Farm Blog

Thank you again for braving the blizzard to celebrate, connect with great food, and 'planting an orchard'! Just imagine all those future cherry trees (don't forget to squat:-).
I am so uplifted from all the good vibes, intentions, laughter and seeds shared and planted.

We were able to raise $850.00 in funds! This will go a long way, thank you! Additionally, with all the seeds donated today and from what I've gleaned from others, The women growers in the Sine-Saloum region will be able to plant out a couple hundred row feet/farm. In the past we've planted shared 'demonstration beds' ie since many of the farmers share space/land to grow on we've constructed seeds beds to trial different varieties, plant insectory herbs and flowers and share techniques. From there seeds are harvested and shared forward amongst the individual farmers. So in essence your generosity helped plant teaching/learning/eating/

sharing beds of veggie, herb, and flower goodness!

I will honor my commitment and extend the immense gratitude, generosity that was shared during the workshop with the women farmers in the following ways:

Work with NCBA CLUSA Farmer to Farmer Program to transfer funds and mail seeds.
I'll also email and share highlights, photos forward later this week in celebration of our workshop success.

I am tentatively set to travel there Nov/Dec. or January in 2016.

I also finally remembered the name of third grower group, JUBO (means widespread). If you're interested in learning more about how they got started, here's a link to an interview I did as part of my last Farmer to Farmer adventure in Senegal.

I Will keep you in the loop as the project evolves and thanks again for sharing your generous spirit!

For the chocolate lovers:
Becky Otte, who made the amazing truffles, has more of her chocolate goodness to share and is selling some of her creations just in time for Valentines. if you're interested send her an email:

Also Here is a link to Roots Chocolate website.

For the Fruit Lovers:

I've enclosed a handout of some of the different fruits we grow at our farm as well as a flyer highlighting this season's events at the farm! We'd love to have you venture out and tour the orchard, come visit us (though not nearly as cool as the orchard poses we did during the workshop).

Thank you again for helping me transition from being a butterfly weed seed (ie wind pollinated, not knowing where or how my intentions, projects might stick) to more of an oak or cashew seeds - wherein I can deepen my awareness, provide support in the same place(s) in Senegal for the growers and in my backyard in Wisconsin:-). Here's to planting the seeds of the as yet to be imagined on and off the yoga mat! Wishing you all much abundance.

Happy Mid-winter!

Yours in hardy kiwi,

PS If you are into exploring the planting side as well as enjoying more local fruit creations, we'll be hosting a Local Fruit Tasting May 16, details on our website.


Sizing up the Mid-summer harvest

The annual cicada has sounded, if tepidly, so it's time to have a look at what the heat of deep summer might produce for us. Sunday the 20th is the warmest day of the year climatologically, but, one hopes, not actually. Low 80s are nice, but we could use a week or two up in the 90s, ideally with a good bit of sun, to really let the warm weather crops unwind. So far, July is running close to 3°F below normal.

Corn, melons, squash and solanacea (the “nightshades,” tomatoes, peppers and eggplants) are the parties most likely to be affected by lack of heat and/or sun. So far, the only real casualty among these seems to be the sweet peppers, whose unperspicacious placement in proximity to the raspberries and a very thirsty white pine may not have helped matters any. The Alma paprikas – a roundish, thick-walled, wonderfully sweet pepper that you may have received in past years either yellow or red – have really taken it on the chin, dwarfed to bonzai size. The pimientos and early-season bells next door are also struggling considerably. So, by contrast to most years, sweet peppers may be few and somewhat far between this year.

Hot peppers appear to be doing rather better in our smaller, south garden as you can see from hot wax and jalapenos that have arrived over the past couple weeks. Tomatoes are looking vigorous in growth with plenty of green fruits waiting for the heat. The eggplants also look happy and are now flowering. Cucumbers are setting blooms but are also waiting for a hotter stretch to put on fruit.

One additional great disappointment this year is a hiatus in the hardy kiwi. Though it easily survived the unusually long and harsh winter (the plant hails from Kamchatka after all) it is smart enough to know when the season is going to be too short for it to set fruit with viable seed; the extremely late green-up in mid-May prevented the female vine from blooming, though the male (ahhh, men!) went ahead with its usual floral display.

Black-cap raspberries also seem to have been affected either by the extreme cold of the past winter or its interminable continuance. Fruit is smaller than usual and the setting of blooms seems fractional compared to most years. Pears are producing at about 40% of their normal capacity, so we should have some for shares come September but probably not the five to seven pounds we've offered in past years. Quince look a sure bet, with at least a couple pounds showing up by bag 20 in October. As ever, apples are a crapshoot since we wild-craft them from a handful of feral trees around the property; fruit-set appears fairly widespread, but quality will depend on pest-presure from coddling moth and apple maggot-fly among other nasties.

The atypically cool July has its up-sides however.

We've had perhaps the best broccoli harvest to date. The radishes we planted as a nurse-crop with our late-season carrots and beets turned out, for whatever reason, to be of exceptional quality and size, far better than the meager roots we were putting in your share bags a month ago. So enjoy them with a salt-shaker and a cold stein of beer during the hot dog-days we hope are ahead.