Market Locations and Hours
Jim's Notes 7/18/19
Well, we’re drinking lots of water and taking breaks in the shade as much as possible. But it is hot out there in the fields! Not quite as bad as DC, luckily, but hot. This afternoon Jenni decided to send the crew to the lake for some swimming and cooling down. We tend to do that once per summer, especially on a day like today. Other times we can just jump in the creek next to the fields.
And speaking of heat, we do expect some of that on Saturday at market time. But just remember: fruits and vegetables are cold and wet! And over our 47 years we’ve seen quite a few 100° days at market, and, obviously, survived them!
Now about corn: Hope you’ve been enjoying it as much as we have. We know these first couple of weeks the ears have been smallish, but the eating quality has been spectacular, and as we go forward the ear size will improve. And from now on all the corn should be organically-grown by us. BTW, you probably know: organic corn is hard to find, even at Whole Foods.
Now the peach report. We’re all waiting for those free-stone varieties to come in! So far the cling varieties have been tasty and juicy (and early!), but shucks! We want freestones! Gotta be patient. They never come til late July, then, once they start we’ll have them for two whole months! And those sweet “donut” peaches started this week! Yum!
Melons! They’re starting this week! Esp cantaloupes. Our nearby friends, the Mack family, have been consistently growing the best melons for many years, thank goodness. And we literally guarantee them to be ripe and sweet. Always let us know if you re unlucky enough to get the rare disappointing one. We’ll replace it free or refund your $.
Enough for today. Tune in next week for the big news about our beautiful okra. And read Jenni’s story here of the recent, thrilling garlic harvest!
See you Saturday.
Jim's Notes 7/4/19
Dear loyal customers,
Sorry you haven’t heard from me in a couple of weeks. I miss writing to you, but things are always maximum busy in June. Now we have our biweekly newsletter, so it’s a regular way to motivate me to write.
Here we are at the end of June and it’s the first time in 13 months that we have good news about the weather! The deluging rain has stopped, at least for a month now, and we are so happy that things are drying out! June was the first dry month since April 2018.
Irrigation is not easy or cheap, but we can do it. and it’s so much better for us than too much rain. So we are happily running pumps and moving pipes and looking at healthier crops.
And another nice thing about the end of June: the torture of strawberry picking is over and corn season starts! I just had my first four ears for lunch yesterday, and they were sooo delicious! You’re thinking FOUR EARS at a time?! Yeah, that’s the way I eat corn. (You should too, of course!)
So we’re going to bring you some corn on Saturday and Sunday this week. We’re excited! Last year Adam and Jenni found a new variety called American Dream, and planted a little bit as a trial. It was great. Very early, bicolor, sweet and especially tender. So this year we planted a lot more of it. Hope you like it too.
We are now in our seventh week of marketing (11th for Sunday), and your response has been great! Thank you very much! The weather on Saturday mornings has been sunny and not too hot and turnout has been fine. Our newish Chevy Chase market seems to be catching on quite well, with the tremendous help of the Village Manager, Andy Harney. And the presence of the beloved crepe truck hasn’t hurt.
And how about that Tuesday afternoon market at Sheridan? Gangbusters! Our manager this year is a terribly nice and super energetic woman we call “Wren”. (She’s kind of bird-like). She is apparently really pleasing you, cuz her sales are hitting new records!
Saturdays, on the other hand, are feeling some effects of the competition from the market on Connecticut Ave, which, when it opened, we thought was unfairly diluting demand so close by us. But we know you're loyal to us, and the damage has been minimal.
Anyway, good to talk to you and see you Saturday!
Jim's Notes 6/6/19
Hello loyal customers,
Hope you’re enjoying this perfect spring weather. Here at the farm it’s been beautiful and cool and dry, but only for a few days so far. We have had a great time taking advantage of this brief dry spell, getting lots planted and transplanted. Now we’re hoping for at least another couple of days before the next rain.
It’s been so beautiful here that our crew has been inspired to put some gorgeous pictures on Instagram. I know many of you are not on Instagram, and I was not either until recently, but it’s a great place to see very recent pictures of what’s going on at the farm. I discovered that it’s easy to get on Instagram and there’s no need to have many contacts there. You only need to see pictures of people you care about. In my case that’s only the farm, and my family members, and I never do any posting myself, so I’m just a spectator. It’s great.
