Saturday ARTfarm goods! 10am – 12 noon

ARTfarm Saturday of Relative Solitude: Between the rainy weather, the holiday camping weekend, and the general time of year, you can enjoy a summer-like meditative quiet as you shop at ARTfarm on a Saturday morning. Talk to yourself! No one will even notice.

Sweet salad mix, microgreens, baby arugula, baby spicy salad mix, a few cucumbers, cherry, slicer and heirloom tomatoes, dandelion greens, long beans, ginger, cilantro, a few bunches of beets, onions, scallions, basil, dill, parsley, carrots, a few radishes, and zinnia flowers.

And from our partner I-Sha we have vegan ice cream.

Watercolor (c)2015 by Luca Gasperi, exhibiting at the "Men Of Industry" show with opening reception Friday, April 10th, 2015 5-8pm at Walsh Metal Works Gallery.

Watercolor (c)2015 by Luca Gasperi, exhibiting at the “Men Of Industry” show with opening reception Friday, April 10th, 2015 5-8pm at Walsh Metal Works Gallery.

Save this coming Friday April 10th for Farmer Luca’s art exhibition with Mike Walsh (“Men Of Industry”) in Peters Rest at the Walsh Metal Works Gallery. The reception is from 5-8pm, and the show will hang for several weeks. Luca has been working on a collection of new watercolors, this time a number of paintings in smaller sizes. Mike is working on some new sculptures. Join us for this free art event!

 

 

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ARTfarm Monday, 3–6 p.m.: Cool Off!

The sun is pretty blazing hot these days, drying up the South Shore and turning everything golden. Except, of course for our irrigated crops, who are still sipping rainwater reserved from a few months ago. Come enjoy some of the greenery and savor the memory of rain… Sweet salad mix, arugula, spicy salad mix, microgreens, cherry tomatoes, heirloom and slicer tomatoes on the small side, lots of yard long purple Bodhi beans, a handful of cucumbers, scallions, Italian basil, and radishes with yummy green tops.

The grass on the South Shore of St. Croix has gone golden and crunchy, but the irrigated crops are looking healthy as they sip stored rainwater from months prior!

The grass on the South Shore of St. Croix has gone golden and crunchy, but the irrigated crops are looking healthy as they sip stored rainwater from months prior!

We’ve got really good ice cream from I-Sha! Honey soon come from Errol. He’s waiting on bottles. (Please note you can bring back clean honey bottles for sterilization and reuse by the beekeeper!)

Delicious local fruit flavors in single-size cups - coconut-based vegan ice cream from I-Sha is made with handmade local coconut cream, brown sugar, spices and local fruits and veggies! We've got spoons to lend at the farmstand, so take a moment and cool off with a little treat!

Delicious local fruit flavors in single-size cups – coconut-based vegan ice cream from I-Sha is made with handmade local coconut cream, brown sugar, spices and local fruits and veggies! We’ve got spoons to lend at the farmstand, so take a moment and cool off with a little treat!

ARTfarm Saturday: Smoke Flavor!

We’re open today, 10am – 12 noon with salad and lots of tomatoes! Here’s this morning’s list of fresh: Sweet salad mix, teen spicy salad mix, teen arugula, heirloom/slicer/cherry tomatoes, beets, red and white bulb onions with green tops, purple Bodhi beans, a few cucumbers, radishes with delicious green tops, dandelion greens for cooking or juicing, fresh ginger root, scallions, Italian basil, Thai basil, dill, parsley, cilantro, and zinnia flowers. We also have a fresh batch of vegan ice cream from I-Sha in a rainbow of flavors including jojo, mango, papaya/ginger, passionfruit, beet ginger, banana…

Big beautiful beets at ARTfarm. The tops are great in your green juice, as a cooked green, wilted over eggs... chopped into your salad... don't neglect the beet greens!

Big beautiful beets at ARTfarm. The tops are great in your green juice, as a cooked green, wilted over eggs… chopped into your salad… don’t neglect the beet greens!

Our thanks go out again to the VI Fire Service shifts C and D out of Richmond/Christiansted, with trucks from Grove and East End, and VIPD for coming back to Longford a third time this week. Tuesday evening’s fire flared up again on Wednesday afternoon, sending out a new fire crew headed by Captain Henry Joseph; it continued on its previous trajectory toward the beach and burned over a hundred acres of pasture and fencing belonging to our neighbors and killed another cow on Wednesday. A second blaze was set in ARTfarm pastures about 3/4 of a mile away from the initial fires just before 8pm Wednesday night at a curve in the road where the streetlight is out. We had a number of people offer help again and had a crew of employees, customers and fellow farmers on hand to move sheep, manage gates and direct the fire trucks. It was dark and smoky, and we were too busy to take pictures, but it was an incredible scene. After the Captain Joseph and his VIFS team departed for a second time with the trucks, Luca and a neighbor we’ll call “Water Mike” were out containing and extinguishing smaller fires until 2am Thursday morning.

