Hope it dries out before it gets too hot to have spinach or peas or spring carrots or broccoli raab.  You could say there is some anxiety involved…

But then, you see that you have some overwintered spinach, and onions and lettuce, the asparagus is up and going like gang-busters, the rhubarb is out of this world, and all the greens, arugula, lettuce, and radish seeds put down in the greenhouse are starting to produce a crop.  The strawberries look really healthy, raspberries are pruned back and all the fruit trees are also looking pretty ship-shape.  250 chicks are due any minute!  We just bought 2 bred Scottish Highland heifers and one of them already had its calf within 12 hours of arriving on the farm.  We are getting 75 ducks this year: a first.  We’ll raise turkeys again after a year hiatus from them and we’re looking to expand our egg business by next fall.  All and all, things are pretty normal around here.

THIS IS FARMING!

A few things we will have to offer you on Saturday:

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About saltforkfarms

A small organic farm in Iowa that raises Standard Breed laying hens and hybrid broiler chickens suited for a pasture-based system, as well as varieties of vegetables and fruit suitable to our Eastern Iowa climate. We grow food, we eat food, we sell food!
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