We’ve now had two Saturdays and two Tuesday markets, along with five Sundays, and they’ve almost all been great days for us. Thanks a lot for coming back to us for our new season, our 48th! We are very aware of how many newer farmers markets you have near you nowadays, so that makes us appreciate your loyalty more!
I’ve heard lots of kind reports about how good the strawberries and tomatoes, etc. have been. Those tomatoes are such a treat! Grown in a greenhouse by our friends and neighbors near Greencastle, PA, who really know how to enrich the soil to make those tomato plants happy. It’s so complex! We’ve been trying ourselves for almost 50 years to create that special kind of fertility. It’s elusive, but worth the effort if you love tomato flavor as much as I do.
June is a great month for the markets. More delicious new stuff appears each week. Snap peas this next time, then cherries, then apricots then peaches then blueberries—on and on! Enjoy them all, and keep giving us feedback! Let us know what you love (or not!).
See you Saturday!
Jim's Notes 5/30/19
From this point on I will stop writing notes every week, but will do it only every two weeks. My notes will be included in our newsletter, which you can have emailed to you every two weeks just by sending us your email address.
We will still, in addition, publish my notes here on the website, so you can still see them here every two weeks if you’d rather not get an email from us. Thanks for reading about New Morning Farm!
Jim's Notes 5/23/19
Summer’s almost here and markets are getting underway! We are all excited about seeing you and showing you all the good stuff we’ve been growing indoors and out for the past two months.
The greens look fantastic: all kinds of lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, herbs, and yes, brand new kohlrabi! Also, those very tasty tomatoes that we always have in June are ready this week, grown by our neighbor, Andrew Mack, in his greenhouse. Plenty of organic asparagus is coming, and strawberries, but not our own organic ones yet. They aren’t ready, but our nearby grower, Chad Andrews, has some good ones.
So I hope I’ve got your mouth watering, and if it isn’t yet, then imagine some sticky buns or a rhubarb pie. Janie’s 350 Bakery is cranking!
Spring weather so far has been a little too wet, but not as bad as last year, and our highly skilled field manager, Adam, is using all his tricks to keep planting on schedule. Looking ok right now, but we’re glued to the weather radar, tracking the next threatening thunder storm. Wish us luck.
See you Saturday, and remember that you can get this news emailed directly to you every two weeks or so just by emailing us (firstname.lastname@example.org) at least one word, then we’ll have YOUR address. Why not make that this week’s secret word, “SUMMER”?
To learn much more about our farm's present difficult situation, please read our blog. (Just click on "blog" at the top of this website) for many previous weeks of Jim's Notes.
We’ve had dry weather this week. Due to frequent rains, we were really getting desperate, able to work the ground only four days in the last six weeks! Despite the excellent progress, opportunities and preparation available the first part of April, we had worked through all our available ground, and were out of options to keep planting. Many of you know last year was difficult, and our veggies suffered. This May was worse. The weather patterns are similar to last year, stalled front after stalled front, never giving the soil a chance to dry enough for planting. We had hoped that last year was the anomaly, but we’re forced to understand that this is climate change. We will need to learn to grow vegetables all over again, and the risks of production are only going to increase.
But we’ve had dry weather this week! Thanks to heroic efforts by the crew, we’ve made huge strides to catch up on missed plantings, manage our cover crops, and prepare as much ground as possible for the summer plantings. Corn, beans, squash, lettuce, basil, celeriac, are all out in the fields. Cover crops have been mowed, and are starting to break down, the first step to prepare for planting in a month or so. Harvests, especially strawberries and beans, are demanding more effort, and everyone is rising to the challenge. Woohoo!
Last week was our first full week of markets. They were fantastic! Thank you! We are thrilled to see you again and to share enthusiasm for local organic produce, fruits, baked goods, and all the other good food.
