Mother Nature – Practicing Patience

“Life on a farm is a school of patience; you can’t hurry the crops or make an ox in two days.” …Henri Fournier Alain

This quote is so true! With the ever increasing availability of produce grown in warmer climates and then transported to our local grocery stores, it is so difficult to wait for our local crops! Or is it? Once you’ve tasted the difference between a store bought tomato and a fresh picked, vine-ripened tomato it almost makes being patient easy….after all just thinking about those fresh picked strawberries is enough to make our mouths water.

With our internet culture and detailed knowledge at our fingertips it can be difficult to slow down and savor the process it takes to grow a delicious strawberry or head of broccoli. We start ordering our seeds in January and February and by March we are planting the seeds in cells for them to germinate in a warm greenhouse while we patiently wait for the weather to warm-up. Last spring the warm-up occurred quickly – really too quickly – but this spring we have waited patiently to transplant our warm weather crops into the ground. The official “frost-free” date for our area is May 10th and the patient farmer waits…..at least until the long-term forecast predicts temperatures at night well above the freezing mark (for us that date this year was May 1st!).

Then..depending on the crop…we wait, watch and pray for anywhere from 28 days (lettuce) to over 100 days (pumpkins). Each crop is different and each crop responds differently to its environment so that 28 days for lettuce could in actuality be 20 or 35 days or longer depending on the year.

Liberty Mills Farm Sweet Corn - 79 days!

“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.” ….Mark Twain

The cooler weather this spring has delayed the development of our strawberry plants, but there are lots of flowers on the plants – the first sign of developing berries. Our CSA members who pick up their shares at the Farm receive the first berries, but as soon as we have enough volume for picking we will let everyone know on Facebook and this blog. We would love to be open every day for picking, but the berries have a mind of their own and are extremely sensitive to weather fluctuations and since we know many of you drive 20-30 minutes to reach us we want to make sure we have berries available to pick when you arrive.

This weekend we will be planting 14,000 new strawberry plants in the field across from the barn and hope to have berries from this new field available for you pick sometime in June.  These plants will have a definite advantage as they will be irrigated and and will be planted in plasticulture rows to reduce the weeds and give the plants the competitive edge.

We will keep you posted on Facebook and in this blog regarding availability and will let you know as soon as we have opportunities to pick.

Fresh Strawberries - worth the wait!

We are truly blessed to have customers who understand the benefits of locally grown  produce! We think the best benefit is great taste, although you can’t beat the fact that fresh produce is loaded with vitamins and minerals essential to our health. Our weekly vegetable share is an important part of our Farm and we do still have just a few shares left if you would like to join and receive your fresh produce weekly. We do deliver to Culpeper, Ruckersville and Charlottesville as well as on-the farm pick-ups.  Please visit our CSA page for more details.

Thank you for supporting our family’s farming efforts! We look forward to a farmtastic year of produce and can’t wait to share with you our 2013 Corn Maze – opening in September!!

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