Winter Solstice Report from Brookside Farm

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After a particularly beautiful batch of Brookside Farm‘s Meyer lemons arrived last week, we followed up with Welling Tom to find out what else is going on at their Brentwood, CA farm. Here’s what he had to tell us:

Our Meyer lemons are some of the few things we currently have available. We also have a few Oroblanco pomelos already picked, and available as long as supplies last. Growing in the field, we have fava beans, green garlic (now available), broccoli, and Lacinato kale. Fava beans are a slow-growing crop, and will not mature until April or May. The cole crops (broccoli and kale) have been producing since October, but not quite as much as we had hoped. A major problem has been the Bagrada bug, an invasive species of beetle that was not found in the western United States until 2008. So far, Brookside Farm has not taken any measures to combat this pest. Aside from that, there all the usual pests like gophers and cabbage moths.

We were hoping to have other crops available this season. Most cold season crops should be planted by October, but we failed to get that done merely because of some breakdowns on our tractor. These have been mostly remedied, but doing so took away the time that should have been spent in actually preparing the land for planting. So that opportunity was lost. But we still have a chance to plant new crops for the late winter. Our neighbor, Peter Wolfe, whose family has farmed here for over 70 years, has kindly lent me his disc harrow, which has allowed me to till a large area more quickly and effectively than I could with our rototiller. The current weather has been fairly dry, and at least partly sunny, so we should be able to get some arugula, turnips, spinach, and sugar snap peas planted soon, and we should be able to prune our fruit trees without too many delays.

Although we have had our share of setbacks, we are grateful for what we do have, for what we are still able to do, and for the support of our community of friends (including our customers at the farmers’ markets and restaurants such as Oliveto) and neighbors. We look forward to a brighter New Year.

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