I promised you “more on this topic” last week, and well, I’m just getting to it today for another photo Friday. I will say again that this is yet another new crop for our farm. We have added quite a few in the past couple of years. This is due to many factors. The saying of “putting all your eggs in one basket” comes quick to my mind. But more than that, we are always looking for good crops to rotate through our soils. In our soils good and consistent crop rotation is a huge help with weed pressure, soil preservation, disease management and adding organic matter back into our soils. I will also point out, that we are incredibly lucky to farm where we farm. Crop rotation with as many different crops to choose from isn’t the norm in many agricultural areas in the world.
Vegetable seed crops in general are a bit harder to grow because just getting the “permission” or go ahead to plant the seed is tough enough. There are strict rules on isolation (or area around your field) due to pollination boundaries, plant back timing, ability to get a contract, etc. Because of many of these reasons we haven’t been in the vegetable seed market for very long. An opportunity came up last year to put cabbage and radish in the ground and we jumped at the chance to add to our rotation options. This year Swiss chard became available and we again jumped on it.
Swiss chard has become a more popular crop because of the growing market of mixed green salad mixes. Many of which I buy, many of which have random groupings of lettuces and leafy greens that I can’t decipher from each other. But thankfully, people seem to love an alternative to the iceberg lettuce head and the added variety of something maybe a bit easier to grab and maybe a little fancier looking on their plates.
So not only have opportunites for our farm’s location opened up, markets also always continue to change and make the list of crops on our farm change from year to year. This coming crop year we plan to grow 11 different crops and if you follow along for the next year I’m sure you will get to know more about each than maybe you care to…but it’s a sneak peak at what we have to work with as farmers.
In other news it was a little foggy morning here in the Willamette Valley! I love fall, which means by default I love the fog! Here’s a sunrise photo I caught on my way to work this morning.