The past couple of weeks have been super busy here with wholesale customers ordering big orders each week. This photo reflects a typical Monday in May when orders are pulled and put everywhere, including clogging the aisles, waiting for their turn to be cleaned and labeled by Beki, Carol and Lizz. When they are beautiful and ready to be delivered to our customers they are staged on racks in a holding area until their delivery day later in the week. We’ve been processing more than 500 flats each week for the past two weeks…which is a LOT and I’ve moved every single flat personally numerous times! My body and mind is very tired and in deep gratitude for the business.
This Saturday and Sunday are the final days of our Open Farm Days and Farm Stand Plant Sale for 2013. We will open our farm to the public for these last two days before closing to the public and going back to being strictly wholesale. We still have plenty of great plants for sale if you are needing some good choices for your garden landscape. Come visit between 9am and 4pm this Saturday and Sunday and we hope you will do a final bit of shopping while you are visiting the farm.
I will be teaching 4 workshops this weekend, free workshops on all kinds of herbal topics. Saturday morning there will be a demo workshop on making tinctures, vinegars, teas and infusions. Saturday afternoon will be a harvesting and storing your herbs workshop. On Sunday morning I will be giving a workshop on growing and using culinary herbs, and in the afternoon on Sunday the final workshop will be choosing herbs for a moonlit herb garden. This workshop will be about choosing beautiful herbs that reflect nicely in the garden in the moonlight, of which we have a full moon right now, so it should be perfect timing to plant these types of herbs in your garden. Workshops are held at 10 am and 1:30 pm each day.
On Saturday at noon we will be raffling off the Gnome Garden planter to some lucky person who purchased a raffle ticket over the course of the Open Farm Days. There is still time until noon on Saturday to stop by and buy a raffle ticket for $1.00 each if you would like to enter into the drawing. The winner must pick up their Gnome Garden by 4 pm on Sunday afternoon or they will forfeit their prize to the backup winner. Money generated by the raffle will be used to purchase fresh produce for our local food bank, so this event is not only fun, but also serves the community in a positive way.
The weather has settled now into warm night temperatures, so I brought out all my citrus trees from the greenhouse, many loaded with ripening fruits, to the steps of the back porch. This summer they will live there, adoring our gathering porch space, and happily growing until it is time to be taken back indoors in autumn before the first hard frost occurs. There are limes, lemons, tangerines, kumquiats, and pomegranates.
Chris and Elyse, our field crew team for the summer, have been planting field starts and pulling weeds from the perennial seed crop beds. There are still a lot of crops to be planted, but they are off to a great start and their help is very much appreciated. My Chris has been driving nearly every day making deliveries to wholesale customers all over Colorado and northern New Mexico, so he is especially appreciative of these folk’s help since it is hard for him to get a lot of field time in right now.
Another very big event this week is the arrival of the farm’s and Lizz’s honeybees. This is our bee yard waiting for the bees to arrive on Tuesday. The bees had a bit of a challenge getting here though, because UPS sent them to the wrong location and then had to re-route them back to Canon City. Instead of arriving by noon on Tuesday, Lizz and I picked them up Tuesday evening at the local UPS station and brought them here to their new home.
We received 3 colonies in all and this is how they are shipped. Lizz removed the packing strips and then removed the queen in her own traveling box and installed her into each new hive.
Once the queen bee is in the hive, Lizz pours (literally) the rest of the colony of bees into the hive.
There are two different styles of hives in the bee yard. Lizz is housing her colony of bees in a top bar hive she built. This is looking directly into this hive after the bees were poured in. You can see the sugar water in jars inside the hive to feed the bees until they begin to establish themselves in their new home and start to forage for nectar, pollen and resins out in nature. Lizz and Chris are experimenting with two different approaches to feeding the bees. The farm colonies of bees are eating honey syrup and Lizz’s colony is eating sugar syrup. Our two mentors have advised us to use different choices, so Lizz is trying both choices to see if there ends up being any noticeable difference between the colonies. Here they are on Thursday re-filling the feeders.
Today is our annual organic inspection to renew our USDA organic certification. It takes the better part of the day to get through the inspection process, so today is dedicated to that event and not a lot of other farm work will take place. We have a new inspector this year, which we expect will add time to the already long inspection process as this inspector has not visited our farm before and has no background as a starting point. It is a difficult time to have our inspection when we are so busy filling wholesale orders, but it must be done and is very important for us.
Wednesday was also the last day of work for our seasonal greenhouse crew. Most of the planting for the season is finished, excepting maintenance planting which goes on year round, and with the end of May the 500 flat week orders will start to get a bit smaller (hopefully not too quickly:)). Beki and Carol and Lizz have worked super hard, above and beyond the call of duty. They are exhausted, as are we all this time of year. We send Carol and Beki back to their normal lives and will look forward to asking them to return for the spring season next year when their help will very much be needed. Being shorthanded for a few weeks will make life interesting for Lizz, Chris and I to get all the greenhouse work done each week, and Doug will be helping out on weekends, but it is a transition we make each May and it is time not only due to the work load, but for the farm budget. Thank you Carol and Beki!!
So, I’ll close this very long post and get out to the greenhouses early this morning so that I can finish my watering before the inspector arrives at 9 am. Please do come and visit us this weekend for our last Open Farm Days. You can even “sit a spell” on the porch while your here and enjoy the citrus trees.
With Green Thoughts,