Our neighbor who took these pictures acted as our fire tower during the fires and helped us locate problem areas from a higher vantage point. Wednesday afternoon.

Our neighbor who took these pictures acted as our fire tower during the fires and helped us locate problem areas from a higher vantage point. Wednesday afternoon.

This image captures Wednesday night's situation; the rekindled original fire headed south to the beach, and in the foreground the second fire started a mile away up on South Shore Road on ARTfarm pasture.

This image captures Wednesday night’s situation; the rekindled original fire headed south to the beach, and in the foreground the second fire started a mile away up on South Shore Road on ARTfarm pasture.

By Wednesday afternoon, the original fire had rekindled and burned south throughout the day across the pastures toward the beach, killing one cow. It burned eastward along the beach through Thursday morning, when the Fire Service came back and extinguished the spread.

By Wednesday afternoon, the original fire had rekindled and burned south throughout the day across the pastures toward the beach, killing one cow. It burned eastward along the beach through Thursday morning, when the Fire Service came back and extinguished the spread.

VIFS pumper trucks from Richmond C shift, East End and Grove Fire Stations helped us out Wednesday afternoon, and came back Wednesday night to assist with the new roadside fire.

VIFS pumper trucks from Richmond C shift, East End and Grove Fire Stations helped us out Wednesday afternoon, and came back Wednesday night to assist with the new roadside fire.

We’d appreciate brushfire awareness from all of our customers. Please never throw cigarettes or other burning material from a vehicle; do not allow chains on trailers to drag on the ground; and keep a neighborhood watch. If you see someone stopped on the side of the road, slow down and offer assistance; if suspicious, snap a picture of the vehicle and license plate. And share this information with others in the dry season. We thank you!

ARTfarm Wednesday 3-6: Fire Report

We are open 3–6 p.m.! Today we have sweet salad mix, spicy salad mix, a few cucumbers, Bodhi beans, onions, beets, Italian basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, and a few more fresh figs.

Beautiful ARTfarm salad greens for the sweet mix!

Beautiful ARTfarm salad greens for the sweet mix!

Farming is certainly a round-the-clock exercise. Last night around 9 PM we smelled smoke and saw flames shooting up into the sky on the east end of the farm. Luckily we had fair warning as Luca was out watering late and noticed it quickly, shortly after hearing the sound of voices along the east roadside. Neighbors in the area also alerted us to the brushfire and offered help via text, calls and Facebook. We quickly moved our child to grandma’s, suited up in protective clothing, grabbed our fire flappers and other firefighting equipment and went to move sheep and equipment out of harm’s way and help the neighbors wherever possible.

A view of the brush fire last night from the top of Spring Gut Road via a neighbor. The large yellow lights along the center of the photo below the fire are streetlights on South Shore Road. The red light on the right side is a VIFD truck. The small squarish light near the center right of the photo is us in our truck in roughly the center of ARTfarm. From our angle in the pasture it appeared that the fire was advancing rapidly toward us.

A view of the brush fire last night from the top of Spring Gut Road looking south, via a neighbor. The fire moved across the pasture from east to west. The large yellow lights along the center of the photo below the fire are streetlights on South Shore Road. The red light on the right side is a VIFS truck. The small squarish light near the center right of the photo is us in our truck in roughly the center of ARTfarm. From our angle in the pasture it appeared that the fire was advancing rapidly toward us and a small group of young cattle.

Luckily there was not a strong wind last night, and conditions coupled with a rigorous effort by the VI Fire Service on all sides contained the fire and prevented it from destroying hundreds of acres of pasture in use, as well as cattle and sheep, wildlife, farm infrastructure and the homes of farmers including us!

Another shot of the fire as it continued to spread and head south. Our truck is the tiny pinpoint of light close to the west end (right) of the fire line. Above us and closer to the fire is a VIFD truck.

Another shot of the fire as it continued to spread and head south. Our truck is the tiny pinpoint of light close to the west end (right) of the fire line. Above us and closer to the fire is a VIFS truck.

As I stated to a friend, “this is what amounts to a ‘romantic date night’ for a farmer and his wife. A fireside chat and home by midnight.”

We spoke with Captain Charles Gilbert, Fire Service officer out of Richmond/Christiansted’s C shift, who was in charge of the operation last night. They had a total of six VIFS trucks on the scene, but it felt like a lot more to us, as they continued to contain the fire from 9pm to 1am. These included trucks from the East End, Richmond, and Grove stations. The only casualty of the evening was a young calf that got onto the road (due to gates left open to allow emergency access) and was struck by a passing vehicle. Some fencing was damaged and will need to be replaced.

Fence damage. This wood post will have to be replaced. The steel t-posts, woven wire and barbed wire materials have a much shorter life and rust much faster  after being burned in a brush fire as it tends to remove their protective coatings of paint or zinc.

