Thursday, April 30, 2015

Undercover Tomatoes

Inspector Clouseau Inspector Gadget Inspector Morse Inspector Frost    




NO, NO, NO....not that kind of undercover....

Our tomatoes are literally - UNDER COVER....

They are nice and cozy under their blankets enjoying the warm greenhouse feel and the rich soil at the same time.  See how happy they look....

And there's a whole family of tomatoes living in the high tunnel tucked in and cozy.

If you have any questions for H.G., please do not hesitate to post them here.  

Monday, April 27, 2015

Meet Our Two Other Beekeepers

Chris Biondi, is on the left is the and Don Coats is on the right.  If you click on both of their names you'll learn about their companies and their passion for beekeeping. Both of these gentlemen are members of the Chester County Beekeepers Association.   We found them in the middle of a great project. They were collecting data on the hives on our farm, which they are doing on several hives in the area over an 18 month period.  By collecting 18 months of data on sentinel hives the project will compare expected and observed results among different methods of management over time.  Don is the coordinator of the project, as a retired veterinarian, he will have a bias of attention on disease/parasites and nutrition.

There are 10,000 bees per hive.  By July there will be between 60 and 80 thousand bees in one hive.   AMAZING!  


Equally amazing, Chris was holding the frames barehanded! Who knew, but you can pick up a bee with your bare hands. The ones with the stingers are girls (hmmm), and the boys (drones) don't have stingers (just fuzzy backsides).  

Worker Bee

They are gentle enough for a young gal, who happened to be watching, to hold.  She is holding the boy who is stingerless!

The Queen has been marked with a safe kind of "bee paint" (the blue lady in the middle) so that Chris can quickly identify her when he is checking to make sure all is well in the hive. 

If you look closely at the bee to the left, he's got pollen on him!  Busy bee doing his job!

One of our followers on Instagram asked a great question...Do the beekeepers have to buy new bees each year.  Chris replied, "For me, the most difficult part of beekeeping is over-wintering my bees.  Losses around the USA are typically around 30% of one's hives. So, honey bees are designed to over-winter, and therefore, new bees would not be required each year unless they perished before Springtime."  And, over-winter, means Octoberish to first Maple blossom (around April).  

If you have any questions, Mike, Chris and Don are all willing to answer your questions.  So, please post them below and we'll get you an answer as soon as we can get them away from the hives!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Please Join us in Supporting Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids

On August 29th, join us for a lovely farm to table dinner featuring fresh SIW produce and a live bluegrass band!  Proceeds will benefit Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids,
a local non-profit that provides school garden-based science education for more than 10,000 children across Delaware.

The caterer for the event is Wilmington based Sprout Gourmet. Owner Eleanor Gregory is a highly esteemed chef whose experience hails from highly acclaimed Susanna Foo Restaurant in Philadelphia.  Eleanor is known for globally inspired food and locally sourced ingredients. 

Adding to the fun of the evening will be Delaware bluegrass band Acoustic Turnpike. Acoustic Turnpike is a high energy band playing innovative music covering traditional bluegrass, pop and swing.  

Cocktails will be served at 6:00 p.m. Cost is $100 per guest. Please sign-up at stand after we open on June 1; or, mail check payable to: HFHK and send along with names of attendees to:

c/o SIW Vegetables
4317 S. Creek Road
Chadds Ford, PA 19317 

We hope many of you can join us in supporting this fine organization!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

We Have TWO WINNERS! Dennis and Gianna!!!

Dennis C. guessed the mystery plant.... 


We have another winner over at the KIDS CORNER!! Gianna figured out that our KIDS CORNER MYSTERY PLANT is GARLIC!!!

And it's growing up beautifully!
Redeem your prizes at the stand anytime after we open on JUNE 1!  Ask for Debbe!

Monday, April 20, 2015

H.G. and HIS Corn


These yellow bins contain the corn.  The blade below cuts the line and then the corn is dropped every 8 1/2 inches.  

22,000 kernels are planted per acre.  And he plants 13-14 acres!  You do the math!  That's a lot of corn!
Start your engines!
Corn will be on your tables soon!
See ya real soon.  We open June 1.

By the way, did you know H.G. is an inventor? This is his "H-O-vator."   There's only one of these contraptions on the planet! It lightly tills up the ground so as to no over work the ground. When possible, H.G. does NO-Till farming.  But more on that later!

If you have any questions, please feel free to post them below!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Full Greenhouse to Full High Tunnel...

Peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, scallions, lettuce gooseberries, and flowers!

The greenhouse is bursting out all over!

New Mystery Plant (Anyone have any guesses what this is? Post answer below and win prize!)
Our Tomato Forest

We are getting the fields ready to plant all the deliciousness found in the greenhouse! Nothing like freshly tilled soil!

We've brought many of those wonderful tomatoes out of the greenhouse and put them in the ground!  First in the High Tunnel.
Then out into the fields. H.G. guides the operation along while the co-pilots take the tomato plants from the greenhouse and plant them one at a time in the ground.  Do you see that brown wheel in the middle to the left of Marv?  It pokes holes in the ground every 22 inches and then they place the tomato gently in the ground!

And, as soon as the stand opens on JUNE 1, you will have amazingly delicious tomatoes on your table!  If you want to keep track of the tomatoes growth keep an eye on our tomato crop progression page.  And, this post contains our new mystery plant.  If you have a guess what it is, please post below.  Guess, win, and claim prize at the stand! Anyone can play! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

DE Center for Horticulture Came Back

DCH came back to help this past weekend and did many things, not the least of which was dealing with the prickly raspberry plants!  Thanks again!

If you have a group that is interested in coming to help work the farm for a morning, please let us know!  Lunch is on us!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Aquatic Wildlife Spotting

Southern size CRAYFISH, spotted swimming UP the waterway!

And in case you're curious, here is the difference between crayfish and lobsters.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Pollinators are Back...

Sounds like a sci-fi movie and these bees can be alarming to some...

but they are really very gentle and are great for the environment and our farm! If you are interested in beekeeping you can take a look at the Pennsylvania Beekeeper's Association web site, or the Delaware Beekeepers Association also has some really interesting information. If you're curious about what it takes to become a beekeeper, there is a nominal fee to be involved in one of these associations and classes are offered to learn more about beekeeping.

Like the bees some might think the beekeepers protective gear has it's own sci-fi feel, but under the white veil is a very gentle and intelligent beekeeper named Mike Elling who has been keeping bees at the farm since 1979.  There are two other beekeepers on the farm and they are all a very important part in making what we do at SIW a success!  

Bees come in either a "package" or a "Nuc." In the "package" the queen arrives in the little box Mike is holding and she is accompanied by a few worker bees. Once on the farm, she is introduced to the 600-900 other bees that have been bought to keep her company and to make honey. 

The goal is for the bees to "like" the queen bee but there is an adjustment period.   In the "Nuc" the bees arrive together with their queen already adjusted.  

These trays are called "frames" and are inserted into the hives where the bees will build their combs onto it making amazingly delicious HONEY!    

If any of you struggle with pollen allergies, it is NOT an old-wives-tale that consuming raw honey helps to immune you against such allergies. Just another reason to come on by the market and pick up some raw honey!

So, no need to be afraid of the bees, they are good as gold!  You'll only get stung if you're annoying them by being loud around and threaten their hive (or their safety).  But, standing a few feet off and observing them is really an amazing experience! 

If you have any interesting bee knowledge you want to pass along, please post your comments below!