Fresh Facts Week 28: New Wells, Microgreens, and AHO Kitchen Roll Out

Volume 8, Week 28, March 1-7,  2015

Well, we had to transfer some of the kid’s inheritance to the well driller this week. NO ONE would have guessed even three years ago after the first dry year that our area—within a half mile of the Kings River—would ever lose their wells but never say never.

Our wells were called “pit wells” when they were new at the first part of the last century. Typically there was so much water, (it was only 5 to 15 feet below the surface) that a man would dig a pit 6 to 8 foot square, line it with concrete and use a single stage centrifugal pump to lift it. These were commonly called “Swede” pumps for the ethnicity of their manufacturer.

They worked best when the motor was down within a foot or two of the standing water, so a boom would be set up over the pit and a block and tackle hoist used to move them up and down depending whether it was a wet or dry year.

All the wells and pumps on our little farms had been there doing their job thanklessly for the entirety of my life, but every single one has been replaced in the past three years.

One nice thing we did last summer is set up solar grids to replace all the power used for each of our wells, and both chicken ranches. This year we’re working to set that up for our packing shed and cold storage. It’s a 5 acre project, but it’s the right thing to do. Plus, it’s kinda cool to see organic chickens playing under solar panels.

Our friend and farmer David Mendrin has been working the past 6 months to set up organic microgreens and this week marks the roll out into the large boxes.

He’s got a certified organic growing medium and is using food grade (as opposed to planting or feed grade) organic seed. Microgreens of course are super food and go great to spice up a salad or a taco. A smart thing he’s doing is growing them in the lid so when you open the container, it’ll be really easy to snip off what you need. Sounds like another field trip for Amy Beth to bring you the real scoop.

The really great thing about AHO is the connection back to the farm and the specific farmers who grow your food every week. David really wants your feedback, good or bad, as well as suggestions and/or requests. He could do wheat grass for juicers or Belgian endive for foodies. It’s really going to be fun to watch this. He sees it as a project his children could get into. His email is on the back below the microgreens.

And, last week also marked the launch of the first kitchen products. We set up a freezer section in each truck to accommodate this and wouldn’t you know; we froze a whole truck load of produce; sorry Valencia. The only sure way to never mess up is to never try so we mess up a lot.

If you got something from the kitchen, please email Brittney: and let her know how you liked it and any other thoughts or requests. We’ve heard a lot about gluten-free which I’m told is a whole ’nuther delightful certification process we will look into this week.

Wow, what a week on the farm. With all the orchards blooming, it really is the most beautiful time of the year. Your farmer really needs to take time to stop and smell ’em.


Author Uncle Vern

More posts by Uncle Vern

Leave a Reply