Open Today 3 – 5:30 PM, Bounty!!

Sorry… Just had to share this beautiful still life of freshly harvested produce that will be for sale this afternoon at ARTfarm…

Sweet salad mix, teen spicy salad mix, teen arugula, cucumbers, loads of watermelons, a few cherry tomatoes, lots of herbs, scallions, onions, cooking greens, radishes, beautifully just picked sour oranges, passionfruit, baby ginger, fresh Mediterranean figs, papaya, and local honey.

It just keeps on raining!

Grateful to Reopen Next Sat. Dec. 12th!

Thanks to the many customers and supporters who have called and checked in with us on our website and Facebook page, wondering when we would reopen the farmstand. We will see you all at 10 AM till noon on Saturday, December 12! We love that you love our food! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and are looking forward to this month’s festivities!

A pile of yellow summer squash, one with a blossom still on the end of the fruit.

Yellow summer squash and zucchini have been growing beautifully!

It has been quite a tumultuous year for farm planning. The severe drought that started last winter was the driest season Estate Longford has seen in nine years. (Amazingly enough, other places on St. Croix, including the East end, apparently got more rain than usual during that period.) The pastures and surrounding hills near us dried out and turned gray, and we experienced severe and intense brushfires across the east end of the ARTfarm and neighboring pastures in May, 2015, well attended by the VI Fire Service (thank you!!!).

At this time last year, all of our catchment ponds were topped off with rain. Currently, we are at less than one third of our rainwater catchment capacity.

All of this major rearrangement of weather patterns has meant that we have delayed planting in order to reserve our irrigation water, and hesitated to invest in the season.

But, we finally bit the bullet a few weeks ago and began planting for 2015-2016. We have designed a smaller amount of growing space this year, so we will have perhaps a little less on offer in terms of quantity. We are experimenting with a few new crops, and even some new growing techniques that are going to conserve even more water. We have created a few new areas of permaculture techniques, including some giant Hugel beds, and so far the productivity seems high, although insect activity is higher than we’ve ever seen it all over the farm — we and many other farmers on the island are struggling with record numbers of aphids, caterpillars and other garden pests. We are also not alone in experiencing overwhelming growth rates of noxious weeds, which survived even when more desirable grasses and forbs perished in the drought.

A pasture is full of piles of weeds, pulled up by hand.

Kiko has been painstakingly handweeding the toxic physic nut in the pastures for weeks to try to prevent further spread. There are literally thousands of these growing, and they are poisonous to livestock.

We gratefully welcome our new employee, Katie, who is fitting right in with the crew and learning quickly!

We are waiting another week and a half before opening so that we can have salad greens for your holidays. We’ll reopen Saturday, December 12, 10 AM – 12 noon, (Christmas Boat Parade Day). We’ll have herbs, veggies, salad greens and fruit! See you in ten days!

Love, ARTfarm

Closed for 2015 Summer/Fall Break

Greetings from the farm!

Apologies for the short notice: As we usually do, we are going to take a few weeks at this slowed-down time of the year to do some maintenance work, some reflecting, catching up on projects, and taking a little time for ourselves. So at the risk of seeming a bit abrupt, we are letting you know that we will not be open this morning, Saturday, August 22nd. We will probably reopen in mid to late October, depending on whether or not it rains and for enough duration to help our soil recover from this extensive drought.

Two kids hang out in a grass hut they made from dead coconut trees, victims of the drought.

Making lemonade from lemons. Here’s something fun to do with dead coconut trees: build a shady little fort to hang out in!

Speaking of the drought, we may be on the road to recovery after this weekend with a visit from tropical storm/depression/hurricane Danny, and hopefully with a few more precipative events in his wake. Keep in mind that for us and many other livestock and crops farmers, it will take time after rains arrive for our farms to recover. It is not going to be an instantaneous recovery once water hits the soil. Many pastures taxed by lack of rainfall and extended grazing periods will have to be reseeded. The balance of beneficial organisms in the soil has been altered by months of dry, punishing heat and wind. There is going to be a long road back to good soil, sward and plant health, after not having any substantial rain since February.

Big shout out and thanks to Sejah Farm, who collected donations from the public for drought relief and used the money to purchase hay, grain and milk replacer and distributed it among their production partners. We received two pickup truckloads of baled hay for our sheep. Thanks to everyone who donated. JCC, you should be sleeping well at night! Special thanks for your support for our island farmers.


 

Summer Fruitfest at ARTfarm, 10 AM to 12 noon!

We are sleepy at ARTfarm this morning. We had to get up at 11 o’clock last night and go out and pollinate the dragonfruit. And one of our neighbor’s cows got out early early early this morning, and more are trying, so take it easy and enjoy the 35mph speed limit on South Shore Rd. please!

Saturday morning at ARTfarm: Lots of lettuce salad mix mixed with micro, lots of cucumbers, lots of papaya from Solitude Farm, microgreens, baby arugula, mangoes from Alex, three luscious dragonfruit from ARTfarm harvested this morning, recao, garlic chives, figs, breads and fresh baked bagels from Tess (they make incredible French toast, thanks for asking), local raw honey from Wanda at the Wright Apiary.

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Winter Rain Lettuces & Breakfast Radishes at ARTfarm today

Taste the winter rain: Romaine – like lettuce fresh picked this morning, and tender oak leaf lettuces, available by the head. Also this morning 10am – 12noon at ARTfarm: Tiny pink French breakfast radishes with the sweetest greens you ever ate, white carrots, beets, onions, microgreens, sweet salad mix, spicy mix, teen arugula, teen spicy mix, escarole, dandelion and mustard greens, Italian basil, holy (Tulsi) basil, lemon basil, Korean mint, lemon balm, garlic chives, cilantro, dill, sage, scallions, cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, sweet bell peppers, honey, zinnia flowers, edible flowers.

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Building a Wattle Fence

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We’re experimenting with building a simple wattle fence at the farmstand entrance, using manjack posts and limbs from some fence clearing projects.

A wattle fence is one of the most ancient fence types, and uses no metal fasteners. At the end of its useful life it can be composted!

Our wattle fence will create a pleasant garden walkway for farmstand customers, a place for us to display potted native trees for sale, and an enclosure for our ducks.

Dave Mattera, one of our super volunteers, is spearheading the project on Saturday mornings. If you’d like to join him and learn this eco-friendly, 18th century skill, please feel free to join him! ARTfarm volunteers must be non-smokers, please.

Pomodōromonsutā at ARTfarm! Get your ninja sword!

The so-called "Tomato Monster" is made up of a farmer, tomatoes, and string beans.

AAAIIIEEEEEE! It's the Tomato Monster (Pomodōromonsutā)! Get your samurai sword and make salsa!!

Pomodōromonsutā is Japanese for Tomato Monster!! Look out for the giant tomato monster! Everything he touches with his Super Organic Power turns into a delicious, juicy tomato! Quick! Get your ninja sword and slice some of these tomatoes up! Hai! HAI! HAI! Domo!!

Today’s stand features: spicy mix, microgreens, arugula, onions, scallions, loads of cherry tomatoes, big tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, Bodhi beans, kale, broccoli leaves, sage, thyme, italian basil, lemon basil, holy basil, chives, dill, cilantro, parsley, lemon balm, sweet peppers, hot peppers, pumpkin, papaya, sunflowers and zinnia flowers.

KiiiiiYAAAIIIIIIEEEEE!!!!!

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