July Farmer Updates from the Field

July 14th, 2021

 

This week marked some significant milestones for us Agriculture staff at Rock Bottom Ranch. We hosted our first Farm to Table dinners of this season, and while seeing our produce go home with all of our supporters in our CSA boxes and at the farmers’ market is an incredible feeling, this was the first time that we got to witness the full scope of what delicious dishes can be made with the food that we have so lovingly raised. These dinners marked that the summer is in full swing and a new routine has been set, with the wide variety of outlets that we are now harvesting for on a regular basis. 

 

The other milestone is a bit more personal to me, as this week marked the halfway point of our Farm Apprenticeship program, for myself, Hannah, Shannon, and Ray. It gives us an opportunity to reflect on our experiences growing and learning as farmers so far and how we want to approach the rest of this season. So many lessons can be learned with our hands in the soil and our awareness tuned in to the livestock that we care for here. We are so lucky to have this experience here at Rock Bottom Ranch, and to have all of your support in a program that is so life-giving in so many ways! Enjoy the bounty of your CSA boxes this week, and we look forward to many more weeks to come!

 

-Hollis Vanderlinden (Vegetable Apprentice)

 

Hollis Vanderlinden harvests Salanova lettuce

Vegetable Apprentice, Hollis Vanderlinden, harvests Salanova lettuce.

Agriculture Manager, Mariah Foley harvests purple peas

Agriculture Manager, Mariah Foley, harvests purple peas.


July 21st, 2021

 

This time of year, the vegetable area at Rock Bottom Ranch (lovingly referred to as VegLand) feels alive and bustling with energy. An area that once felt quiet and restful in early spring is now packed with activity and movement. On busy harvest days, we often have six or seven people harvesting and washing vegetables, chattering back and forth as our hands move over fat ripe pea pods and aromatic scallion bunches. 

 

It isn’t just my fellow farmers in the garden that make it feel so busy. The honey bees nestle into squash blossoms and amerge coated in orange pollen. A pair of killdeer run alongside a vegetable bed, followed quickly by three smaller but nearly identical killdeer, just recently hatched. A hummingbird buzzes past, heading for the flowering arugula (a favorite of the bees as well). Even (especially) the worms and other critters beneath my feet are busy at work, aerating and fertilizing the soil.


I’m so grateful for the communities we are able to build around ourselves. Friends with whom to share a recipe and a laugh. Neighbors with whom to commiserate over the weather.


The ecological definition of a community is a group of interacting populations of different species living in the same area. To that definition, working in VegLand at RBR has allowed me to feel ingrained in a community, bonded with people, insects, and birds through a common love of food.


Thank you for being a part of that community. 

 

-Hannah Pike (Vegetable Apprentice)
 

Sungold Cherry tomatoes on the plant

Sungold Cherry tomatoes ripening on the vine.


Hannah pulls a tarp over a new garden plot.

Vegetable Apprentice, Hannah Pike, moves a tarp from one of the vegetable plots.


July 28th, 2021

 

Greetings again dear CSA patrons! We hope that you all have been enjoying the increasing variety of produce in your boxes as our summer crops continue becoming abundant and ripe. One thing all of us look forward to and that cannot come soon enough is always tomato season, so I wanted to give you all an update on those plants! So far we have gotten a small taste of the sweet, rich flavor of our tomatoes, with the Sungold and Sakura cherry tomatoes that we have been able to harvest. We are still looking forward to the heirloom, paste, and slicing tomatoes that we have planted and have been tending to meticulously week after week. (the first heirlooms are in your boxes this week!) It’s now a part of our routine to move through our greenhouses and tend to each plant, supporting the new growth by trellising it at the top, and moving down the plant to remove any suckers that would detract from the plant’s overall fruit production. This is a focused, meditative task that allows us to slow down and pay attention to each individual plant and attend to its needs. The plants also benefit from this process in a less direct way; the disturbance of the plant while we are trellising and pruning helps the plant to self-pollinate, which increases the abundance and the evenness of the plant’s fruit production. For the rest of the day, our hands bear evidence of this task, stained yellow and green from the tomato pollen. I love this ritual, for the ability to zone in and pay close attention, for the lasting evidence of hard work that I carry with me, for the sweet smell of the tomatoes, and for the promise of delicious fruit to come. 

 

 

-Hollis Vanderlinden (Vegetable Apprentice)

 

Vegetable Apprentice, Hollis Vanderlinden, bringing their harvest to the packing shed. 
 

Sam Waller and Julliete Moffroid harvest in the field

Vegetable Lead, Julliete Moffroid, and Agriculture Steward, Sam Waller, harvest in the field.

 

View upcoming programs & events at RBR

 

Learn more about Rock Bottom Ranch and view our summer hours here. View our upcoming programs here, including Hayride Farm ToursEgg Collection & our new series, Ranch Experiences

 

Photo Credit: Chris Cohen