Friday, August 1, 2008

Farming on Film

Last week, we and our mentors, Sandhill Organics, were featured in a great blog called People and the Land. The blog written by two photographers who are on a 10-week journey throughout the Midwest and East Coast with the goal of capturing images of rural communities and forest practitioners. The photographs really capture the beautiful environment that we and our hard working fellow farmers work in each day, as well as the fruits (or vegetables in our case) of their labor.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Did somebody say GARLIC?

We got great feedback about our garlic last year and decided to plant a lot more for this year. We just finished our garlic harvest digging over 2300 heads of garlic! Everyone is a little sore but it feels good to see all that delicious garlic. We won't sell all of our garlic once it is done curing (drying) we will sort it and save the best heads for planting in the fall. Through this process we gradually select the best garlic that is better suited to our soils and climate.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Nice article about CSAs in the USA

This is a nice article that explains what a CSA is and does a farm and its customers. We'd echo the sentiments of one of the farmer's quoted in the article: “There’s always pressure on. This is a complicated business, growing so many crops." We grow over 120 varieties with a limited crew, but we're dedicated to the idea that producing for our CSA is important for us, our customers, our environment and our sustainability as a business.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

State of the field

These a couple pictures of what is happening in our field...

Tomatoes are growing and continually need to be trellised.

Summer squash and is starting to come in.

Broccoli is starting to be harvested.

Good Bye Water Buffalo!

We finally have water in our field! While that may look like a bunch of steel it is the end of an era at Dea Dia. We no longer need to schlep 600 gallons of water in a big tank behind my truck half a mile to water our crops.

Today our tomatoes got a nice long drink and both the plants and I am much happier because of it!
Last week, there was a great article in the New York Times about three products we're offering this season: green garlic, scapes and heads of garlic. It's amazing how the different forms of garlic produce slightly different flavors, all seasonal and delicious. It's worthwhile to have smelly hands throughout the summer for these treats!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rain Can't Stop Us

It's been a soggy early summer in Grayslake (and throughout the Midwest) and we've gotten a lot of questions about how we're doing with the rain. We appreciate everyone's thoughts and concerns, and in short: we've been very lucky. Although some of our crops look droopy because of rain and there is standing water in some of the fields, we were able to harvest lettuce, spinach, radishes, kales, collards, arugula and green garlic this week.

In the beginning of our season, it so important (emotionally) to have a good harvest and a full table at our market. We know there are plenty of farmers out there who are worse off than we are, so we are very thankful for what we've been able to harvest so far. We'll keep you posted on how things go throughout the next few weeks.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tomatoes are in!

It must be summer... we got all of our tomatoes (over 700 plants) planted Monday and today we nearly hit 90 degrees.

After the big storms last Friday we had our first volunteer day for '08 on Saturday. We got a lot of lettuce planted and fixed our row cover all of which pulled up in the storms.
It was a great day, thanks everyone for all your help. Once again Owen stole the show in the pictures.

Sorry Jon I had to put this one in... it just looks like you're having so much fun with that hoop!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Rain pt.2

Not eight hours ago I posted a message saying I was thankful for the rain... well no more. Around 10-11 this morning a storm moved in with STRONG winds pulling the plastic off one of the green houses and destroying most of our fellow incubating farm chicken pens.


We are finally getting some much needed rain. After a wet early spring we didn't get much rain until Memorial Day weekend (1.25"!) and more today. Our transplants are finally growing, seeds are germinating and the field is looking good. Now we just have to keep up with the weeds which are loving the rain just as much as the crops.

After a couple initial glitches our tractor is becoming a huge help. I have been doing a lot of seeding over the past month and I have just started to use it to do some cultivation. With a little fine tuning everything should start to fit together nicely!

Monday, May 19, 2008

While we're in the midst of planting our crops, receiving rain periodically and enjoying the green growth of salad leaves in the sun, I can't help but think of others who might long for what we have.

I've been paying close attention to everything happening in Asia lately, and I heard on NPR about the "hungry season" in Myanmar today. In Myanmar, May is the season where the pantries are depleted and many await eagerly for the spring crops to grow into much needed food. A recent New York Times article more thoroughly explains the situation and really made me appreciate what we're able to produce and provide.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Oink Oink!

Pigs have arrived at the Prairie Crossing Farm! Five families (we are one of them) are raising four pigs. So far it has been great, we are splitting the chores and the pigs are doing great. One of them, a female Tamworth, has taken a special liking to my boots. Every morning when I feed them she eats a little and then comes over, wipes her nose on my pants and starts to chew on my boot. I don't know what I have been stepping in that is so tasty but she seems to like it!

We decide to raise these pigs for a couple reason. First was the delicious, humanely raised pork. Second was to see how they would do in a pasture helping us weed the soil. Especially the roots of Canadian Thistle which is a very difficult weed to get rid of and one we have a lot of. Cheers.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Spring has sprung!

We have gotten a lot planted in the last couple weeks. The brassicas are planted, we are almost finished getting the onions in the ground and we have seeded many different crops in anticipation of our coming markets and CSA shares. It feels great to see things growing in the field... pictures to follow soon!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Help arrives

We now have some help on the farm. Chris started this Monday and will be working for us throughout the summer. It is great to have some help in field and not always behing on what we need to get done!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Let the planting begin!

It finally dried out enough to get into the field at start preparing for the coming crops! Hopefully by the end of the week I will have transplanted broccoli, kale, cabbage, brusslels sprouts, onions, lettuce and a handful of other things. It finally feels like spring has arrived on the farm!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Farm Visit

We just had a visit from our friend and mentor Dave Varney of One Sun Farm, a permaculture farm in LaFarge WI. Dave is helping us think through and plan our longterm vision for our farm. It is a great help to be able to talk through our ideas and goals with someone who has already been through it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The newest member to the Dea Dia family

We just bought our first tractor, a 1965 IH 140! Yes, it's yellow... I know it is supposed to be red. It was originally used as a highway department tractor to mow along the sides of roads.

Along with the tractor we got a basket weeder, a double cultivating tool bar with knifes and sweeps, and a set of Planet Jr. seeders. We will be using it to direct seed crops, cultivate and stale seed bed before planting.

This was all made possible through a grant from the Frontera Farmer Foundation.