| Date of Last Update: 27 August 2014
Watch your email for crop condition updates. If you are not on our email list and would like to be, please contact us. Typically the newsletter will be short and come out weekly during the harvest season [June to August] to let you know what is happening. It also comes out once or twice in the off season.
Figs Are In!
Figs are in! We are getting up to ten gallons or so a day but volume can vary day to day. First Pickers in the field get the best picking. We pick the figs every day but do not do so until after lunch. We clear the ripe figs off each day after lunch so we do not have over ripe figs on the tree which attract the bees and do it after lunch so it gives those that pick-their-own a chance to pick them first. The demand for figs has been high so each year we have planted more figs but still we have not been able to keep up. We will plant more this year. We will plant mostly Brown Turkey but if you have a local favorite and know where we can get it (or at least some branches) please let us know.
Remember figs are climacteric. That means they will ripen after picking but they must have reached the point where the stem starts to bend. (If you pick a fig before the stem starts to bend it isnít ripe yet, and it will not continue to ripen after you pick it.) Most varieties will also start to change color as they get ripe. If they have a few cracks, it is perfect to pick! If in doubt, please ask us and we will give you a little demonstration.
Muscadines are started. Now picking mostly a scuppernong known as Early Fry. We are getting 5 to 10 gallons a day and volume is picking up rapidly. Should be good picking by 8/28 or later. We are also getting some black Muscadines, varieties Cowart and Ison, just a couple gallons a day but they will be increasing in volume too.
Grapes are near done in the field but we have just a few gallons in the cooler, mostly Saturn variety.
Fall Blackberries (Prime Ark 45 and Black Magic) have started. Today we got 5 quarts from about 1000 ft of row. We have been getting a couple quarts a day for about 10 days or more. Customer response to Black Magic has been "Oh my goodness! That's the best blackberry I have ever tasted." To be honest we do not know what to expect volume-wise. We are tracking what is picked so we can do a better job next year forecasting. There are a lot of flower buds and lots of green fruit. Supposedly they will go until frost. Prime Ark 45 is a smaller, rounder and firmer berry and has been a little slower than the Black Magic to start picking. They are easy to find in the field because of the shade cloth over them. They are an on-farm research project partially sponsored by USDA under a program called SARE (Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education). The bad news is that because the anticipated volume (previous research suggests 2000 lb per acre max in the fall) is low and the costs are high (materials and labor to install we're not covered by the project) we have had to increase the price to $7 per quart. The good news is that they will also bear in early June. We are tracking temperatures with two max min thermometers both in and out of the shade and in and out of standard weather station boxes. We are also tracking the number of flower petals and sepals in both varieties. We will also do the same thing in the spring. I will post a preliminary report on our web site probably in December.
Blueberries are near gone but diehard Pickers are still getting a half to a gallon of berries with lots of effort. The good news is that the crop of leaves this year is excellent; and that means we should get a good crop of flower buds for next year. With all the rain last year and the subsequent lost of a lot of leaves, this season started with fewer flower buds. With the wind machine we protected 90% plus of them but still the rain reduced the crop some.
Thank you, thank you thank you for your support! Being a farmer is not an easy job and your support, your interest, your conversations with us on the porch and at the markets- they are all part of the benefits we reap!
PS Donít forget your buckets if you have them