“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 are happy and well, enjoying the PNW Summer and all the bounty that comes with it!   July 5th marked the “official start to summer” in the Pacific Northwest and we’ve been welcoming it with open arms.

We hope you have been enjoying the delicious CSA harvests for the past 11 weeks! We never tire of the posts in the Members Group on facebook. It’s given us so many new and good ideas and wonderful feelings 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!

WINTER CSA!  It’s almost that time… #winteriscoming We will be opening up registration for the 2018/2019 Winter CSA in the next week!  We’ll send out an email in the next week with all details.

“Cuddling Carrots”, Bringing in the last of the garlic crop and the first handful of cherry tomatoes!

It’s been a whirlwind couple of months for us between bountiful harvests, planting, weeding, watering, seeding etc! (Make sure to follow along with us on Instagram or Facebook) We’re feeding close to 200 households this season (last year it was around 150)! In 11 weeks of harvest we’ve distributed over 38,000lbs of produce to our CSA members! All of that produce has been grown thoughtfully and prepped, seeded, transplanted, weeded & harvested by your farmers. With the shares getting a touch more bountiful with summer crops, that puts us on track to grow and distribute over 100,000lbs+ of produce for the Spring/Summer/Fall season this year!  Whoop whoop.

We’ve been really thrilled with the variety this season – especially considering the variable weather we’ve had and how dry it’s been as a whole (only 5 inches of water since Jan!) and how hot it’s been the past few weeks. 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 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.

The view from the onion and potato block, checking in on the garlic and the guardian of the farm… Ahab

The 10-day is looking like another hot one (with temps averaging in the mid 90’s). It usually gets too hot outside for us between the hours of 3 and 6 so we do our best to take a siesta and find projects inside, take a much needed break and work on cooking an early supper. We’ve been getting up around 4:30 to steer clear of the heat and make the most of the “cooler” mornings.

June through October is probably the busiest time in the season for us… especially when the #julyvalanche hits… 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 we would be the kind that juggles bowling pins on fire.. haha! There would be so many pins in the air this time in the season that you wouldn’t be able to distinguish one from the other.. we’re just working hard to not drop any (or too many) pins.

Cherry tomato harvest and checking on the garlic curing in the barn… over 11,000 bulbs!

Harvesting… we have 3 8hour harvest/wash/pack days every week – harvesting around 4,500lbs of produce per week… and the bulk crops (garlic, onions, potatoes, carrots etc) are just starting to come in or will be in the next month! At the beginning of the month we harvested our garlic crop which ended up being close to 11,000 bulbs (our biggest crop to date!) All of the garlic is curing in the wood barn (proper curing is integral for long term storagability!).

Irrigation.. it’s irrigation season so we’re either moving the Kifco Water reels around or turning on the drip between all the other projects!  Gotta keep everything well watered especially in this crazy heat – water is everything this time of year especially when we have such incredibly dry summers (June through September)!  Unfortunately, we’ve had some fancy computer pump issues on and off the past 3 weeks so Brian has been learning quickly how to fix these issues… we’ve also made good friends with our local pump professionals! As a farmer, over time you become a jack of all trades (the farmer, the electrician, the bookkeeper, the carpenter, the plumber, the accountant, the photographer, the veterinarian, the website designer etc etc)  For now all is well watered and thriving!

Captain Irrigation, setting up the water reel and checking the voltage on our panel… it’s always something 😉

Prepping ground for future crops.. We’re tilling and mowing in old crops, liming, fertilizing and composting for future crops.

Planting crops.. In just one day of transplanting we can plant around 7,000-8,000 plants! We transplant at least one day a week (sometimes two if we have to work around the hot sun)… so week after week that’s a lot of baby plants!

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, washing harvest bins/wash station, filling trays for seeding, mowing etc etc 

The to-do lists are pretty long this time of the year but we wouldn’t be able to tackle it all without our Farm crew!  We were actually a bit short staffed (after one of our part time employees had to step away back in May) from the start of the CSA through June. Luckily, in July we were able to find two folks (+ Leah who’s been here since April!) who were up for helping out two days a week on the farm. They’ve been a huge help with bulk harvests, keeping up on the tomato trellising, wheelhoeing, harvest bin washing and other tasks that really help to fill in the gaps and make us more of a well oiled machine!

Covering up our fall carrots with row cover (to keep pesky rust fly at bay), hiding in the shade during a round of transplanting and finding time in the early mornings and evenings to plant…

Besides adding some part time help, this growing season we are continuing to (re) learn 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 last year 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!

Crop updates: the days keep flying by and the summer crops are really growin’!  The tomatoes and peppers are growing so fast and loaded with flowers/soon to be fruit picked fruit.  The first eggplants are underway so is the sweet corn. The winter squash plants are running and the melons are coming along (it won’t be long now).  The fall and winter crops are just a week or two 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 30,000 more plants for Fall and overwintering crops like Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Cauliflower.

Trying our hand at seed saving my dad’s Eastham Turnips!  We threshed these last weekend.  He’s been growing them for over a decade and we love having them for our CSA!  

One of our smartest investments we made a few seasons ago 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 we planted our 5th succession of sweet corn as well as lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli. A few weeks ago we planted another round of squash, cucumbers and a second succession of melons. Last week, we seeded our succession of fall and winter carrots using our pre emergence flame weeding method (see: newsletter week 6)  We’ll begin flaming them in just a few days before the carrots emerge. Hopefully when they do it will be a pretty and clean seed bed. (fingers crossed!)

If the goats had their own band photo, Gloucester is the keeper of the barn and the view from the tomato patch..

This weekend we’ll be prepping new ground for the first fall transplants, transplanting another round of summer squash and cucumbers, as well as catching up on some weeding, bulk harvest and more seeding of crops in the red barn!

Keep your eye out for information on our WINTER CSA!  It’s almost that time… #winteriscoming We will be opening up registration for the 2018/2019 Winter CSA in the next week!  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

CSA Shares 1 through 10!