Many of you have been calling and checking... are the Bolitas ready yet? Farmer Dean tested the soil conditions all week. Yesterday and today the conditions were just right for cutting the Bolita beans in one field. As with the Pintos, the Bolitas must first be cut, then thrashed with the combine (separating the bean from the hull) and then off to the cleaners. This afternoon Farmer Dean went out with the combine to thrash. After several hours of eager anticipation, we were delighted and grateful to see a truckload of Bolita beans come out of the field. There were many days of rain, for which we are grateful, but we were concerned that the Bolitas may ruin in the field. They are safely parked in the barn awaiting the opportunity to send them to the bean cleaner in McIntosh, NM. As you can see from the photo, they need cleaning. The extra mud that came with the wonderful moisture, made the beans a bit dirtier right out of the field. We hope to see them bagged by mid-week. Please check back for updates here on the blog or on the Harvest Schedule page on our site. I will post as soon as they are in the Farm Market.
The Farm Market is beautifully stocked with a great selection of vegetables. The new crop pintos are still in, baskets are filling up with colorful winter squash varieties, sweet red raspberries abound alongside the tender white and bi-color sweet corn that is still being harvested. The colors of fall are showing up in the market, as the bright orange pie pumpkins, mini-pumpkins and decorative gourds fill up baskets.
The feel of fall is in the air, the harvest is nearing it's end. We are not quite ready for it to end, as we still have our bolita beans to harvest, sweet onions and more potatoes wait to be unearthed. We are typically open until the end of October, depending upon the produce selection available. Come see us and stock up on great produce.
This past weekend we had the privilege of hosting a delegation from Africa. Farmer Dean gave them a tour and discussed small scale family farms with them, although to them this was not a small farm. They said, "Where is your small equipment?" We said, "This is small equipment!"
For the last week and a half, it seemed as if we lived in Washington State instead of the Land of Enchantment. Looking at posts earlier in the summer, we certainly did not expect the blessing of this wet weather. We had rain everyday for 5 days, resulting in 5.5 inches of rain. While we are extremely grateful, the rain posed it's challenges and mud abounded. The children thought it was great!
We found that we were not equipped for such weather and were not able to get into the fields to pick sweet corn. So, many of you wondered whether the sweet corn season was over. We have two to three more weeks of corn available for harvest, if we do not get a freeze. Farmer Dean plants several corn plantings in succession, so as to have fresh corn available each week of the season. There are enough plantings to last until early October. So, please continue to enjoy our fresh picked sweet corn and get some in the freezer for winter.
Our favorite way to put up corn for the winter is as follows:
Husk the corn, wash and remove remaining silks using a vegetable brush, blanch in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes and immediately immerse in a ice bath. Cut corn off the cob and pack into freezer containers. Freeze and enjoy the flavors of summer on a cold winter's day.
After the beans are cut and thrashed with the combine, they go to the bean cleaner in McIntosh, NM to remove weed seed and dirt clods. They come back clean and bagged into our signature burlap bags with the New Mexico zia on the front . We also have the beans bagged into a one ton tote. From this tote we bag and sew all the 10 lb. and 1 lb. sizes.
The beans became available at the Farm Market on Thursday afternoon, September 5th. Since that time it has been busy here with the Pinto beans flying out almost as fast as they go in. So, if you need new crop Pintos, please visit our Farm Market soon.
You ask, what is so special about new crop beans? They will have a beautiful white appearance with the painted brown spots, hence the name. They will cook up faster and they taste excellent. If you have always purchased Pintos from a supermarket and never had local new crop beans, then visit the Estancia Valley for some new beans this year.
If you miss our crop, the annual Pinto Bean Fiesta will be held here in Moriarty, NM on October 12, 2013. At the fiesta you will find beans grown locally in our valley.
The transformation in the fields has already begun. We have gone from the lush, green, beautiful pinto beans plants back to the brown soil we began with in the Spring. Bean hull bales dot the landscape. Another portion of the harvest ends. We are thankful, yet saddened as this transformation begins.
WHEW!!! Where do I begin? I will try to write chronologically. Since my last posting, we have harvested much corn, including some of a new variety, called Extra Tender, a bi-color. The verbal comments we have received on that variety have been tremendous. I think our customers like it. It is a tasty, tender variety indeed. It grows a little lower to the ground, making it a bit more challenging for our harvest crew to hand pick, but I think Farmer Dean will grow more of it next year, Lord willing.
In the Farm Market, you will now find tomatoes, as they finally began to ripen and turn the lovely colors of purple, lemon and deep red. Oh, they are full of flavor. We have also begun harvesting yellow, orange and red watermelons, along with sweet orange fleshed cantaloupes. Broccoli is also coming in abundance. If you have never had garden fresh broccoli, you ought to try some next time you come in.
The pinto beans are nearing harvest. We wait for the plants to die, evidenced by the yellowing plants in the photo. Once completely dry, we wait for a morning of dew to cut the plants and windrow them. Once the plants dry a bit, then the combine is brought in to separate the bean from the hull.
We grew oats this year for our Jersey cows. That field of oats is a rich green color and preparing to head out. So, the swather is brought in to cut and windrow the oat hay. Farmer Dean and oldest son ride the swather together. Once dried to a specific moisture content, it will be baled.
The evening that the oats were cut in the photos above, we got a call that has changed our lives forever. We had the privilege of bringing home a most precious two month old baby. He was placed in our home for the purpose of adoption. The process takes several months to finalize, but we are overjoyed. He is our harvest baby! To me harvest is a joyous time and a sad time, as my Mom went home to be with the Lord right after harvest one season six years ago. Now I look at the harvest season through the lens of new life and death, beginnings and endings... just as evidenced in the fields each year. Both bring tremendous personal growth and the opportunity to depend on our Lord for every blessing and hardship.
Here we are, Sunday, September 1st. Thunder storms in the forecast, beans cut in the field and Farmer Dean takes action. He has been preparing the combine for the last week, as he eagerly anticipates the right time to harvest the pinto beans cut a couple of days ago. The beans seem dry enough, so the roaring engine of JD tractor pulling the bean combine head out to the field. I run out quickly with children to admire the work of Farmer Dean and his combine. Beans fill the bin, which then fill the dump truck and trailer. The children excitedly watch and wait for their opportunity to jump into the trailer full of beans! Up they go into the trailer with Farmer Dean as he smooths out the beans so as to squeak in a few more...
Trying to beat the storm, oldest son comes in behind Farmer Dean to bale the bean hulls. The thunder begins to roar and lightening begins to strike. I wait, watching, wondering when they will come in. They come in just short of the finish. A few beans still left, cut in the field, but most are safely under the lean-to in the truck and trailer. The rainstorm comes... refreshing... Weather permitting, Farmer Dean will finish that field tomorrow.