Fence damage. This wood post will have to be replaced. The steel t-posts, woven wire and barbed wire materials have a much shorter life and rust much faster after being burned in a brush fire as it tends to remove their protective coatings of paint or zinc and weaken the metal.

VI Fire Service Chief Larry Johnson noted that the burning of trash, the use of campfires and the disposal of lit cigarettes out of car windows should be curtailed during these dry conditions. “Most brush fires that start after dark are lit deliberately,” he said during our conversation. “It is a felony.”

We are extremely grateful for the prompt and thorough response from the VI Fire Service last night. We plan to drop off some tomatoes to Captain Gilbert and his C company team, and we’d love it if you’d thank them on our behalf, too!

Looking south along the fence near the east end of the farm. Evening brush fires are most likely deliberately set, according to officials at the VIFS.

Looking south along the fence near the east end of the farm. Evening brush fires are most likely deliberately set, according to officials at the VIFS.

The fire started near the roadside, then jumped across a ten-foot swath of grass and headed west southwest through the pastures.

The fire started near the roadside, then jumped across a ten-foot swath of grass and headed west southwest through the pastures. Left unchecked, this could have been disastrous for us!

Looking south near the east end of the farm. The VI Fire Service was able to contain and control this brushfire, in part because winds were not strong.

Looking south near the east end of the farm. The VI Fire Service was able to contain and control this brushfire, in part because winds were not strong.

ARTfarm Wednesday: 3–6 p.m. So Many Salads To Choose From!

We grew it here, tender, crispy and moist, on the dry and arid south shore of the island, just for you! All organic growing methods and just sweet stored rain water for irrigation. You can taste it in the food! Sweet, baby, regular spicy, and baby spicy salad mixes; baby arugula, arugula, a few cucumbers, onions, beets, radishes, purple yard long beans, cilantro, dill, parsley, garlic chives, Italian basil, cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, sweet tree-ripened Mediterranean figs, and from our partner I-Sha we have all-homemade coconut-based vegan local fruit ice cream in a handful of fantastic flavors. We have spoons, or you can bring your own.

A single ivory-colored egg rests in a patch of dry grass in a pasture.

A mysterious lone guinea hen egg rests in dry grass in a pasture at ARTfarm. Guinea hens lay social nests with 40 or more eggs, so this is either the start of a nest, or a discarded mongoose snack!

Wednesday Bounty 3-6pm! Come Shop Local!

We've got beautiful big beets with tops ready for cooking or juicing! Yum!

We’ve got beautiful big beets with tops ready for cooking or juicing! Yum!

 

Some sweet little rain showers at night have perked up the South Shore and quickened the pace of lettuce and veggie production. We are open today from 3–6 p.m. to share with you what the rain has brought: sweet salad mix, baby arugula, teen spicy salad greens, beautiful crispy cucumbers, lots of beets, lots of cherry and slicer tomatoes, kale, escarole, endive, baby bok choy, bunched onions, scallions, Italian basil, Thai basil, holy basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, dill, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, recao, ginger, Bodhi beans, and fresh cut zinnia flowers.

The sweet salad mix in winter is especially crispy and sweet when we've had a bit of rain. Triple washed and ready for the salad bowl!

The sweet salad mix in winter is especially crispy and sweet when we’ve had a bit of rain. Triple washed and ready for the salad bowl!

 

Around New Year’s Eve we had a pair of stray feral dogs show up at the farmstand early one morning. Some of our customers may have noticed them quietly hanging around at the farmstand that weekend and the next. We posted about them on the St. Croix Lost and Found Pets Facebook page and the STX Animal Welfare Center’s Facebook page immediately, but in the bustle of the holidays we neglected to post about them here on our own blog.

Two black and white fuzzy dogs on the farm.

Two stray dogs turned up in December 2014. They’d been running loose since at least October. Anyone know who they belong to?

Unlike most feral strays which we take directly to the Animal Welfare Center, this pair was unusually well behaved. We reported them “found” at the AWC and had them checked by a vet but they had no RFID tags. They are currently still living at the farm. We’d like to post their picture in case anyone knows their history. We did learn after posting their picture online, that they had been living wild since at least October 2014 along the industrial sites of the south shore of St. Croix (Diageo and Molasses Pier). If you have any information or recognize them, please let us know.

 

islandbordercollies

Saturday Morning Farm Love

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Your farmer loves you! Armloads of purple yardlong (Bodhi) beans! And the beautiful, sweet, juicy ripe tomato season isn’t over yet!!

Saturday morning ARTfarm stand starts at 10am: Sweet mix, spicy mix, arugula, microgreens, tomatoes (cherries and slicers), pumpkin, Bodhi beans, sweet peppers, hot peppers, beets, cooking greens, garlic chives, lemongrass, the four basil flavors, flowers, vegan ice cream, local honey, pineapple, bananas!

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