I know, I know, everyone is complaining about the weather, so I guess it's not worth the wind to go bellowing on about how cold, windy, blustery and downright icky it has been this Spring. Of course, we've got a warm-up in sight and Summer will be here in a couple of days. Long winter, one week of Spring, then Summer...isn't that how it goes in these parts?
This Spring has been great for keeping kids focused in the classrooms, but for farmers on the corn/soybean rotation, warm weather arriving so late is particularly concerning. They worry that if the soil doesn't warm, the days of good growing degree units could potentially be too few for good crop yields. Corn needs soil temps of at least 50 degrees to germinate, and then to grow a good crop it needs "growing degree days" where the temps are in the mid 80s and the lows no cooler than 50 degrees. The optimum planting dates for corn in Wisconsin are between May 1st and May 7th. In a "normal" year, many farmers have soybeans in the ground and corn planters running by now. We're a good three weeks late. The FSA (Farm Service Agency), of the USDA, recommends corn in Wisconsin be planted by June 1 in our area. This, my friends, is what William calls a "window!" There is a very tight window of days to get into the fields this year.
Last year, rye made a lot of sense on our organic ground. We have a lot of weed pressure in many of our grain fields, so it seemed prudent to plant rye. If you remember in another of my weekly Farm News posts, I wrote about how rye is allelopathic meaning it suppresses weed germination and growth. Rye is also planted in the Fall, so in this late Spring, William already has a large portion of the farm planted! Over the last two weeks I keep hearing him exclaim, "Boy, am I glad I planted all that rye last Fall!"
This late Spring is not all bad news if farms are diversified meaning they have a variety of income streams, crops and animals. It's years like this where small family farms might just be able to come out ahead, because all their eggs are scattered around the farm - not in one basket. Those farms that have animals, grow some row crops, have hay, fruit, veggies and any variety of farm-based enterprises will likely be able to weather the storms of an upset Mother Nature. Out here winds are the most destructive weather force we face.
Needless to say, William and I might just be working around the clock in these little windows of opportunity. I'm focused on the new restaurant venture for awhile, hoping that we might be able to launch that project in early Summer. The blown down greenhouse is getting a revamp, and I suspect the gardens will get planted much later than normal. However rushed it feels right now, I am optimistic that all will be well.
IN THE STORE
The store is fully stocked! This is the time of year you might want to think of enjoying a farm breakfast as our free-range hens are again active providing eggs. (Today William left me at the Dirt Farm to write this blog, went over to Lake View and a little while later showed up with breakfast! He's got a pile of work in his headlights, but feeding those he loves is his number one favorite thing. A true farmer feeds the world...but the wife first:) I sure do love this sweet man!)
For those of you who have asked, "Do you take Venmo?" your day has come. Although not very "farmy," we understand that carrying cash, (and God forbid, a checkbook), is certainly a thing of the past for lots of people. If we are going to continue in the New Old-Fashioned Way, we figured it time to accept invisible currency! If you have the Venmo app on your phone, you simply scan our QR code located in the store with your camera or through the app, type in the amount you are paying to Lake View Organic Farm, bag up your goodies, and miraculously, we'll be notified that you paid. Crazy.
PARKING ON THE FARM
The farm tractors are out again, so please remember not to block the driveways. We ask that you nose into the parking near our barn so the big machinery can come and go.
We'll be seeing you all soon when we get the new Farmhouse World Kitchen in Plum City open - you'll be invited for certain.
Sending love from the farm,