Vegetables, Fruit, and Honey

We have a small test garden and orchard on the farm, where we grow a variety of fruits and vegetables to see whether we’ll ever want to grow them as a major crop. Mostly, we end up eating them; but sometimes we have a little extra to give to volunteers or sell to local folks.

Last season, we grew some great beets:

proud beet farmer 1

Hours spent scrubbing them by hand led to to plenty of “beet” puns: Our favorite song to sing on the farm is now “Beet It!” You know it’ll sound good, because “We’ve got the Beet.” The above photo of John is titled “Beauty and the Beets.”

Molly started keeping bees as a hobby in 2010, but she discovered that her hobby often conflicted with her official (non-hobby) farm work and she kept forgetting to harvest the honey at the right time. As a result, she now partners with Jana Kinsman at Bike A Bee – our first share cropper. We are up to 5 hives on the farm, with space and flowers enough to expand. Honey bees diversify our pollinator population and sometimes provide some sweetness for our kitchen, but we also consciously manage our farm to create habitat for native pollinators and other beneficial insects.

hives at sunset

In 2011, we planted six apple trees, a sweet cherry, and a dozen raspberry and blueberry plants. If they can survive the deer, the harsh winters, and the strong prairie winds, we’re looking forward to a big fruit harvest in a few years!

berries are tasty
Our first blueberry – we learned later that we probably shouldn’t have picked any the first year.