Farm Focus: Winter at the Farm
Each week we use the Farm Focus to dive into nitty-gritty of farm projects here at Frog Hollow Farm. Every once in a while it is good to step back and look at the farm as a whole to get a sense of the seasonal swings of farm life. The pace changes gradually throughout the year but the new year is one of the more sudden transitions that is much more palpable. While our volume is lower this time of year, that doesn't mean we stop picking, packing, cooking or distributing fruit.
Work never stops on a California farm because winter can still be a bounteous time of year. We are about to start picking winter citrus. This citrus orchard is one of the oldest at Frog Hollow and provides a beautiful sight on dreary winter days when all of our stone fruit trees are leafless and dormant. The bergamot orange tree, used for our very limited Bergamot Marmalade, is COVERED in beautiful fruit almost ready for harvest. The small but prolific meyer lemon trees are yellow and just starting to turn their distinct almost-orange color. A few have been harvested and are already headed to the kitchen to become Meyer Lemon Cakes. Soon to follow will be blood and navel oranges - we can't wait!
The stone fruit trees have had most of their leaves blown off and all of their energy is stored down in their roots. The crews will be pruning as they are able to between rain storms and continue getting compost on the ground to start the season off well.
Rene, our garden guru, has been waiting for a clear day. He’s had a greenhouse full of beautiful seedlings ready to head in the ground. Just like home gardening, nothing ever goes quiet as planned on a farm so our ever-moving veggie patch is back on the same plot as last year using paper mulch to manage weeds. Soil tests yielded good results so both Magana and Virgilio's crews came and helped get all these seedlings in the ground. Only a few rows of garlic are left to plant at his point.
Rachel is busy trudging around the farm gathering soil samples for testing. This is her second year testing these same areas so now have a baseline and will be able to track bulk density, microbial activity and carbon sequestration over the long term, along with the nutrition testing already performed.
Around the office and packing shed we've got lots of winter projects. The packing shed will get a good winter cleaning and in the office our website will get freshened up, too! We're also working on some new additions to our CSA webstore including veggie add-ons and new prepared foods so stay tuned. Things don't feel as urgent as summer but there is still the hum of activity created by having time to finally get to these important winter projects. Soon enough the buds will begin the swell and we will be anxiously anticipating the orchard in bloom but until then we'll enjoy the foggy mornings & lush, green grass.