Hello Friends & Farm-ily,

Happy Summer Solstice everybody! It’s the first official week of summer – hurrah! And it was also a full moon last night – the strawberry full moon – such magical mystical happenings all around.

Jackson update: He’s separated from the herd and doing much better! Last week we had the vet as well as the local hoof trimmer. He’s basically been on bed rest and we’re seeing some signs of improvement – much more solid movement. Keeping our fingers crossed.   It’s looking like a long road ahead but he’s mobile and we couldn’t be more thankful.

This time last year farmer Brian was building our coolbot cooler and with the crazy list that June brings we can hardly believe that was actually happening. Necessity is the mother of all invention though and when you’re experiencing the hottest spring and summer ever you do what you gotta do. Now we can’t imagine farming with out it!  This summer we have a few pretty big projects lined up.  Our first on the list is to build two 30×96 high tunnels.  Earlier this Spring we received a grant through the NRSC’s High Tunnel Initiative that will fund this project and will allow us to grow even more through the winter months under covered space which is coveted on the farm. Having any bit of insurance when you’re working with nature, the elements and everything in between really helps to mitigate risk.  Exciting times!  The materials arrived last week so we hope to start putting posts in the ground in the next few weeks.


In the meantime, our propagation greenhouse is filling up again! Over the weekend we began seeding kale, collards, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, romanesco etc for the Fall season.   As well as transplanting another round of broccoli, lettuce, onions, pac choi etc. Farmer Brian has been busy prepping beds for fall and winter carrots and other root crops.

We’ve had a lot of success with carrots this year mostly in part to integrating new systems on the farm (#growingbetter).   One of our biggest variables on the farm is weed pressure.  It’s hard to keep up with the newly germinating weeds (especially with direct seeded crops) which lead us to flame weeding last season.  Stale seed bedding and flame weeding have been integral to our success with direct seeded crops like carrots. Carrots can take 8-21 days to germinate (i.e. emerge from the soil) and in that time 4-5 successions of weeds have already emerged and have a jump on the carrots. This is where the two methods come in to rescue us from a lifetime of hand weeding and sadness and lots of carrots for our CSA members.


We start with stale bedding:

  1. amending/spreading fertilizer and compost, tilling the soil and making the beds,
  2. setting up overhead irrigation and watering the beds to germinate weeds
  3. Wait 5-10 days
  4. Seed carrots into the weedy beds – plant a handful of beet seeds at the top of the bed. Since beets always germinate a few days before carrot seeds you use the beets as your sign to flame weed. Once the beets come up it’s time to flame the bed before the carrots emerge!
  5. Flame! It is not necessary to burn the weeds.  The flame only needs to overheat the tissues and rupture the cells of the plants (weeds).
  6. Carrots emerge and they have way less competition to grow up and be delicious carrots!


So far we’ve had success with these two methods! Before we incorporated this system into our direct seeding plan the newly seeded bed would turn into a carpet of weeds (pigweed, amaranth, grass, bind weed, thistle) before the crops even had a chance.  Now that we’re flaming, a little handweeding/wheelhoeing once a week on these beds and we will be able to keep up with the crops.  In new (sometimes scary or overwhelming) situations, when it comes down to it, you just have to trust yourself and try something new and trust that it will all work out for the best!   For those interested, here’s an article on Flame Weeding from Growing for Market

There are many steps to getting any projects done on the farm but we’ve found the more thoroughly and thoughtfully you go about it the less backbreaking work you have to go through in the end. When you have many stones in the fire though it’s easy to miss a step (and instantly regret it). It’s a fine balancing act! These steps definitely give us hope though that things will only continue to get better as we work smarter, not harder.

We’re excited to say that we’ve harvested most of the garlic out of the field. We have 1,200 bulbs to go and we’ll be finished for the 2016 season. All of the garlic is curing in the barn (proper curing is integral for long term storagability!).   As some of you may remember the rust came through last year and stunted our crop of garlic leaving us with pretty puny bulbs and no seed garlic to plant in the Fall. This year we utilized the stale seed bed and flaming methods mentioned above (farmer brian actually flamed the beds multiple times over a 2 month period) ensuring that we would keep the beds free of weeds and healthier garlic! Sure enough this season they were a lot happier. The rust still came in on the breeze but it was far later this year well after they sent up scapes which meant they were way more established and well on their way to being harvested!

Hurrah!  Growing better for the win!


Pastured Pork!  With the coming of summer it’s officially grilling season!  We have over 10 different kinds of pastured pork sausages available on the WHF Online Farmstore as well as many other beautiful cuts of pork.  We slow cooked some pork shoulder butts over night and had the most amazing pulled pork sandwiches the days to follow.  Be sure to check out our farmstore here:!  All orders can be conveniently picked up on your CSA pick up day.

The sowing, flaming, prepping, weeding and seeding continues this week… not to mention the harvest – ohhhh the harvest… all 3,000lbs for our amazing members! Here we grow week 6!  Keep cool out there and enjoy the first official week of summer!

With kind regards,

Your Farmers

Jess & Brian

dirty hands, clean hearts