Saturday, July 31, 2010

My first post :)

Hello everyone, my name is Natalie Kenley and I will now be contributing to the blog!! Above is a photo of our first artichokes of the season!

I have been working with Carol this summer in her gorgeous garden and at the Wednesday markets and I have been snapping a bunch of pictures that we want to share with you all. We had a fabulous time on the farm tour today and were so pleased with how many people came to support us all here in the valley. More about the tour to come...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Farm Tour and Rainy Wether

Tomorrow the day of the Mat-Su Farm Bureau Tour. The two tour buses are stopping here for the All Alaska Grown lunch and for a brief tour of our place. I'm not having to do the lunch, that is catered by The Rib Shack, but there was still a lot of work to do to get ready for the tour. This year I am the tour coordinator and so of course I am nervous about how the whole tour will go. Mostly, I am anxious about people coming here. We do have a lovely place and I want everyone on the tour to experience it at it's best. After all, some of my wonderful customers have told me they are coming and I want them to see where their food is grown. We normally spend a great deal of time weeding, but the last two days we have been ruthlessly attacking all weeds everywhere! Fortunately the weather cooperated and we were able to get the lawn mowed too, which is wonderful.
The rain this month has been so disheartening for farmers! I feel blessed that our gardens are doing well and I am grateful that we grow a diverse variety of vegetables. Crops that take a little more heat and any real sunshine just aren't doing well. My neighbors, Bob and Jeannie Havemiester have not gotten any hay up yet. They have some cut in the fields, but it has rained so much that it isn't good for anything now. My good friend, Arthur Keyes at Glacier Valley Farms, has his field of strawberries and zucchini at about 1/3 the production of last year. My corn is in silks, but with all the rain the pollination will probably be horrible and there will be no saleable ears, even if they do mature. My flowers are suffering in the wind and rain, my baskets usually unbelievably lovely are not lovely and even my lilies have yet to bloom.
With those downer thoughts, let me tell you what crops are doing well. Spinach, for one, has loved the sunless days. Spinach doesn't really like all of the daylight we get in the summer, so the overcast days were good for the spinach. It has been wonderful. Kohlrabi has been thriving in the cool, sunless days. Usually if it gets bigger than fist size, it will be woody and tough, but that has not been the case this year. Our cabbage loves this weather as well as the broccoli and cauliflower. And, I just can't leave out the lettuce. Our lettuce has been spectacular. The rain has made the lettuce crisp and sometimes when I am in the garden I feel like burying my face in a head and just taking a bite right out of the middle--no kidding, it is that good! The potatoes are also growing well and although the carrots are slow, trust me, we will have carrots.

Who knows, August could prove to be a sunny month. I am looking forward to a change in the weather pattern, but I am happy gardening even when the weather is uncooperative. I think that is a good thing, or I'd have been unhappy alot this last month.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Look at our beautiful lettuce!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


What a great opening day we had at the market last week! It was wonderful to see everyone again and to meet new customers. It was so fun to have such a huge variety of produce for the opening day! It was even more special because Channel 2 News came and shot some footage and Wednesday night they showed a segment on the Farmer's Markets. I didn't see it, but my friends tell me our stand looked wonderful!
Thursday and Friday were lovely sunny days here in the Valley. The veggies really loved the sunshine! Of course the weeds loved it too and we spent alot of time weeding, but weeding is not a bad job when the sun is shining! Now the gardens look lovely again. I'll post some pictures tomorrow.
Tuesday we will be harvesting for the market on Wednesday. I know alot of my Palmer customers miss us at the Friday Fling, so we have decided that we will offer to harvest what ever they order while we harvest on Tuesdays. Here's how it will work. We will list what we will have at the market each week on Sunday evening. If you will email your order to us by Monday evening we will harvest your order Tuesday and you can come by and pick it up Tuesday evening. Our email address is .
We will have a huge variety of produce this week. Here's the list:
Baby beets with greens, broccoli, cucumbers, bright lights chard, red leaf lettuce, head lettuce, snow apple turnips, new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, lemon boy tomatoes, red slicing tomatoes, sweet green peppers, hot peppers, green onions, radishes, turnip greens, zucchini, napa cabbage, kohlrabi, basil, garlic, sage, parsley, marjoram, oregano and thyme.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

First Market

I need to start this post by apologizing for not posting for so long. My broken arm has kept me from doing much on the computer, but it is feeling better now and so I will try to do better.

Tomorrow is our first Farmer's Market of the year and I am excited about it! Last year we sold at the Friday Flings in Palmer and the Wednesday South Anchoarge Market in front of the Dimond Hotel. The Friday Fling started in mid May. This year we decided to concentrate all of our efforts on the Wednesday market and tomorrow is opening day! I must admit I have missed the markets. I love growing everything, but I also love sharing our beautiful produce with all of our customers. Thus, I know that I will not sleep well tonight, I am just like that, I can't sleep when I am excited about something!

I could hardly believe how much we harvested today! June was a very cloudy month and nothing grew quite like it did last year but the early warm days in May seems to have made a big difference! We are bringing the best turnips we've ever grown. They are so juicy that yesterday at lunch Rachel said she thought they were as juicy as pineapple! Well, I'm not sure about that, but they are delicious! I also harvested the earliest new potatoes we have ever grown! I have a goal of digging potatoes in the month of June. I didn't reach it this year, but July 6th isn't far off and there is always next year. I am trying to learn how to grow peppers. We have grown them for years, but this year I am concentrating on doing them right. My efforts are paying off and I have three lovely baskets of sweet green, yellow and hot peppers to bring to the market already. I am also very proud of our collard greens. They are big and so tender!

My six-year-old grandson, Dane, has taken on growing our green onions. He really wants to buy a mountain bike and so his mom has helped him plant onion sets and is teaching him how to harvest. It is the cutest thing to watch him work and he has done a great job. He is proudly bringing his onions to the market tomorrow, if you come you won't be able to resist them.

I hope the weather report for rain tomorrow is wrong and if not, I trust that enough people will come out the the market anyway, if not I will have a trailer full of vegetables to bring home.