Welcome back to Silver Queen Farm!
We have had some incredible days here at the start of our season. From opening weekend until now, we have had a wonderful flow of people in and out of the strawberry patch, and everyone has come away with truly beautiful berries. We especially love seeing so many kids at the farm, and the happy evidence of strawberry juice on many young faces.
Many of our vegetable crops are just coming in: Gordie did a big harvest of garlic scapes for the Food Hub; kale and lettuce are looking stunningly lush; and we are having one of our best rhubarb years in recent memory!
Preparations for later crops are taking up most of Gordie and Sarah’s time. Next year’s strawberries have had their flowers clipped off so that the plants can grow big and strong before they fruit. Irrigation pipes have been laid out, potatoes are getting hilled every weekend, and the greenhouse keeps pumping out more seedlings each week for succesional plantings.
Let alone all the farm activity, the barn is filled to bursting every single Saturday this summer for weddings! Each week we welcome a new happy couple and their family and friends, frequently with awesome DJs and bands, and our the local catering companies (with whom we have many friends here at the farm from Farm-to-Table dinners!). We’re still taking bookings for Fridays and Sundays, and many open weekends remain in 2016.
There’s a good feeling in the air this morning. We’re all tired from weekend festivities, including the Trumansburg Prom which took place in the barn, and a beautiful wedding on Sunday. But now that it looks a lot more like a typical spring in the Finger Lakes outside (brisk, rainy, but glowing green) it’s time to get ready for market!
We love our Monday markets in Elmira because we get such dedicated regular visitors. It’s a treasure to see the same faces each week, to check in with people, and to know that our community relies on us to bring them fresh and beautiful produce each week.
Wednesdays are special because the Trumansburg market really is a big community party each week, with a wonderfully authentic feel to it, and many of our neighbors are there each week to stop by. Plus, how can you beat those chicken pita’s or a Hazelnut Kitchen hot dog?!
Fridays we get to venture over to Watkins Glen, where we get to be a part of a market that has a diverse group of fresh food vendors every week. We feel so at home within the farming community in the Finger Lakes when we visit Watkins Glen!
Each market brings something special to our week. We can’t wait for the 2015 season to begin!
Our passion is to grow beautiful, delicious produce for our community. We want to make it easy for you to enjoy the bounty that we harvest each summer! We’ve created our Farm Market Share program, a variation on the Community Supported Agriculture model, to do just that.
You can add value to your account using our Market Share CSA Sign-Up Form; just print, fill out, and mail with a check or bring to the farm with cash or check. Early spring is the best time of year for us to receive your support as a Market Share Member of Silver Queen Farm!
As a member, you can…
◊ Choose an account level that meets your needs
◊ Get a 10% discount with every purchase
◊ Enjoy a simple debit account with the farm
◊ Be assured that your balance will roll over from season to season
◊ Use your account at the farm 7 days a week and at any of our farmers’ markets!
◊ Pre-order produce in bulk for canning and preserving
We believe that farming is a service to our community, an important part of the local economy, and a time-honored tradition of stewardship. As a member of our Market Share program, you support both the Silver Queen Farm business and your local food community.
Hawks have been circling a lot recently – they can frequently be heard calling out over the field. Could be they’re going after the plethora of rabbits we have out there. One can only hope.
The fields look like a picture postcard with the bales rolled up and resting, the sunflowers starting to come in, and the weedy goldenrod flowering in the raspberry patches. In August, the farm’s rainbow is finally filled in – purple eggplant and red tomatoes fill in the gaps of ROYGBIV.
I was pretty sure I could smell a BBQ while I was picking sugar snap peas on Labor Day. Neighbors, keep up the good work.
The barn was transformed for a stunningly beautiful wedding this weekend, brimming full of joy and good food and drink. We are always excited to watch the barn get dressed up.
Until we see you at the farm again, have a restful week after the long weekend, and treasure these summer days.
- Madison in the Barn.
Although strawberries are gone until next June, raspberries are here! We are currently transitioning from summer berries to fall ones so the picking will be good in the next week or two. Until then there are still enough on the bushes to pick for a snack. We also occasionally have pre-picked raspberries in the farm store, and often have lots of pre-picked blueberries. Call ahead if you need a large amount or find us at one of our farmers’ markets.
The farm is starting to brim with all kinds of produce!
Check out our other new arrivals; blueberries, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatillos, garlic, cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, collards, lettuce, onions, broccoli, cauliflower and corn!
Green beans will be making a come back soon.
Staff Profiles – There are a few new faces at the farm, and we wanted to introduce you to everyone so we can all get to know each other! Up next: Sarah Superstar!
Simon & Rony
This summer we’ve had a couple of guests staying with us all the way from Australia! Simon and Rony arrived in June and are here for 2 months. They’re living on the farm with Liz and Gordie and helping out through the busy summer months picking strawberries and raspberries, asparagus, green beans and sugar snap peas and of course doing lots of weeding and watering.
