2017, June

Farm update – 6/11/2017

This week we’re offering $5 and $10 Whole Farm baskets. For the smaller basket, choose two items from the list below. For the larger basket, choose four items.

  • Yellow squash (1 lb), zucchini (1.5 lb), squash medley (1.25 lb), pickling cucumbers (1.25 lb), slicing cucumbers (1.5 lb), cherry/grape tomato medley (8 oz), large bunch parsley, or herb sampler.

This week’s highlight for us has been making a line of cutting boards. They range in dimensions from small cheese boards to standard cutting boards to long and skinny boards, ideal for filleting fish. And they are just in time for Father’s Day! Each comes with a jar of food-safe cutting board finish, made from mineral oil and our very own beeswax, which will help ensure the life of the board. For more info, check out our cutting board gallery.

Besides the pleasure of creating cutting boards, this has unfortunately also been a wormy week, from armyworms to wax moth larvae. I don’t know if armyworms are so named because they descend upon your crops in leaf- and fruit-eating droves, or because you feel as though you need to deploy your own army to combat them. Maybe it doesn’t matter:  both scenarios are true. They found our tomatoes this week in a big way. About half of our gorgeous, unripe, huge Gold Medal slicing tomatoes had to be stripped from the vine and chucked into the compost because they were full of armyworm larvae. Knowing how anticipated the tomato harvest is, losing that many tomatoes was pure heartbreak.

On top of that, our hive inspection this weekend revealed that our orchard bees, that tough, strong, productive hive – our very first – was a total loss. Lost to wax moths, an opportunistic pest that moves into weak hives and literally eats away at them from the foundation up. Furthermore (yup, that wasn’t all) our woods bees still haven’t built any, none, new comb in the empty super we bestowed upon them many weeks ago. It’s enough to make me want to sit down with them and grill them on how exactly they spend their days and if they’re really all that interested in producing honey for us.

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And (still more bad news to come!) one of our “Twin Hives,” this year’s additions, inexplicably lost its queen in the last 3-4 weeks. We know the approximate timing because there was a minimal amount of capped brood still present (they emerge after 28 days), and no uncapped brood, but there were also 10-12 queen cells that were already open, and they take 21 days to emerge. Hopefully there is a recently hatched emergency queen ready to take the helm. Just in case, though, we gave them a frame with eggs, lots of adult bees, honey, pollen, and capped brood from their twin hive to give them a little bit of every resource at hand.

The silver lining to this hive inspection was that the other hive of the Twin Hive duo is doing exceptionally well. The original queen is still present, she’s laying strong, they have two supers nearly full of brood, honey, and pollen, and they are teeming with life, completely oblivious to the strife every other beehive is causing. This is exactly what they should be doing at this stage of development, and it won’t be long before we can give them a new empty super in which they can start storing honey for harvest. Though if I’ve learned anything this last year of beekeeping, it’s not to count your honey until it’s harvested.

Bee losses and armyworms notwithstanding, the rest of the farm is continuing on well. Our little “twin row” peanuts make me smile as I go by, the edamame, tiger eye beans, and butter beans are starting to flower, our wide variety of peppers is starting to bear in abundance, and I swear if you stand there long enough, you can watch the okra get taller!

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