Broad Valley Orchard

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No More Worrying about Drought, for this Season

Hello Devotees of Autumn,

The weather patterns have finally shifted here, and we have received 2 inches (5.08cm) of rain in the last 36 hours. The blistering smoggy heat of last week is gone; this morning it is 48F (8 C) and foggy. The leaves are turning color. Hooray!

Judy and I wrapped up this challenging growing season with a flourish. The Local Foods Dinner we co-hosted with St. James Church (who originally founded the CSA which we took over the farmer’s role in 2001), in Gettysburg, attracted 50 folks. We had a sumptuous feast, made largely from local ingredients, served on compostible dinner ware. Several generous donations made it possible to award two ‘mini-grants’, as seed money, to two young farm couples who “have the dream”. We also had a discussion about the feasibility of resurrecting the Adams County Food Co-op, which served the community from 1973-1983.

We also firmed up plans for our CSA-Extended, which will deliver half-shares to 20 families until the end of January, 2008. We are down to a few rows of fall roots and greens outside, and only ten trees still bear Granny Smith, Gold Rush, and Pink Lady apples. But our root cellar is full, and our fruit cooler is stocked. Our two high-tunnel hoop houses are planted, and the low tunnels covering the 4 raised beds in each, are rigged and ready to frost and freeze.

The next morning, we headed back into town, to present our farm dream and vision to the Adams County Master gardeners, and we felt very well received. These concerned citizen/gardeners also realize the power of backyard gardening, and are also excited about “Local Foods”.

Yesterday, Sherry, a fellow “real cider” co-conspirator, came up to help me turn 2 1/2 bushels (90 KG) of fall apples into 6 1/2 gallons (25L) of varietal cider, tofrement into her own batch of hard cider. Judy and I already have two carboys working. While we smashed and squeezed apples in the mist, Judy gave a tour to a school group of seven young students from the city, who had never really seen a working farm. I think their world view widened.

But for now, I have to get to work on all those delayed chores, like cleaning all the berry boxes off the wood stove, and cleaning the iron, and getting it ready to set a test fire. With all this rain, though, perhaps the fall crop of mushrooms has popped up (at last). I’ll take Jago for a walk in the woods, and see if we can find a good “chicken of the woods“, or “beefsteak” mushroom. Maybe we’ll get lucky again and his smart snout will pick up a truffle under the wet bracken. Happy (but safe) “shrooming to you !!

Thank You

Thom Marti

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