Originally from Melbourne, they chose to travel out this way because Rony has a sister who lives in Ithaca! (Her name’s Emma Frisch – you might have seen her on the current series of Food Network Star!). Back in Melbourne, Simon worked as an ambulance paramedic and Rony just finished training as a psychologist – but at the end of last year they decided it was time for a change of scene and so they resigned from their jobs and embarked on an 8-month adventure to spend time with family over here and do some travel through the USA and South America. If you’re visiting Silver Queen for some berry picking you’ll probably see them around – so be sure to say hello!
While living on the farm, Simon and Rony have also been writing a blog to keep all they’re Australian friends and family up to date with their news. Below we’ve pasted their latest blog post, which is all about the lessons they’re learning on Silver Queen Farm…
Hardening Up on Silver Queen Farm
We’ve learnt a lot in our 6 weeks of farm life so far. You can’t wear flip-flops when feeding the chickens because toes look a lot like fat tasty worms to chickens. A five-pound bucket of beans feels quite light until you have to walk from one end of the farm to the other with it. Silver Queen is a type of corn. It’s collard greens not coloured greens. Huge thunder storms are exciting but they can also cut the power for 3 days which is tough when all the water in the house runs on electric pumps. And if ever given a choice about what you’d like to pick for the morning, just choose anything that’s not green because picking green things amidst a jungle of green leaves and green stems and green weeds feels a lot like an endless optical illusion.
But by far, our favourite lesson on the farm has been the explanation that Gordie gave us very early on about the process that all the plants have to go through before they make it into the fields; also known as the ‘hardening up’ process.
The first step entails planting the seeds into tiny little trays in the greenhouse and watering them twice a day until they begin to sprout. The next stage involves carefully transplanting the tiny new plants into slightly bigger trays. This is mostly done by Gordie’s 83-year-old mum June. She visits us a few times each week to sit in the shade and transplant seedlings and she refuses to call it work, preferring to refer to it as her weekly therapy. The third stage involves the newly transplanted little plants in their slightly bigger trays being placed back in the greenhouse for a few weeks to increase in size while still being watered twice a day and of course being sheltered from any intense weather. Then, once they’re looking a bit bigger and a lot stronger, they’re moved outside onto the trailer for a week or two to properly harden up. Here they’re exposed to all the elements, yet still get a good watering twice-a-day. They don’t grow much during this time. Instead it’s all about toughening up for the real world out in the fields. A bit of a shock to the system really, but necessary for their next and final stage, which is being planted out in the harsh fields where they are at the whim of inconsistent rain, big winds, thunderstorms and long hot, humid days.
We’ve been using the hardening up process as a metaphor for our own time on the farm. We suspect we’re now on the trailer, not quite ready for the fields but getting close. It’s so liberating to finally be out of the greenhouse though!
Madison Vander Hill
I joined the farm in May, coming on as the farm outreach and retail manager. You will find me expanding/improving our store in the barn, harvesting for markets, and selling at all of our markets – in Elmira, Watkins Glen, and Trumansburg. (Liz will be there too, not to worry.)
I graduated from Ithaca College in 2013 with a degree in environmental studies, and have always loved working outdoors and teaching others about good food and the environment. I am of the opinion that small farms are just as much a part of “nature” as wilderness, and that running a farm responsibly (and supporting a small, local farm with your business) is a wonderful way to be a steward of environment. I am proud to be a part of a business that seeks to bring people out to the farm and experience it first-hand, and to offer good, healthy food at affordable prices.
I live in Ithaca, and when I’m not at the farm you can probably find me coaching rowing on the Lake Cayuga inlet, gardening on my front porch, or just kickin’ it downtown.
I hope you’ll find me here for many summers to come. See you at the farm!
Welcome to the Silver Queen Farm blog! If you’re looking for current news, events, and crop updates at Silver Queen, you’ve found the right place. Check back often, “like” us on Facebook, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to our email list.
Strawberries are in, and now is the time to come out! We never know what the weather will bring, so get yours while they’re here. We are open 8am-8pm every day of the week during strawberry season.
Also at the farmstand and farmers’ markets are lettuce (romaine, curly-leaf, red-tipped, and more!), curly kale, collards, garlic scapes, and rhubarb. Get rhubarb while it lasts – it freezes great if you chop it ahead of time, and you can save it for some strawberry-rhubarb pie!
We hope to see you soon!
~ The Silver Queen Farm Family
Here are some BEAUTIFUL photos from a rehearsal dinner held on the farm earlier this summer. If you like what you see head on over to the photographer’s website and check out the rest!
Check out what’s been going on lately at SQF!
We use the grain to heat our home over the winter and the straw to cover the strawberries.