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We had some great press from the Town Crier this week. There was a splendid spread of photos from our recent Supper Club. It was wonderful to see all those familiar faces in the Weston Life section. Thank you Barbara Elmes for coming out and bringing your trusty camera!
Page 4 has an article about our current farming situation titled “Land’s Sake handling crop failure”. Lest there be any confusion, “crop failure” implies one or all rather than one of many crops which may have failed. I would have preferred to title the piece “…crop failures” as we have had a few. Those crops include our early brassicas – broccoli and cabbage type veggies, our onion and scallion crop, and, what was not known when the article was written, our tomatoes. They now have been written off on account of the late blight.
What was reported was based on our suspension of CSA share distributions effective until the end of August. This was detailed in a letter to shareholders which is quoted in the article. Unfortunately, the reporting confuses the CSA – the 130 shareholders – with the entire Land’s Sake Farm. Another two-thirds of our production is sold at the farm stand, the farmers’ market, and shipped to hunger relief agencies. The farm is half of Land’s Sake’s total operation. While we are unable to provide adequately to our shareholders for a few weeks, we continue to produce and sell a lot of vegetables every day.
Another correction I’d add is that the late blight (Phytophthora infestans) affects potatoes and tomatoes, not corn and not squash. We don’t actually even grow corn. And the blight has cut into our potatoes and tomatoes and will cause approximately $30,000 in losses this year, over 10% of our gross income from the farm.
The article writes about our planting a second crop to address the situation. More accurately, we are putting second and third plantings of various (multiple) crops in the ground every day. Actually, we seed multiple plantings of crops every year, regardless of the weather or other conditions. A crop is a type of plant, a planting is the group of those plants that went into the ground at the same time. They are usually described ordinally – first, second, etc. – as it is easy to see the different plantings as they are always in different locations and sized differently based on their age. The article uses the term crop to encompass all the crops we have as if it were one big enchilada. We would use the term “total production” or “all plantings” to describe everything out there. And “all plantings” have not failed. But enough have for us to be in pretty bad shape. Please come to the farm to find the many good things that we do continue to sell – flowers, berries, squashes, beets, carrots, honey, herbs and plenty of greens and other summer delights.
I’m attaching a photo of some of those up-and-coming plantings which are seedlings at our greenhouse right now.
Please don’t think Land’s Sake has lost all it’s crops. There is a lot of food available at Land’s Sake. We’ve got carrots and beets, lettuce, squash and zucchini, peppers, berries, flowers and more. We are selling fresh bread from Nashoba Brook Bakery on the weekend. We even have fresh corn for sale, harvested every morning from Brigham Farm along the Sudbury River in Concord. Come on down to the Farm Stand on Wellesley St any day of the week between 10am – 6pm. We appreciate your business.
It is pretty sad to see the tomatoes hit by the late blight. They were looking great, as you can see in this photo. Full plants, multiple fruit clusters per stem, many just turning orange.
We just went to the fields with Channel 5′s David Brown – to air tonight – regarding the late blight. Big box retailers distributed seedling tomatoes with the fungal blight. These were taken by customers all over the northeast. The blight uses the host plant to reproduce by sending out spores. These spores find more host plants and continue. It is now an epidemic in this region. No farms that we know of have been spared. Many are doing just as we are – pulling up the stakes and cutting down the string to mow or burn the crops to prevent further spreading the blight. This treatment also helps reduce the risk factors for the blight coming back next year.
We’re doing the best we can in light of this pestilence. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Every Monday and Wednesday, our volunteer crew comes out to help us with all manner of task at Land’s Sake. Here’s a picture of the crew helping weed the flower beds in the front garden. With the combination of ample moisture and great heat, the weeds are really going bonkers. We are responding with more mechanical cultivation and also gangs of hand-weeding crews to get right up the plants and eliminate the competing weeds. If you are intested in helping us out, come over to the main farm at 9am on Monday or Wednesday or 1pm on Saturday to lend a hand. If you have any questions about our program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.