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JOURNAL #9 FARMING DURING A PANDEMIC May 22, 2020

Posted 5/22/2020 11:45am by Esther.

Journal #9, May 22, 2020

Michael Tabor

According to the prognosticators of the weather, this was supposed to be a rainy week but through Thursday is wasn't.  At 5:45am Tuesday morning, I did see a brief flash of red where the sun usually rises.  By my calculations, that means rain tonight!  And that's OK, exceptin' for the sweet potato "slips" that need planting next week (it needs to be dry to till the soil).

Yesterday we got started on planting the Christmas trees to replace the ones that were sold last season or died in the field.  Growing the trees without herbricides (to kill the weeds that can choke their roots is a real challenge).  Industry standards use pesticides that indiscriminantly kill all insects.  Plus the trees are actually dyed in the field a dark "plastic green" to eliminate the natural hues and color variations.  As far as I know, we are the only farm in the area that don't use "industry" methods.  (A few of my neighbors grow evergreen Christmas trees naturally but don't sell them publicly).

Many customers seem to want uniform, perfectly shaped trees that look like the plastic ones that are factory grown and sold in lots. Our customers aren't concerned with that uniform look and like the "unique personality" of our trees.  One of our most popular tree is the "Charlie Brown" with their distinct character unlike any other.  One of our happier moments during the Christmas tree season, is the when one of our scraggly trees finds a loving home.

Pesticide-free trees take a lot of extra work and between 15-20 years to grow.

We get our seedlings from a family-owned company named "Musser's", located right below Punxsutawney, PA, the town made famous in the movie "Groundhog Day.  Retail manager Chris Ballas brings the seedlings to us every year for our "Annual Farm Open" House that we sadly will not have this year due to the pandemic.  We encourage parents to bring their children to plant trees and hopefully return the next year to see the growth and do some weeding and nurturing.  Chris donates those trees and offers help planting the trees. This service is not typical in our commercial world today.  Of course Musser's is where we do buy our trees.

The process of planting trees to replace ones sold or are dead is part of an earth-enhancing concept know as "carbon sequestration" - especially when you consider our trees are grown on ground that usually produces only weeds.

This season, Charmaine cut loose the amazing team of Emma (and Utah), Laura and Xandra,who burned the weeds, drilled the holes and pulled off a project that would have taken just me a week.  They did this in 1day.

Part of my farm year consists of working locally and politically to make the planet a better and healthier place.  So I joined the local neighbors in opposing CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) and trying to raise awareness of choices in local elections.

Sadly, we can't do much, especially in this pandemic world to campaign against the administration and his enablers in a community that voted 84% for him but we may be able to have an impact on local elections.

In Montgomery County, MD, Progressive Neighbors has released its choices.  Email to hardhatscott@gmail.com for that information.

In my morning breakfast oatmeal, the California strawberries, while pretty, had no taste, except for a little bitterness.  In two weeks when our markets and CSA starts, we're hoping our strawberries will be ready.  Not as pretty but with real taste. Our produce is picked the day before or the morning of our market and CSA.

Sadly, our CSA memberships are "sold out" for this first session (June-July).  We may have openings for session 2 (August-September).  Let us know if you are interested and we'll put you on our mailing list.

Our CSA Subsidy Program is now funded for session 1 and some for session 2.    We've raised close to $5,000 with a goal of $10,000.  We cannot take more families until we raise enough to fully fund the next session.

See you at our Brookland Market, Tuesday, June 2 (and CSA pick up) 4-7pm and in Takoma Park for CSA pick up 3-9:30pm. Then again on Saturday, June 6 at our Adams Morgan Farmers Market, 8am - 1pm and the Takoma Park CSA pick up from 3:30-9:30pm.

FARM VISIT DAY, SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020 11:00AM - 4:30PM (cancelled for this season)