Week 41: Even Fresher

June 2–8, 2014

So the preprinted title to this news letter is Fresh Facts. While I’ve had several folks take me to task over the years regarding the factuality of specific points, the real fact was the facts on this side of the page weren’t as fresh as they could’ve been.

I write this side at 3 Monday morning (nobody bothers me), Carol does the recipe the previous Thursday or Friday. We individually send our part to Amy Beth who creates the back page, formats the whole thing correctly, and sends it to Tracy at the UPS store. We buy this cardstock preprinted with the colored part and perforated literally a couple pallets worth at a time. Kathy gets part of her workout each week hauling a trunk load down to the UPS store for printing, and then a couple boxes at a time back here.

Because it’s double-sided cardstock, I’m told you can’t just put a bunch in then come back when they’re finished. Somebody’s gotta mind the thing and so they needed at least a day to work it in. Starting today, they’re going to step up their game and get it out by noon so you Monday–Wednesday folks are getting this a week fresher. We’ll even send the e-version Saturday afternoon since everybody will have their paper copy. Whew! Betcha didn’t know there were so many details involved in just putting this newsletter in your box each week.

About a fourth of the stone fruit we pack for the wholesale market is still conventional. It takes 3 years to transition from conventional to organic, that’s 3 years of farming organic and getting paid conventional prices and that’s a toughpill to swallow, even if you can get your mind around technical and philosophical aspects. I have some 25-year relationships with farmers for whom that’s the case.

So in a couple hours, I’ll be out doing my shedman gig, walking fields, talking to crews and farmers, but also scouting and planning where this traveling road show is headed in the immediate days ahead.

The way that works for an upcoming variety is to first know where the weakest corner of the field is (it gets ripe sooner), walk a few trees in and just stop and observe for about 15 to 20 seconds; be still and know. A new guy will want to walk; he’ll see more but know less.

Something that still amazes me after all this time, is the noise in an organic orchard. Crickets are always having a jam session while eating the grass; birds are likewise vocally exulting in the day while eating the crickets and our fruit. Those of you who have visited the farm have heard the choir. I’ll bet there’s a similar symphony below ground if we had ears to hear it.

But walk into a conventional patch and you’ll hear…a truck out on the road, the neighbor’s tractor. From the field itself, silence; it’s deafening.

Carol made a similar observation about the lawn trimmings she dumps over the fence to the critters. When we fertilized with calcium nitrate, we had beautiful green grass, but the pony, pig, goats, geese, and ducks would take a nibble and walk back out to the pasture and let it rot. Since we started treating the lawn the same as the field, it takes more work, but we have a green lawn whose trimmings get eaten.

Funny how Doug the potbellied pig has enough sense to know healthy from not-healthy and the strength of character to walk away from the latter.

Author AHO Kitchen Team

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