We picked the first strawberries today! In typical strawberry harvest fashion, we started picking in bright sunshine, checking each berry for a white tip (meaning it is not yet ripe) before plucking it off the stem. Then the clouds starting moving in. We kept picking and the sky darkened. Just as we finished the last twenty feet, it began to sprinkle, and we whisked the berries down to the packing shed and into the cooler safe and dry.
Strawberry harvest season is about three and a half weeks here at NMF. The brevity is balanced by the intensity. For these three weeks, we will schedule almost every other activity on the farm around strawberry harvest, which is itself scheduled around the weather. It's a lot of work, but the results are delicious.
This past week we've been busy pulling together the last of the details to start our sheridan market this Saturday. Our first year apprentices are getting their first taste of the routine of Sheridan market. The first years have been involved in almost every detail of preparation. We've been carefully harvesting crops, prepping supplies, checking equipment and coordinating with all our wonderful neighbor growers, cheese makers, and bakers. We are excited to have a great selection for Sheridan market this Saturday!
Harvests are building strength. Our new apprentices are getting their first experience of managing their crops. We’ve spent every morning this week harvesting at least two crops from our tunnels and fields. The cooler is full of produce! Boxes are stacked nearly to the ceiling. It’s been too long. Our coolers haven’t looked this good since last summer. The struggles with the weather last fall, and resulting crop failures, left our coolers half full at best. It’s wonderful to step into the cooler and see the spring crops stacked higher than my head. So much good food!
For those of you who love our eggs, great news! We had one chicken, out of 400, laying eggs for almost two weeks. This week the rest of the flock started laying and we’ll have a few pullet eggs for sale this Sunday. In just a few weeks they’ll be at full production, and we will have plenty of the eggs you rely on.
At Market: kohlrabi will make its market debut this Sunday. We will have mountains of Lettuce, Kale, Chard, Radishes, Spinach, Arugula, and Rhubarb. It all tastes spectacular, I’ve been enjoying big salads for breakfast and dinner every chance I get. The herbs have also outdone themselves, cilantro, dill, chives, oregano, mint, sage, parsley, and basil will all be available at market on Sunday.
Here we are, looking at the end of April already! As some of you know, April is our month were we forego markets and completely focus on preparing the fields, crops, equipment, buildings, and people for the season ahead. We've made big strides this last week in all of these areas. Our field manager Adam has continued to prepare the fields, in between rain showers, for summer squash, tomatoes, corn, and beans. The whole crew has helped to transplant over 7000 corn plants and 5000 green bean plants this week alone. Seth and Jen, who have experience in irrigation, worked hard to get water to all of these crops promptly. Tractors and implements are receiving spring maintenance, and buildings are also being deep cleaned and repaired.
We welcomed two more apprentices this week, Burch and Jonathan started work on Tuesday. Our apprentice team for the season is complete, and we've been taking time nearly every day to orient and train all our new team mates. It feels great to have everyone here.
Our new flock of chickens arrived last week. They are settling in
beautifully, getting a bit more confident in their house, and starting
to expect tasty treats when they see us. Jared made a farm wide
announcement this week when he found the first egg! We hope to have enough to sell pullet eggs in a couple weeks.
We head back to the Dupont Circle Market next week! The crops have been growing really well! We will have: red and green head lettuce, it looks and tastes spectacular, basil, arugula, red radishes, french breakfast radishes, spinach, cilantro, and kale for certain. I look forward to seeing you again!
From little vegetable transplants to the woodland shrubs and flowers,
everything has grown this past week. We've enough hours of sunlight, and the continued fair weather, that this growth is noticeable every few days. The first snap peas have pushed their way up, with little leaves open. The rhubarb is the most dramatic, going from little red knobs at the soil surface to leaves bigger than spread fingers in a week. Our cover crops have also jumped ahead, adding a couple inches of growth above the ground, and at least as much root mass below the surface feeding the soil.
We are welcoming two new apprentices. Victoria and Judith are getting settled, and will join the crew in all our activities. As they begin work, they'll be asking about different jobs and crops, thinking about what areas of responsibility they'd like to take on. Late in April we all sit down as a team and figure out how we'll divide responsibility for all the jobs and crops. Apprentices take on ownership of these responsibilities for the whole season, with support from a mentor and all the experience we have present on the farm.
