“In his view, we were already a success, because we were doing something hard and it was something that mattered to us. You don’t measure things like that with words like success or failure, he said. Satisfaction comes from trying hard things and then going on to the next hard thing, regardless of the outcome. What mattered was whether or not you were moving in a direction you thought was right.”

― Kristin Kimball, The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love

Hey Friends & Farm-ily,

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday with friends and family.  July 5th marks the “official start to summer” in the Pacific Northwest and we’ve been welcoming it with open arms.

The end of June through October is probably the busiest time in the season for us… where summer meets winter in a sense as we continue to harvest & plant summer crops/successions while seeding and transplanting all of our Fall and winter veggies. If farmers we’re jugglers there would be so many balls in the air this time in the season that you wouldn’t be able to distinguish one from the other.. just one giant ring of balls floating in the air. Harvesting… we have 3 8hour harvest/wash/pack days every weekand the bulk crops (garlic, onions, potatoes, carrots etc are just starting to come in or will be in the next month!) Irrigation.. it’s irrigation season so we’re either moving the rain birds around or turning on the drip between all the other projects! Prepping ground for future crops.. We’re tilling and mowing in old crops, liming, fertilizing and composting for future crops. Cultivation… We’re weeding and cultivating with the finger weeders and some hand tools to keep those crops healthy and productive! Trellising… all those tomatoes, one row at a time, as soon as we add another line of trellis it’s like magic *they need another line* – all the plants are growing like crazy this time of year. Not to mention the emails, newsletters, social media, doing the books, making sure we eat three square meals a day, animal chores, washing harvest bins/wash station, filling trays for seeding, mowing etc etc 😉


Taking a moment after an epic harvest day to celebrate my birthday and send all my good thoughts to my pa..

This growing season we’ve been re-learning how to take moments for ourselves when we can which feels like a healthy and positive step in the right direction as far as balance and our long term goals go.  This doesn’t feel like the easiest thing to maintain once the crazy month of July hits and the to-do lists seem never ending.  It really does help that our systems improve every year which certainly gets us eating dinner earlier in the summer or taking a mid-day break, as well as having energy to do other things every once in a while. As we talked about during the Farmer to Farmer podcast a few weeks ago we’re remembering how to say YES to things unrelated to the farm… which isn’t always easy during the busy season as a farmer but necessary to a full and balanced life!


Life happens though and sometimes there is no other choice but to stop whatever it is you’re doing, to slow down and just be for a bit. Last Tuesday evening we did just that… after an epic CSA harvest Brian and I took the canoe out for a ride down the river and to celebrate my birthday and turning 33 years old. It was calm and serene. It had been a whirlwind of a week with the usual to-do’s and CSA harvest and just a day before my Dad (my family lives back east) arrived at the hospital where he got the news that he needed open heart surgery.  As I sat in the canoe I thought about my Dad.  The next morning my pops was headed in for his surgery. Being the avid nature man that he is (he is a commercial lobsterman back in my home state of Massachusetts) I thought it was fitting to see a deer, several beavers, ducklings, weasels and even a magestic bald eagle as we neared our property. It felt like a good omen and the right way to ring in a new year – discovering new places, practicing the art of being in the moment and feeling connected to the ones I love the most. His surgery was an unbelievable success and he’s already back home on an 8-week recovery.  These moments prove that trying to achieve a more balanced and flexible lifestyle while farming is so important.  I hope that sometime soon I am able to fly back home and see my Dad while he is recovering.  I love you dad!

The first bits of color are happening in the tomato patch.. shouldn’t be long now!  4 of a kind and Gloucester being Gloucester..

