It's been a busy week, between the CSA on Wednesday and picking to get ready for the Farmer's Market on Saturday. It has been really humid all week but I started wearing shorts and it has made it much more comfortable to have less fabric clinging to me when I'm hot and sweaty. I went with Rusty (another intern) to our "South" pick-up location for those CSA customers to help him hand out bags and see how things are done. It's nothing fancy...just us handing out the bags out behind Caboodles cupcake shop. Rusty bought a dozen cupcakes to take back with him and gave me one. I've seen these gourmet cupcake shops popping up all over in our travels and I must say at $2 a piece, it should be pretty profitable for them. They were way too sweet for me. This shop even has gluten free ones to choose from.
On Thursday we started out the morning by visiting the chickens. There are 24 of them and they are free range chickens, who also share the pasture with the alpacas. They are also heritage breeds which means they come from a long lineage of the old breeds that have been around a long time. Some breeds of heritage animals are also on the endangered species list since so few of them remain. There are groups that are dedicated to preserving heritage breeds of different kinds of animals, which I think is so important to do since many of these breeds are ideally suited for small farmers.
We gathered the eggs and filled the water dispensers. I got a look at the fancy timer that is connected to the little trap door on their coop. There is a string connected to a motor (see picture on the left) so that when the timer goes off it opens the door at a preset time to let the chickens out in the morning and then when you want them inside for the night, it lowers the door. They are $106 on Amazon if you want to set up a curfew for your cats on their kitty door. Pretty neat, eh ?
Thursday night there was a U-Pick tomato night for the CSA members and about 20 people showed up. They could pick all they wanted for free and they did a really great job of picking the whole area, since we hadn't picked it since Tuesday. The ones they didn't get were in the middle of the plants or down low, where it's hard to see them. We still picked 6 totes worth on Friday morning so you can imagine how many we would have had, if they hadn't come the night before.
Friday we spent the morning picking for the farmer's market booth which I worked with Ann, the assistant garden manager. After lunch, we cleaned everything and loaded the tent into the van to get ready for leaving Saturday morning. I met Ann at the office at 6:45 and we loaded all the produce we had prepared and off we went. The farmer's market is held in a parking lot across from the factory that makes Clabber Girl baking powder. I've never heard of it but it's been around for a really long time and is still produced in the plant across the street from where we were. The area where I took this picture of all the old style tins is where there is a little coffee shop and museum type of area. They've restored all the old woodwork and there are tons of displays set up. Too bad I didn't have more time to check it all out. Maybe I can take time another day to go see it. It makes a great setting for people to spend their Saturday morning's at the market and then gather for coffee and a danish in their coffee shop.
We had a busy day at the market. It reminded me of when I was 12 and had my roadside produce stand. You meet the neatest people at places like this. I spent some time talking to the vendor next to us, Jason and his wife Kathy. They have a 100 acre farm where they do grass fed milk. Kathy also makes homemade Kombucha, which is a fizzy, fermented drink. I've tried the store bought ones and didn't care for it at all. Kathy gave me a sample of her Hawaiian Tropic flavor and it was really good. She makes about five different ones and even sells the kit so you can make your own. They sold all sorts of items and I really enjoyed visiting with them. They said that the interns have come out to their farm before for a tour. I hope that we get to go while I am here. I'd be interested to see their operation. They make all sorts of products like cheese, soap and cottage cheese, plus they have an acre planted in vegetables.
At our booth, we sold all sorts of items, including a sunburn cream and bruise salve that Robyn made. We had two different types of okra and I got to cook with that when I came home from the market since Ann gave me a leftover CSA bag and there was a bag given out to each member last week. We also sold soft and hard neck garlic, which I am not familiar with. It's almost time to plant that since it gets planted in the fall and harvested in the spring. The soft neck garlic keeps longer than the hard neck.
We had some Asian pears, which were super sweet and delish. We had tomatillos, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, bell and anaheim peppers, apples, garlic, onions, purple and green beans, eggplant and beautiful flower bouquets. It was fun and I came home with a large loaf of zucchini bread from a nearby vendor. I had to water the chickens when I got back to White Violet Center, before returning to my room to relax and do some reading. I'm reading Beekeeping for Dummies, which is an interesting book.
Last night some type of disturbance came through and the winds came up. I found a number of tree limbs down in the park this morning
where I walk and this one was pretty big. I'm hoping that no car had a close encounter of the worst kind last night when it came down on the road. The hot spell is moving out and we should have cooler temps this week. We are still off work tomorrow but I'm hoping to catch up with Tracy, the alpaca manager, who's working tomorrow and learn more about their care. Hopefully she'll let me tag along while they feed and care for them. Hope everyone is having a restful holiday weekend with family and friends. This weekend always signifies the end of summer so we need to enjoy the nice weather while it still lasts. The almanac is calling for a cold and snowy winter, here in Indiana. Wouldn't you know that the winter I come here will probably break all sorts of records. Let's hope not !