With the beautiful weather, and some drying winds, the whole team has jumped into spring work on the farm. Peas are in the ground and have little roots reaching down through the soil. The tunnels are filling up with lettuce, kale, parsley, arugula, radishes, and beets. We've even put beet, kohlrabi, and fennel transplants out in the field. Our field crops are all carefully covered with white fabric row cover supported by wire hoops. This creates a micro-climate that is about four degrees Fahrenheit warmer around the plants, protecting them from frosts and supporting quicker growth.
All hands were needed yesterday to put new plastic on the greenhouse. Ropes are thrown over, tied to the new sheets of plastic, and heave ho, pulled up and over. Then we pull it tight in all directions and fasten in place. It looks fantastic, and should serve us well for the next 6-8 years.
We're working hard to be ready for Dupont Market on May 5th. We look forward to seeing you then!
The robins have returned in a flock, the bluebird and kingfisher have
been sighted. We have a dawn chorus again, all our birds that
overwinter are testing their spring melodies. The first spring peepers
gave their first few calls this morning! The streams are burbling with
snow melt. Even the farmers are singing!
This past week is the first time since last August that we enjoyed more than 2 days of sun in a row. It has given a much needed boost to the tunnel greens, the cover crops out in the fields which are feeding the soil, and to the farmers. We're looking forward to next week, optimistic that we can plant the first sugar snap peas, radishes, and arugula of the 2019 season! Life is so much easier when the sun is shining.
We're at Dupont Circle on Sunday. The spinach is still spectacular, but this week Lettuce is in the spotlight. We've amazing red butterheads this week, ready for your salad, sandwich, or wrapping your favorite tabbouleh, bean salad, or egg salad.
It's week two of Kohlrabi watch 2019. A quick recap: week zero saw the kohlrabi seeds treated to a hot water bath, and seeded into flats. Week one the baby kohlrabi emerged from the potting soil, each with two tiny heart shaped leaves. Week two, we can now see the very beginning of the first true leaf and each plant is at least 1/4 inch tall.
Even though it's been toe numbing cold, the bright sunny days have
warmed our high tunnels to almost 70F. Our high tunnels rely solely the sun for heat and energy, and regularly reach good growing temperatures even with partial clouds. And our greens are growing fast! The lettuce and the spinach in particular are visibly bigger from one day to the next. We're working hard to keep up with the spinach, it's regrowing almost as fast as we can harvest!
At markets: Spinach! This is the best time of year to enjoy spinach,
it's dark green, sweet, tender, and abundant! Perfect leafy green raw or cooked that we're craving after the dark winter. I'll be at Sheridan Market this Saturday, and look for Seth at Dupont on Sunday.
See you there!
Recipe of the Week
From Smitten Kitchen
5 TABS unsalted butter, cold is fine
1/2 cup sugar
Finely grated lemon zest from half a lemon
3/4 Cup plain unsweetened yogurt or sour cream
1 large egg
1-1/2 teas baking powder
1/4 teas baking soda
1/4 teas fine sea salt or table salt
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 - 1-1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (no need to defrost)
3 TABS turbinado (sugar in the raw) sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 9 paper liners or spray each cup with a nonstick spray. Melt butter in the bottom of a large bowl and whisk in the sugar, zest, yogurt and egg until smooth. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda and salt until fully combined, then lightly fold in flour and berries. Batter will be very thick, likea cookie dough. Divide between prepared muffin cups & sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar, which will seem over-the-top but I promise, will be the perfect crunchy lid at the end. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until tops are golden & a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean. (you know, except for the blueberry goo). Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then the rest of the way on a rack.
These, like most muffins, are best on the first day. We've found through extensive "research" that if you run them split open under a broiler on day two with a pat of salted butter, it's so good that you're going to forever hope for more blueberry muffin leftovers.
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Everything Starts as a Seed
Jim and Moie Crawford started organic farming in 1972, on rented land, with a little experience, and practically no money. Over the course of 40 years, New Morning Farm grew from a small operation, selling vegetables out of the back of a pick-up truck, to a farm of over 95 acres with several thriving markets in Washington, D.C.