So, it’s July and the days keep flying by and the summer crops are really growin’!  We can’t believe how many flowers there are out in the tomato and pepper patch.  We’ve never seen so many before!  Even our determinant varieties of tomatoes are giant and loaded with flowers/soon to be fruit.  The winter squash plants are running and so are the melons.  The fall crops are just a few weeks away from being planted… fall broccoli, kale, collards, romanesco, cauliflower, cabbage to name a few.  Over 10,000 plants!  Over the next few days we’ll be seed starting over 18,000 more plants for Fall.   And then another 10,000+ for winter in the next few weeks.  One of our smartest investments we made last season was a vacuum seeder by berry seeder http://www.berryseeder.com.  In 15 minutes I can now seed 15 trays which means in a few hours I can get done what would normally take me a few days or one really long day spent in the greenhouse.  It makes a huge difference on my back (no hunching over trays), feet (less time standing in one place for hours on end) and my attention span (repetition, repetition, repetition)!


This past weekend/upcoming week we’re planting out our 5th succession of sweet corn, dry corn and popcorn as well as lettuce, dill, cilantro, squash, cucumbers and a second succession of melons. We seeded our first succession of fall and winter carrots yesterday using our pre emergence flame weeding method (see: newsletter week 6)  We’ll begin flaming them towards the end of the week before the carrots emerge. Hopefully when they do it will be a pretty and clean seed bed. (fingers crossed!)

Garlic harvest, pull, load, unload, clean, layout, repeat, the sun going down on on the starts… 

We had an incredibly productive week last week and put the pedal to the metal…. Brian, Becca and I harvested our garlic crop which ended up being close to 7,000 bulbs (our biggest crop to date!) All of the garlic is curing in the wood barn (proper curing is integral for long term storagability!).   As some of you may remember the rust came through two years ago and stunted our crop of garlic leaving us with pretty puny bulbs and no seed garlic to plant in the Fall.  This past year we utilized a few methods, occultation, stale seed bedding and flaming methods mentioned above ensuring that we would keep the beds free of weeds and healthier garlic!  Sure enough this season they were a lot happier… especially with the weeding help from the finger weeder and a little bit of hand weeding towards the end of Spring.  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! We also planted out the brussel sprouts, put drip down on a bunch of crops, planted a 4th succession of sweet corn, greens, summer purple sprouting broccoli, regular broccoli, weeded a bunch of beds, seeded a couple hundred trays and prepped a bunch of beds for planting into this weekend.

Fun CSA note: In 8 weeks of harvest we’ve distributed over 22,000lbs of produce to our CSA members! All of that produce has been grown thoughtfully and prepped, seeded, transplanted, weeded & harvested by 2 ½ sets of hands. With the shares getting a touch more bountiful with summer crops, that puts us on track to grow and distribute over 90,000lbs of produce for the Spring/Summer/Fall season!  Whoop whoop.


Fingerweeding the celery and celeriac, and Brian checking for tomatoes (are you in there…?)

We’ve been really thrilled with the CSA shares this season – especially considering the incredibly wet and wild spring we had (wondering at some point in March if all we’d have for the first CSA was lettuce and radishes!).  It’s been awesome to take a look back on the CSA share pictures over the past few seasons to see the impact of all the systems, the knowledge and know how and how they have come together.  One of the reasons we take weekly pictures of the CSA shares is so that we have something tangible to look at at the end of the season.  It’s become a huge resource for us as farmers… where we look at it over the winter and say “awesome, we had 20 weeks of broccoli last season..let’s do it again!” or “let’s work real hard and figure out how to have more Spring/early summer carrots when they can be so labor intensive (due to cooler +wetter soils = poorer germination and more weeds that outcompete the crop)”.  It’s a pretty invaluable tool for us as we continue to grow better and work smarter and are able to offer a stellar product to our members year round.

We hope you have been enjoying the CSA bounty for the past 8 weeks! We seriously never tire of the posts in the Members Group on facebook. It’s given us so many new and good ideas which is so refreshing. Beyond that it’s amazing to see it all come full circle and get a glimpse into your kitchens to see how the produce is being utilized and enjoyed. Thank you all for being awesome!

The shares are transitioning from spring to summer!

WINTER CSA!  It’s almost that time… #winteriscoming We will be opening up registration for the 2017/2018 Winter CSA in the next few weeks!  We’ll send out a newsletter with all details.

Until next time… keep up with our daily adventures on facebook or instagram. Ta ta for now!

With kind regards,

Your Farmers

Jess & Brian

dirty hands, clean hearts