Orchard News and Updates!!
|Posted on August 8, 2015 at 7:35 PM||comments (62)|
It's a sad fact, but fact none the less, that all farmers crops are at the mercy of Mother Nature. We are no different. Last November was one of those unique situations. You can call it global warming or climate change if you want to, but as farmers we have to take what ever rolls our way. Mother Nature is our boss.
Most years we have a frost by early October. That frost tells the trees and vines to start going to sleep for the winter. They slowly shut down and the sap stops flowing. Leaves turn colors an everyone starts thinking of pumpkins and turkeys. In the Fall of 2014 there were no frosts. So by November our trees were still in full green leaves. We had to stomp the pumpkin vines to the ground and our winter squash was still waiting for the frost to set it's flavor. Then about the second week of November the weather turned bitterly cold. Twelve degrees to be exact. All of our trees that still had green leaves and sap flowing through their branches were christalized in place. Almost all of the fruit buds died. The cherry trees completely died.
The winter of early 2015 played tricks on the trees as well. It was unseasonably warm in February, so much so, that our peach, apricot and plum trees blossomed early (in March). Unfortunatly that caused an early fruit set that did not survive the frosts of April. Thus no cherries, peaches, apricots or plums for 2015. Believe it or not, the Italian Prunes survivied and are ripe a month earlier than usual.
That leads us to the fall of 2015. Our apple crop is seriously deminished. Many of our trees have no apples at all. Some breeds of apple trees survived and have fruit. Due to the early blosoming, the Apples that survived are riping early, too.
We need apples for our Raw Cider so our u-pick season will come with limitations. We are asking all of our u-pick customers not to drop any apples on the ground. If you pick apples you do not want, we need you to put them into the cider bins that will be available alongside the rows you will be picking.
As soon as there are three varieties of apples available we will start Pressing our Wonderful Raw Apple Cider.
|Posted on March 2, 2015 at 7:20 PM||comments (0)|
I guess it has been a while since I sat down and wrote a blog. Last fall was the season that never ended. We had a fabulous apple harvest and a really late frost so we had people picking apples into November. When that was over it was Turkey time. Then came the popcorn harvest.
One day I will learn to hold the phone the right direction.
Now it is March 2nd 2015. We have started the first 8000 seed starts and are waiting for them to reach transplant size. The first 3 tons of that popcorn is cleaned up and we have about 6 more tons to go. The garden layout is almost finished and the real work is about to begin. I hope to see you all this summer season!
|Posted on July 25, 2014 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
We love being an all natural farm that grows food with organic practices. We know that we cater to a smaller demographic group. That is part of what makes us unique. When we first started this venture we were invincible. We would say, Yes I can," to anything that our customers asked for. We even tried doing CSA's for a couple of years.
As time went on we started realizing that we were spread so thin that we were only able to do a mediocre job. We met other farmers going the all natural way, and we all had similar stories to tell.
Many years ago we started a joint venture with Vogel Farms in the greenhouse. That led to popcorn and turkeys. We found that when we shared the load we could accomplish so much more. Two years ago we had a "Short water year." We sat back and said, "What do we do the most of and how can we do it better. So we cut back on some varieties and concentrated on better managing our bigger crops.
All this leads to co-operative farming. When we meet a new farmer who is asking us to share our wisdom, one thing we can tell them is to do a few things well and let your neighbor do some other things well, together we can accomplish more.
Two years ago I met Katie Christensen and her Mom at the Kuna Farmers Market. They had beautiful Russet potatoes. They asked us if we would like to come get some and sell them at our farm stand. We said, "Yes." That year we learned that we had truly found our Niche market. Our Customers would say, "These are beautiful. Are they spray free?" To make a long story short I almost didn’t even make back what I spent on them.
So to my surprise a few weeks ago I got an email from Katie and she had grown a test plot of Spray Free Potatoes. She wanted to know if I would be interested in selling them for her. My answer is an emphatic YES!!! I welcome the Christensen’s and thank them for venturing into our eccentric little group of all natural farmers. I truly hope all of you out there will come and buy their potatoes. If they sell well, she will grow more next year.
We have Yukon Gold, Red, Blue and Purple Potatoes. I had them for dinner last night and they were delicious!
|Posted on January 16, 2014 at 7:55 PM||comments (0)|
After starting our new year with a traditional Irish meal for good luck, (Corned Beef and Cabbage) Debi and I started the annual seed order. We milled over catalogs and last year’s orders deciding what worked and what needed to change. After two days we had a beautiful selection of flowers and vegetable plants to start. We have decided to get bold on our colors and have added more untried flowers than usual. We are really excited to see the beginning of life in our seed start trays. We have many perennials this year. We love perennials but they do not always sell well because they tend to not bloom until the second year. So if you are a perennial lover make sure you ask "Where are your Perennials? I got an excited call from Debi the other day, "the seeds are here!!!" This morning I tied down the plastic to the internal miniature greenhouse we affectionately call the bubble and in a few days the first 9600 seeds will be planted and watered. I will then wait for the annual excited call from Debi, "There is GREEN!!!!!"
