It’s an odd sort of growing season on the home farm so far: thunderstorms, humidity, cooler than average temperatures – but no hail, thank goodness. The season always starts off a bit wobbly. The constant weeding continues (weeds always seem to do well), and the new hires on the field crew are learning the ropes. A walk through the fields indicates that almost everything is coming along as planned. Harvest is gaining momentum: carrots, beets, lettuce, chicories, spinach, chards and fennel are all rolling into the packing shed by the truckload, and even the first summer cabbages are ready. Snap peas are a bit of a bust, though, and summer squash, planted a bit late, is vigorous but not showing any blossom yet. We’re working with a small family farm near Ellensburg to supply us with some of the hot crops that can be a challenge in these parts.
River Farm’s Jerry Goronea has been farming 50 acres since 1976; his daughter Liz, son-in-law Eric and a small seasonal crew now handle the harvest, packing and marketing. We spoke with them earlier in the year, and last week they called to let us know that their summer squash is burgeoning beyond their sales plan. Too much zucchini is a universal truth, but until that day arrives on our farm, we’ll give them a hand and hope that we’ll also have a chance at their melons!
Other small growers are joining our ranks now that the local season has begun. As California stone fruit comes to a close, the central Washington season begins. We’ve sourced wonderful cherries from Tiny’s and Earth Conscious Organics, and apricots and peaches in the next few weeks will be coming from Sunnyslope Ranch and R/P Guerrero, farms we are proud to support for their excellent quality and for their sustainable practices. We’re working with another organic vegetable farmer who wants to turn a couple of hundred acres of alfalfa to row crops for us next year. We’re working out the details on getting some of this season’s sweet corn and cantaloupe into our mix for mid-August. The logistics are tricky, especially for a grower who’s green to shipping wholesale, but getting them up to speed is a big part of our mission to build regional networks, keep farms viable, and connect you to the folks who grow and harvest your food.