Farm Update September 2013

by Ben Munger

After an almost perfect summer for growing weather on the Farm the temperature jumped when the seniors returned to help prepare the school for the new year. It always seems to work that way - it just wouldn’t be right if there would be fog and pleasant afternoons. We demand dust, flies, and intense heat. The heat kicked the zucchini into high gear and pushed the lettuce into premature bolting, but the heat has put the hot into the peppers. The peppers are the hottest they have been ever and a new Paprika type pepper called Krimson Lee is sweet and hot. BG’s stir fry and Gloria’s salsa are especially tasty with moderate use of these new peppers. Along with the peppers the heat has helped ripen tomatoes and we have a good crop. One is a surprise - beautiful striped Roma Tomatoes called Speckled Roman that we did not order, but the majority are Big Beef and Striped German that are big enough to make a sandwich with one slice. To stake up the tomatoes we have great Asian hardwood stakes that came from the Sanford Winery where they were first installed in 1975. Pulled out of the ground for new vineyards they have made excellent 2”x 2” stakes for the farm and for improving aged fences. Our cattle lessee Ralph Lausten got the stakes after pulling them out and knew we would use and appreciate the resource. We have enough in “Storage Canyon” to keep us busy fixing fences for the next three years.

On August 23rd Katie Isaacson Hames had a baby girl and is now busy taking care of her with Will at their home near Lompoc. Katie’s long-time family friend Sarah Perkins is working on the farm in her stead and is also coaching girls volleyball at Midland. The big push right now is to pick extra tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos and freeze them to use later in the year. Sarah is helping with this task and we might squeeze in some fence work before the season is over.

Students working on the farm are Madison Weatherford as lettuce picker and Graham Mills as pig feeder and compost guy. Graham fed the pigs last year and did a great job and I am hoping to make his job even easier by purchasing a tricycle with a small platform that he could load the slop and compost buckets onto and pedal out to the pigs in the morning. There are excellent heavy duty tricycles from the Workman Corporation that we are interested in purchasing. Madison is great at communicating with Gloria in the morning and is out getting the lettuce by 7:15am. She has been picking about 30 heads of romaine or green leaf every morning and washing it in the bath tubs before leaning it against the kitchen wall to drain. Madison uses the wheelbarrow that is the perfect wheelbarrow, made originally by Sherman Herrick, and redecked several times. It balances loads easily and is perfect for the lettuce person keeping the dripping boxes from soaking your clothes before classes.

5100 Figueroa Mountain Road/PO Box 8, Los Olivos, CA 93441 | ph: 805-688-5114 |

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