"The area remains entrenched in tropical air," says WGN weather forecasters and that's the perfect description of what it feels like in the field. Our team is adapted to working in masks throughout all different weather conditions, and we're continually appreciative of their tenacity (and their senses of humor).
That said, I (Jen) really miss taking close up pictures of our farm crew's smiling faces to introduce you to them! We hope you can feel the good vibes from a carefully spaced farm field photo instead. If you haven't already met them, we'd like to introduce you to this season's farm team including (left to right) Kim, Chrissie, Andromeda, Tyler, Arlet and Abbey.
The second half of our farm crew (left to right) Lucas, Jeff and Owen joined into the fun of distanced photos celebrating a nice stand of popcorn planted behind them.
Recently we've experienced some intense thunderstorms with heavy winds that blew over a few crops and luckily, only caused minor damage to our hoophouse structures. When the sun returned, the soil and plants welcomed the water, and everything stood up straight once again.
Some of the leaves on the rainbow swiss chard were damaged by heavy rain, but they still look beautiful! We strive to keep these torn leaves to a minimum in bunches.
Our cucurbit crops (e.g. zucchini, cucumber, winter squash) enjoy both the water and heat, even if some of the heavy rains damage their plastic mulch. The zucchini aren't far off now!
The seedlings and hoophouse crops stayed safe and sound throughout it all! To combat the unpredictable weather, we're transplant more crops every season instead of direct seeding them into the soil. The protected greenhouse and hoophouse environments means the young seedlings get just the right amount of water and fertility they need, which increases the plants' health and ability to fight against weed and pest pressures. While this process takes more time than seeding on a tractor, our plants fare better against the odd weather patterns that we experience each season.
As the rain storms pass, we make treats like homemade strawberry shortcake, and we get a little messy. Enjoy this week's farm harvests and Happy Fourth of July!