- Melons! – Red and yellow fleshed watermelons, green and orange fleshed muskmelons, and crenshaws!
- Poblano Peppers
- Amaranth Greens
- Head Lettuce
On vegetable farms death is a common occurrence even from the onset of the season when we are planting the first of the transplants into the soil. During this time we casually have to make the choice of what plants live and what must die. We only plant out the best of the tiny little transplants, while we discard the weaker ones out on the ground to wither and die in the hot sun. Next comes the flush of weeds, which we rip from the ground with any means necessary to give the vegetables the best chance of survival, so that we in the end can also harvest the plant thus taking it’s life also.
As we quickly cultivate there are always casualties as we mistake a plant for a weed, but they are a necessary death so that we can have weed free fields where the majority of our vegetables can flourish. And in some plantings we thin out plants to promote the growth of the other healthier plants, so that they grow nice and big.
For some reason we do not weep at the harvest of vegetables as we cut the heads of lettuce off from their roots with the milky white sap running from their veins. A massacre to the plants, but to us vegetable farmers it is just a common every day experience meaning food.
Last Sunday the mood was a little more somber as we finished our first round of harvesting of chickens on the farm. The blood pumping through our veins as we took the life of nineteen chickens who are more closely related to us than the vegetables we grow. This was not our first experience participating in the slaughtering of animals, but our first on our own. It all went smoothly and within four hours all the birds were cleaned and looked like the chicken you see at the grocery store.
It is a fascinating transition in the way we view our food when we are a part of the whole process from infancy to the time of harvest. What once was an animal running around on the farm devouring clover is now an important food source that nourishes our bodies.
While plants seem a little more distant from our human emotions, we both have the same respect for the lives that we cultivate and take. It is humbling to realize that all life is dependent on the life of other living beings. We feel a sense of respect and awe at the cycles of life that we experience every day on the farm. Animals are a key part of this system and we hope to continue to integrate more animals on the farm. Like in natural ecosystems, plants and animals are codependent. The more we emulate these natural systems on our farm, the more it will thrive.
In November we will be slaughtering our next round of birds. We are still learning the best way in which to process chickens, so we will have a well dressed, sellable bird. Our biggest challenge is to figure out the quickest, most efficient way to raise and process meat, so we can keep our costs down, making it affordable for our members to purchase if they so choose. Unlike vegetables, meat is harder to produce ethically in this economy. We will continue to hone our skills until we feel that we can provide a consistent product for others to purchase.
Enjoy this week’s vegetables!