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Notes From the Field, Farm Crew Thoughts - August 31, 2023

A major component of our successful growing year and healthy animals is our seasonal staff. We are so lucky to have hardworking and dedicated folks this year who are eager to learn about our farming practices and also bring the best energy to work with them each day. We've asked our three new seasonal crew members how their season is going so far and how it's been learning to farm at Harlem Valley Homestead. 

There are not enough hours in a day to do all the farming a farmer would like to get done before the sun sets. Farming requires more dedication, commitment, and effort than I ever could have expected when I decided to first give it a try at the beginning of the summer. I’m using my body to break earth, sow seeds, and nurture growth each and every day. At first, it was onions, then maybe the kale, perhaps lettuce, soon to follow tomatoes. It’s hard to say when, but somewhere along the way I wasn’t just nurturing scallions, squash, or cucumbers anymore but for once in a long while I was including myself. I have learned farming has a way of helping you understand how everything connects and your role in it all. As a result, through some of the hardest physical work I’ve ever done, I’ve found the greatest sense of peace and clarity. I’m feeling more connected than ever to the place I’m in, the people I’m with, and the food I eat, and it is my hope that others can feel and experience this one day too because it can shift your whole perspective on what’s important and what you’re capable of in the very best way. 

Working at HVH is a lot of fun and there is always something new happening. This year and season have been flying by! Every day brings something new but this time of year is an even bigger transition into a new chapter heading into fall. While I have farmed before, this season has been one of my all-time joys. The pigs and the cows are always coming up with new ways to make me laugh. I can’t wait for the next chapter. I wish our customers could experience what it’s like to work with our animals and see how they’re doing and enjoy sharing part of their lives with them.

The summer harvest is in full swing at HVH, and we’ve been busy, to say the least. With such brilliant produce dazzling above ground; the dark purple of our eggplant and the bright reds and yellows of the Nardello peppers glinting in the sun, it’s easy to overlook the beauty of what’s happening beneath the soil. I’m speaking of our Allium crops coming from the Market Garden this August/September. These include onions such as a yellow cooking variety called Patterson, Tropea Red Onions, shallots, garlic, scallions, and leeks. These crops have done so well despite uncertain weather. They’re strong plants with great resistance to environmental adversity, so when it’s too hot or too wet on the farm, their precious bulbs are protected below ground. Moreover, they’re truly beautiful. Each of these Allium varieties produce unexpected coloration, with firm shape and crisp greenery. So far we’ve unearthed an entire field of garlic, another of onions and shallots, all of which are now in the curing process. Additionally, or leeks remain in the ground, developing to stunning sizes, while continual scallion planting will allow us to offer a wealth of these flavorful green onions for quite a while. All this to say that HVH will be bringing the most delicious Alliums of unparalleled quality to its customers and friends in the coming weeks! Look out for these beauties at the farmers market and the farm stand.


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