The week has been busy and intense, it has been the final push before the season settles into something that resembles a routine. The farm from March to July has a way of consuming you, it is non-stop with never an end in sight. There are so many different jobs to do, and so many plants to plant.
You are either contending with not enough water, or too much water, not enough heat or too much heat, not enough crops or too many crops, no weeds and then weeds everywhere.
There is fun too at times, but finding those moments of fun when there is so much pressure can be tricky. Emmanuel our farm manager seems to have an abundance of energy, enthusiasm, and cheerfulness, on days when you are covered in muck, wet through to your bones and your wellies are caked in wet clay that is priceless.
This week has brought its share of challenges: A key piece of equipment finally failing us at a crucial moment then getting it fixed to find it breaks again the next day. Luckily plan B or was it C? worked reasonably well, and we got through the big back log of plants that are now securely planted in the land.
Unrolling nets to keep the pigeons from our crops is always fun, especially when you end up hauling heavy wet mucky nets over fields to find out they are the wrong size, arrrgh and a few choice words generally spring to mind on those occasions.
The wind it seems has decided to get under quite a bit of our biodegradable ground cover and has ripped it and damaged the crops that were under it, whilst the crows (and here again I have a choice non-zen like expletive I use to describe these creatures) are having their usual fun with us.
They walk down a bed of leeks pecking out random leeks to discover (to their chagrin I imagine) they are not worms (or maybe they know all along and do it anyway!) and they then throw the little leek plants onto the tractor tracks. We then spend the next 4-5 hours filling the gaps with new leeks to have them repeat the endeavour the next day. I feel we will not win this particular battle.
There is a wise expression that says: for every seed you sow there is a percentage that will not germinate, a percentage that will not mature properly and a percentage that will be pecked out by the crows! Or maybe I just made that up to make myself feel better.
But on the most magical of notes, we have seen a resurgence of birds of prey around our farm, which is amazing and this week a buzzard tried to strike down a pigeon before our very eyes.
So, it seems we have crested the hill of madness or very nearly anyway (there is a little voice at the back of my head whispering that there is more to come, something else is about to happen, but I am ignoring that for now), and now the full flow of the Irish harvest starts.
We are already seeing our cold-rooms fill with the finest Irish organic produce you can get anywhere from our own farm and other Irish organic farms too. Today we are harvesting kale and courgettes. Tomorrow it will be tomatoes, salad, lettuce and cucumbers and we have lots and lots of produce.
Growing a diversity of crops keeps us on the wrong side of too busy, it is hard to keep on top of everything, it is also fiercely labour intensive, all the crops are harvested by hand and whilst we endeavour to do as little hand weeding as possible it is inevitable that some must be done.
So, it is after a full 6 months of preparation we finally start to see the fruits of our labour, and it is at this time, the start of July that we always see our orders drop off due to holidays. But if you can at all please don’t forget about us, we will continue to be here fighting with the crows, harvesting lovely fresh produce; the supermarkets won’t miss you, but we will.
As always thanks for your support.