The blog of Hope Grows

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Blueberries are coming on...

During a routine farm meander this morning, I discovered that the blueberries had finally decided to "pop." After housing the laying flock in the patch and laying down heavy mulch during the winter--both of which provided continuous weed control and fertilization--the bushes are LOADED with fruit. Last year we picked over 400 lbs from our 1/16th acre patch, and we're hoping to exceed that this year.

How are our blueberries different from the ones you buy in the grocery store?

--We DON'T use any chemicals or heavy machinery

--We DO weed by hand to provide you with a clean, healthy product

--We DON'T use exploited immigrant laborers working for an unfair wage

--We DO pay ourselves fairly for the year-round task of weeding, mulching, pruning, and picking

--We DON'T pick our berries before they're ripe for shipping all over the country

--We DO pick right before the markets to get you the freshest, sweetest, "bluest"berries

You-pick appointments are available from June 1st through July 4th if you'd like to come out and have the sensory pleasure of picking berries with the dew still on them. Early mornings or late afternoons (Monday through Friday or Sunday) are best to avoid mid-day heat. We suggest you bring a hat and wear pants and tennis shoes. Limited appointments available, so call 912-863-6436 to schedule asap and get your berries for $5/lb.

If you can't make it out to the farm, we will have berries available at the Forsyth and Statesboro markets starting June 5th. We recommend coming early to make sure you get them.

Looking forward to the antioxidant rush.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

He's Back!

After a 10 day battle with his intestines, Elliott started his recovery last week. He's now feeling like a lean, mean, farming machine--and here's the proof, taken yesterday evening after a hoeing stubborn Bermuda grass in the garden. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts, dances, and/or prayers.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I get by with a little help from my dad...

Just when I thought I'd hit my wit's end with Elliott being sick for 10 days straight, the garden desperately behind schedule, and grass growing up past our knees in some places...guess who comes in for a surprise visit? My anal retentive...yet helpful dad.

We spent the week sweating and yelling at each other (because Italians generally don't talk to each other--they yell at each other) about why I wanted to use a shovel instead of a tractor in the garden, of course, but we did manage to get a lot done. In the picture below you can see most of the rows were installed with mulch and drip irrigation. And the beds with the straw on them are already planted and growing watermelons, squash, corn, okra, sunflowers, and beans. It's easily 15 to 20 degrees hotter under that black plastic in full sun, so when we plant, we protect the young seedlings from heat stress by mulching with straw over the tops of the beds.

Call me crazy, but I think we look dirtier, sweatier, and happier than I can ever remember. Thanks for the memories, Mr. Imbraguglio.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Pig Update!

Sorry about the less frequent posting, I have been sick for about a week and Arianne has been pretty much doing everything (be extra nice to her at the market).

Pork and Chop are 3 months old now and we just moved them to a fresh pen. As I explain in the video this eliminates the need for chemical worming agents and provides them with fresh forage to go after.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

K-22s Move Out to Pasture!

We are trying a new broiler breed out called the "K-22". The name makes me think they were developed in the Soviet Union to crush capitalism by giving the Russian people distractingly tasty pastured poultry. It turns out that they they are of similar descent to the Label Rouge chickens that are raised in France except these were bred in Italy originally.

They do not grow as fast and forage quite a bit more than the Cornish Crosses, the breed we raise now, so we expect they will have better flavor and texture.

These birds will be available in June.

Here is a video of how we move them to pasture -