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WHAT'S GROWING AT LOST CREEK FARM?

WINTER 2010
The farmers are enjoying a well-deserved vacation and beginning to plan for the main 2011 growing season. Check back for details on our 2011 CSA and more.
AUGUST 2010
What to say about this very odd year as everybody shivers through harvest on these cold August mornings? We are currently experiencing a noticeable gap in mature produce due to our inablility to plant outdoors regularly throughout the long, wet spring and early summer - as mentioned in many updates, below. This combined with the very cool late summer have made a decidedly unfriendly year for the vegetable farmer. The latest apparent consequence of this unusual weather is an unparalleled hatch of flea beetles - tiny little black creatures that eat plants in the brassica family (broccoli, kale, collards, cauliflower, etc.) Despite their miniscule size, they can destroy a young plant in short order.
Flea beetles
Flea beetle damage
Older broccoli
See the little black creatures? Imagine them entirely covering a young plant.    A leaf with extensive flea beetle    damage. Broccoli that got a good head start before the hatch and is faring okay.

Gotta be flexible, right? With this unwelcome twist of weather fate, we are free to rip out all of the greenhouse melons which aren't going to mature in this cold summer. Very disappointing. But, hey!, now we have space in the greenhouses to hide brassicas where the flea beetles have a harder time finding them!

JULY 2010
Summer has finally arrived in the Willamette Valley and instead of harvesting a long-awaited abundance of produce, we are about to run out of it. Due to the long, rainy spring we were unable to plant outdoors on a regular basis for nearly two months. Normally in July there is not enough space outside to put in all the crops we'd like! This year, the field is 3/4 empty. It is a strange site.  It is a bit like we are starting the season anew here in early July.

As you can imagine, we are now planting feverishly with every able body we can find! David begins work at 4am these days. Should be a fine late summer/fall! 

While there are very few mature or even teenage plants in the field, we will be relying heavily on crops in the greenhouses. (The power of plastic!) Expect to see us with lots of tomatoes, corn, and zucchini and - oddly - there is still mature cabbage in the field. Anybody have a recipe involving cabbage and a barbecue?

On another note, CSA member Yochi's friend Ibti came through last December on her food & farm based bike tour of the U.S. Check out her site and her visit to LCF.

The field this July
This is about what the whole farm looks like this early July.
JUNE 2010
Students digging potatoes

Earlier this month we had students from Clearlake Elementary visit the farm as part of Willamette Farm & Food Coalition's Farm to School program. KLCC also joined us as part of their special issue series on food and agriculture. Many vegetables were sampled and great fun was had by all. Click here to read or listen to KLCC's feature. You'll hear David and the kids near the end of the piece.

 

Students from Clearlake Elementary harvesting potatoes.

MAY 2010
THINK DRY!!!  April was unusually rainy and the wetness of the soil has seriously impaired our ability to plant outdoors.   We have far fewer crops in the field than we did this time last year.   Uh.  Er.  Um.  A little worrisome with CSA beginning in one month!   We've had black plastic covering parts of the field all winter in anticipation of this problem.   When a sunny day does come along David, John and Mark run out to the field and pull off the plastic to expose the soil, hoping to gain just that much more dryness.  I can confirm that there has been significant weather checking and plastic pulling this early season.   Thanks to David's careful management, we have been able to do some planting outdoors, though.
Yoga in the field Row planted Scallions
Mark, John and David do yoga in the field. Note black plastic at work on the left and a dry area to be tilled on the right. Scallions and cilantro. Yep. Each and every one planted by hand.
Planting tomaotes Early tomato fruit Zucchini
Planting tomatoes in March . . . yields a young May fruit! Zucchini in the greenhouse.  Wow!
Kale in the greenhouse Greens Field at Lost Creek Farm
More greenhouse treats, and our first outdoor planting looking great on a sunny day.

The terrible truth is that none of what you see here would be possible without (as we say) the power of plastic.  It's local.  It's organic.  Is it sustainable?  It makes me wonder what in our modern life is.

On that cheery note, join us in our gratitude for all the gifts water brings and help us encourage the rain to share its gifts in another locale for a while.

APRIL 2010

April heralds the annual re-opening of the Saturday Lane County Farmers Market downtown! We had a wonderful first market on April 3rd. It was a pleasure to see our old friends - customers and vendors - and to meet new CSA members! I heard so many people remark on what a relief and a joy it is to have fresh, local produce again. We feel the same way.

As you may know, we are in a new location at the Market this year - now on the corner of 8th & Park. This change has required a bit of new infrastructure (still a work in progress!) Harkening back to the infrastructure theme of the March update, here is an inside look at probably the most crucial component of vending at the Market - the display!

David designed our display racks and had them built by Rebco Manufacturing in Eugene. Need anything welded? You won't find a more interested, genuine person than Bob at Rebco (now a CSA member!)