I don’t think I have mentioned her before but we have a milk Goat named Baaaaa-bara. Today we got a male named Billy. Hopefully we will have baby goats this June. We milk Baaaaa-bara for milk for our family and I make Cheese and Ice-cream for our family. We do not sell any goat milk or its products. Baaaaa-bara likes to show off for kids who come to the farm for field trips. If you come to the farm this summer you are welcome to visit her, too.
|Posted on November 13, 2013 at 5:55 PM||comments (0)|
Wow!! What a season. You will note that it has been over a month since my last blog. We were sooo.... busy in October.
We wanted to thank everyone who called and came to visit us this fall. Even though we ran out of apples and cider early this year everyone who came to visit was understanding and very nice. It seems that this year was the "Murphy’s Law Year,” everything seemed to go wrong. Even so, we are looking on the bright side; the apples should have a bumper crop next year because they had so much time to rest this year. Mother Nature has already started bring us much needed moisture and we hope it keeps coming.
Tom and Chan went to the Annual Horticulture Society Meeting and came home with some really innovative new ideas. We intend to start implementing them soon. We hope to start planting new trees in what is called high density planting. I may explain more later but we will be adding lots of Sweet cherry trees and some Pie cherry trees that will hopefully be available for u-pick in 2016. Tom is taking a more active role in the future of this orchard and I hope this is what he chooses to do. I would love to hand this place down to him someday. But not too, soon I'm not that old yet!
Thanks to all my friends and family who came and helped us during the pumpkin patch, I could never do it without you. Now it is turkey time. We are all but sold out. There will be a few birds available after the butchering is done, but because of possible damage during processing, we cannot guarantee them as available until the day we get them back. If you want to be on a waiting list call Debi Vogel at 466-6928.
|Posted on September 28, 2013 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
Pumpkin time is almost here. We will be opening the Pumpkin Patch on Friday October 4th. We will be open every Friday and Saturday in October from 9:00 - 6:00 and Every Sunday in October from 12:00 - 6:00. Our hayride will be making regular runs to the patch all day. We will have Jack-O-Lantern and pie pumpkins as well as baby pumpkins and gourds. The indian corn is getting close to ready, too.
Don't forget your free sample bag of our locally grown popcorn available in our store.
Our final cider pressing of the season will be October 3rd and it will be bottled and available for sale on Friday October 4th, until it is gone. Get it while it lasts.
Sadly our apples are all gone for this year. Please remember to come and get them next season.
|Posted on September 14, 2013 at 7:10 PM||comments (0)|
It's Cider time. We have pressed twice so far and will probably only have two more pressings this year. This year most of our apple crop was lost to a freeze in late May. We are stripping the apples from the orchard. Any left over cider will be available frozen. Supply will be limited so get it while you can.
|Posted on September 7, 2013 at 11:15 AM||comments (0)|
Well it was mid-way through the Corn and Pickle Festival when someone whispers in my ear, "she's in labor." That would be my youngest daughter Maria. As things ended up I spent the next three weeks in Lewiston waiting for Taylor Gene Rogers to enter the world.
Since I have been home all I have been able to do is play catch-up. We finished pickling cucumber season on Labor Day Monday. Gala Apples are available for U-Pick. Blackberries are finally ripening but production seems down this year due to the extra warm weather. Summer squash, eggplant, peppers and melons are all on now.
We wanted to press Cider on Thursday but Mother Nature slowed us down with a Beautiful Rain Storm. For which we are very thankful. So today Chan is prepping equipment and Brett is supposed to come over today and hopefully we will have cider by evening.
|Posted on August 8, 2013 at 6:25 PM||comments (7)|
Our farm stand will be closed this Saturday August 10th 2013. We will be attending the 7th annual Corn and pickle festival, where I will demonstrate how easy it tis to make home made pickles. Please come and join us. from 9-4 at Vogel Farms, 9501 Robinsin Rd, Kuna, ID.
Only two days to go. I have been making pickles all week. At least 4 of the varieties I am making require several days each, so I do all the prep work so you can see and taste the final product. Well I better go because there is lots to do to prepare!! See You There!!
|Posted on July 26, 2013 at 4:45 PM||comments (0)|
Today is Friday and I picked a few larger pickling cucumbers for a special request. We called our crew boss and scheduled the crew for Monday morning early. On Monday we will pick and sort somewhere around 200-300 lbs of cucumbers. Then we fill orders. My daughter Deanna is coming over in the evening to process pickles for our families, out of whatever is left over. We will pick every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until Labor Day. The amount of cucumbers harvested gets larger each day for the first few weeks, and then levels out.
We have many steady pickling customers and we have the added good fortune this year of some local restaurants that will be using our picklers, too. If you are interested in making your own pickles be sure to get ahold of me as soon as you can. There are many days that we sell out of cucumbers.
Don't know how to make pickles? Come to the Corn and Pickle Festival at Vogel Farms on August 10th from 9-4. Starting at 10:00 we will be demonstrate how to make homemade pickles. There will be a new demonstration every half hour with the last one beginning at 3:00. Check out the Corn and Pickle page under the events tab for more information.