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Farm News - February, 2018

Posted 2/7/2018 3:10pm by Gregg Keckler.

February, 2018

What's going on at the Farm this month!

High Tunnel

We decided to try to use our high tunnel more efficiently.  The high tunnel sits empty for a lot of the year.  We wanted to use this space if possible to get some production from it during the winter months. So the high tunnel dirt was scraped, scooped and mixed with high level compost into raised beds within the high tunnel.  There are now five long raised beds for greens, radishes and spring onions.  We are hoping to get some things planted in there within the next week.  Then hopefully they will be available at the market stands in March and April.

Our long term plan is to add a heat source to the high tunnel in September - possibly a woodburning furnace.  Then we will be able to plant greens in the high tunnel for the whole of the fall and winter months.  Thus making money on a structure that is already in place and adding green to the markets and CSA throughout the fall and winter months.

Processing Shed

The processing shed that we are working on is still being finished.  The weather got extremely cold and we were not able to finish it just yet, because of possible frozen pipes and water lines.  So that will be finished as soon as it can be done.  We will keep you posted.

Jams and Jellies

The jam and jellies that you all love are coming along well.  The flavors that are being made this month are blueberry, strawberry and black cherry, with occasional peach intermixed.  Our storage room is beginning to fill up.

Orchards

The fruit trees are being pruned.  We also had to take out about 40-50 apple trees that had gotten San Jose Scale last year because of the very wet, humid summer.  This scale is VERY contagious to all fruit trees and is very hard to control so we felt it would be best to get rid of the trees and start again, since these were big, old trees. We will be letting the land set fallow this year and plan to replant this section next year.  The trees have all been pulled out; now they need to be burnt.

The  other fruit orchards looks good and the peaches look fine.  We will be planting new plums, peaches and apples this spring that were ordered last year.

The berries are getting pruned right now.  Raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, currants, and jostaberries are all looking fine.  We are cleaning up the elderberries and  redoing the posts on the grape vines.

Vehicles

We decided to put our old Chevy pick up back on the road.  It had farm tags and could only be driven between the farms and only in the daytime.  We decided that it would be more cost efficient to get the Chevy up to inspection quality than it would be to buy another truck.  We did buy a second pickup with four-wheel drive that can haul the livestock trailer to the butcher shop and also could go to market if needed. The Chevy does not have enough power to haul the trailer when it is loaded. Now we have two road-worthy vehicles besides box trucks that can run on the roads.

Seeds/Plants

We are purchasing seeds and plants for the new growing season.  We just took seeds to Miller's Plant Farm; they get our seeds started for us.  We usually buy plants from them later for certain vegetables.  We try not to start our greenhouse until March - it is not cost effective to pay for propane in January and February.

Markets in February

The two markets that are still going throughout the winter are doing very well- thanks to all our loyal customers who come out in some of the worst weather to buy from us.

If you can, come to visit one of these markets, we would love to see you. 

National Geographic Society Courtyard Farm Stand - Tuesdays until February 27 7:30-1:30pm

St Luke's Episcopal Church Fort Hunt Rd, Alexandria, VA - every  Saturday - all year 8-1pm

 

CSA

Our prices for the CSA will remain the same until the end of February.

Full season - fruit and vegetables $638

Full season - fruit and vegetables plus 1/2 doz eggs $698

Full season - fruit and vegetables plus dozen eggs $758

Half season - fruit and vegetables $320

If you have any questions about the CSA, please contact us. 

Check out our website - www.orchardcountryproduce

email: ocp@orchardcountryproduce.com

Thank you to the 16 folks who have signed up for the CSA so far! That is a total of $12,824!  We are continually amazed at your willingness to support us - many of you are new to us and are taking things sight unseen.  Others of you have been with us for many years and yet you still trust us to provide the food for your tables.  We have made mistakes and you have helped us during our learning curves. What a great relationship!  We are enjoying growing, working and marketing our farm products.

 

 

Oliver and Elisabeth Keckler + Isabelle

Gregg and Louise Keckler

Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm, Inc

www.orchardcountryproduce