Table Frame Table detail
Here is the basic frame.  David designed it to be modular - all pieces are separate so the table is light weight for assembly and stores compactly in the truck.  The modular design also allows us to remove the top shelf anytime it is not needed. In this detail you can see the tab on the right that supports the plywood and the cuff into which the back leg inserts at top and bottom.
Table with plywood Test run in the living room
Table with plywood. Test run in the living room.
First market! Yummy produce!
The tables at work at the first Saturday Farmers Market!

Next month I promise to talk about plants, not infrastructure.  Stay tuned.

MARCH 2010

It seems like it is still kind of winter . . . plenty of wet, cold, gray days and not much plant growth.  Clearly a time for infrastrucure projects.  And we have been doing those aplenty.  BUT, the surprising reality is that Saturday Market begins in one month, on April 3rd!!  And people are looking for CSAs now!!  And the tractor we meant to upgrade over the "winter" is suddenly needed!!   And starts sales are right around the corner!!  And employees are needed now!!  EEEeeeeeeekk!  Suffice to say, we are BUSY.

A sample of the many projects of varying urgency that are underway:

Processing Shed Infrastructure projects: David has been working diligently on so many projects, it's hard to keep track. These include a new pump for irrigation, a vaccuum seeder, tractor maintenance and alterations, improved harvest tools and planting guides and the endless ordering of supplies and seeds. Barrel Washer
Above left, we completed an extension to the processing shed, allowing more room for washing and bundling vegetables and for packing commerical boxes.  Above right we are working on a "barrel washer" (like Grindstone Farm's version above) for washing root crops.  The barrel turns and tumbles the roots as water sprays them clean.
CSA members CSA! (Community Supported Agriculture): Potential CSA members are shopping around now!  Eugene residents are quite aware of the benefits of eating locally and so CSAs sell out early.  We are very happy with the program we are offering this year.  Check out our unique CSA which allows you to choose your produce! CSA member
Above left, proud and happy CSA mommas Missy and Heather and future (?) CSA members Isadora and Everett at our farm party in late June 2009.  Above right, at our January 2010 greenhouse raising (more about this below) CSA member Rick offers a taste of overwintering Ruby Streaks Mustard Greens that survived the hard cold in December.
Rainbow Chard Market season:  The Lane County Farmers' Market downtown begins Saturday April 3rd!  This year we will be in a new location and getting ready for this change requires a lot of work!  We'll have a whole new setup including tables, display racks, canopies and signage.  But the real work of preparation for early markets is producing beautiful, mature vegetables in a season far colder and darker than is natural for them. Market
Above left, beautiful Rainbow Chard in the greenhouse.  This chard was seeded in October 2009 and planted in the greenhouse in November.  It weathered December's hard cold and as of early March 2010, it is still not yet harvestable.  During the normal growing season of ample light and warmth, Chard matures to harvest in approximately 2 months.  So you can see that we have been preparing for Market for many months already with this 7 month winter Chard.  Above right, a taste of future vegetables! 

Visit us at the Market on Saturday April 3rd and savor the Chard!

FEBRUARY 2010
The weather outside is a bit chilly and bleak, but inside of the greenhouses things are green and growing! David is seeding approximately 70 trays per week and has been since January 1. Each tray contains between 50 and 128 plants, so that's quite a few young vegetables! We've just about exceeded the capacity of the 100 x 20 foot propagation house and are transplanting into the big greenhouses as fast as we can. Very exciting though, to be seeing green everywhere! Check out the photos . . .
Young Cilantro Young Napa Cabbage Young Tomatoes
Young Cilantro. Beautiful Napa Cabbage. Tomatoes!  With true leaves!
Young Cilantro Young Napa Cabbage Young Tomatoes
Romaine lettuce. Rainbow Chard. Scallions.

These are some of the vegetables we'll be bringing to the first Saturday Farmers Market downtown on April 3rd! Come visit us there. In other news, we've added a CSA dropspot on Dalton Drive in the River Road area. Check out our unique CSA program which allows you to choose the vegetables you want to take home!

JANUARY 2010
Greenhouses, of course! One 30 x 275 greenhouse frame sprouted up in the fall, so in January we invited CSA members and friends to help us pull plastic over it. This whopping house joins the ranks of the propagation house and three 200 foot houses we built last winter. (David has sworn this is the last one. . .)
Greenhouse frame Greenhouse frame
The frame awaiting plastic. Here it comes!

Pulling plastic on greenhouse Plastic on greenhouse
Getting closer. The new home of future vegetables!
David Desmond Lost Creek Farm CSA members
Look at that happy farmer.

Our wonderful CSA members.
It was a perfectly windless day and everything went as smoothly as it could have! Thank you so much John, Carlos, Mohammed, Rick, Abdullah, Adam, Eric, Rob, Tony, Heather, Mike, Nate, Jenn and Laura! Onward to planting and seeding!

PS: Want to have this much fun and eat well? Join our CSA! Click here to learn more.

CHECK BACK FOR MONTHLY UPDATES ON WHAT'S GROWING!

Click here to read our 2009 monthly journal of pictures and stories about the plants and the farm.

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