This past spring, I have been awaiting the resumption of Anthony's Farm Bulletins with bated breath, wondering how the excessive rain and cool temperatures may have affected the crops (not to mention the folk) at Ayers Creek Farm in Gaston. I shouldn't have worried, since it's abundantly clear that mere seasonal weather variations can't dim the enthusiasm of the Bard of Ayers Creek.
Earl Butz's legendary "Get big or get out."
Both the Oregonian and the Capital Press had ingratiating editorials about how small farms are just as likely to cause food borne illnesses as large ones. We have included our response to the Capital Press editorial at the end of this note [see accompanying post]. The Capital Press is the region's agricultural weekly, and an important as well as infuriating source of farming news and opinion. As we point out, two trends are occurring: increasing consolidation and mechanization in the produce industry and the growth of small farms selling fruits and vegetables directly to the public. The consolidating produce industry is the source of the problems, not the expanding farmers' market sector.
The wet spring has also generated a fair amount of nail biting. On balance, the wet and gloomy spring was very good for the farm, even if it made a lot of extra work for us. This winter, we decided we would shift our planting a week or two later, or even three weeks in the case of peppers and tomatoes. We didn't expect to have our resolution so emphatically enforced. Whether it was the pent-up energy, or a desire to hedge against a short crop, we ended up doubling our plantings this year. We have also shifted the crop balance in response to the cooler spring. Most crops look better this year compared to the last three years, especially 2009. Crops will be late, though, so we are hoping for a gentle autumn.
Look for the following at the Ayers Creek stand at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market, Sun., 7/4, 10 am-2 pm:
Cascade Dawn, the famous berry named after, not one, but two brand name detergents. In spite of that handicap, it is a wonderful raspberry, and we have grown it since it was the mere numbered selection WSU 1068.
The loganberry (top photo) is a great fruit. It is sprightly with a deep flavor only equalled, in our opinion, by the boysenberry. It is substantial, the fruit for inspiring a novel, not a Twitter post.
The loganberry is generally regarded as a natural hybrid between the native dewberry, Rubus ursinus, and a raspberry. Judge Logan wrote a letter to L.H. Bailey at Cornell describing the development of the Loganberry. It is excerpted in the U.P. Hedrick's Small Fruits of New York (1925). In his words:
"In the summer of 1883 these plants fruited and there appeared one plant which was undoubtedly a cross between the raspberry and the Rubus ursinus. The fruit was larger and earlier than the raspberry or any blackberry, except the R. ursinus, ripening about the middle of May…The leaves of the vine are almost identical with the wild Rubus, being somewhat larger. The canes are also like the wild Rubus only larger and more vigorous."