Farm Report - March 2020

Farm Report - March 2020

Hello from Sunny Boonville!

Where the grass is green and the winter rains… well… haven’t really been here since January. Based on rainfall totals from NOAA, we’re at about 38% of our normal rainfall with 11 inches of rain since October instead of 29 inches in a “normal” year. We are definitely hoping for a wet March - we’ve got to fill our irrigation pond, help mitigate that wildfire risk, and, avoid a drought! 

Despite the lack of rain, you can tell that spring has definitely sprung here in the Valley. The hills are green (during the summer, they’re dead and brown) and the daffodils are already on their way out. Our allergies are even in full gear as trees and their blossoms start to pop, which was a bit of a surprise after living in New England for 4 years where it isn’t spring until basically July. In honor of spring in our part of the country, the theme of this month’s newsletter is all things GREEN!

Make your eggs green.

Don’t want to (or haven't ever) use food coloring? Start your St. Patrick’s Day off with GREEN EGGS using our Poblano Powder! With or without ham, the poblano will take your morning eggs to a new level, giving them a distinctly non-Irish flavor. Truly, this chile powder tastes like fresh roasted poblano chiles right off the grill. The heat is mild and the flavor is vegetal (read, delicious) and does not disappoint. Jars of our poblano powder might even be what is in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (the jars have gold lids so it totally checks out - I promise).

Pepper seedlings are green.

This week, Nacho and Martin are working on transplanting close to 25,000 of our Piment d’Ville seedlings from the trays the seeds germinated in to individual soil cells. If you havn’t been following us on Instagram - here’s a few pictures to show the process!

See how the germination trays are packed incredibly tight with plants? We germinate this way to save space and then replant each one in order to grow strong and healthy root systems. These seeds were planted on February 10th and at 1 month old, they still have a while to go before they are ready to be outside in the field. 

The olives are a little less green.

All 4 of us spent the first week of March in our olive grove with our friend Kathryn Tomajan of Fat Gold. Kathryn is on a mission to “decommodify extra virgin olive oil and elevate its place in American food culture” by selectively sourcing olives from across California and milling the oil to her high standards. She’s legit in California’s olive oil community and I’m so glad she loves Boonville and wanted to come teach us all the things we don’t know about olives. We learned that:

  • a group of olive trees is in fact called an olive grove, not an olive orchard
  • our trees were about 15 years past due for a solid pruning (we’ve owned the trees for about the past 7 years),
  • and that any olives left on the trees after harvest don’t necessarily fall off the tree. Instead, if left on the trees they become “mummies”, contaminating next year’s harvest.
olive trees pruningolive trees pruned

Most importantly, Kathryn helped us take out about 30% of each tree’s growth by starting at the center of the tree and pruning to make the tree look vase shaped, with branches opening outward. To be honest, it kind of looks like a tornado came through the grove and took out a bunch of trees, but that was just Nacho and Martin working incredibly hard to increase their arm muscles from using hand saws and get the job done. Pruning on a regular schedule helps increase yield, reduce pest and disease pressures, and the vase shape helps make for an easier harvest!  

Also - make sure to check out Fat Gold’s olive oil subscription. And check out Robin Sloan’s (the other half of Fat Gold) book Sourdough. Boonville gets a solid mention that 100% made me cry when I read it and realized I was maybe a tad homesick while living in Boston. 

 

That’s all for now. We’ll check back in April when the peppers are bigger and hopefully after we’ve had more rain!

Best,
Krissy