Growing vegetables free of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, and GMOs in Skull Valley, Arizona.


FIND US AT LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS:

Prescott Farmers Market -- Yavapai College parking lot -- Saturdays 7:30 AM - 12 Noon -- May 10th - October 25th

www.prescottfarmersmarket.org

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Flagstaff Community Market -- city hall parking lot, undere the solar panels --Sundays 8:00 AM - 12 Noon -- May 25th - October 12th

www.flagstaffmarket.com

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Want to stop by and pick up veggies from the farm? Please give us a call before you come!

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Contact Us: Reach us by email at rabbitrunfarmAZ@gmail.com or by phone at (928) 235-2044 or find us on Facebook

Sunday, March 30, 2014

We have been busy on the farm!  So busy I forget to sit down and share it here. This warm spring has been on-going, and we are planting accordingly.  The barberry is blooming, the cottonwoods started their snowy seed shower last week.  We have even heard frogs at night around the 1st of March!  There may come a night when we are rushing to the farm with frost blankets in hand, but we will hope it holds off.

The onions are in the ground!  We are trying something new with them this year: planting on plastic mulch.  Onions are notoriously hard to keep weeded - even in their maturity they provide no canopy to shade out new weeds. We had lots of help getting these 13,000 onions in the ground (thanks everyone!) - it's the usually the first and most tedious transplanting of the season.  It's been two weeks since this picture was taken, and the onions are now standing at attention and are growing happily.


In fact, the mulch-layer is our newest labor saving device on the farm, so it will be making an appearance all season.  Farming in a very rural location + being a small business with limited cash flow + living off the farm = a challenge for us to find much needed reliable, able labor on the farm.  We are hoping the mulch layer will provide a relief from labor spent weeding, so when we do have extra help, it can be dedicated to planting, harvesting, and other projects.

Kale in the greenhouse that was planted in the field last week:

Lettuce that we planted out this morning:

Parsley surrounded by cottonwood seeds.  We have already seen some of these seeds sprout in the wet spots of our beds!

With seven weeks until the first market, we will be planting non-stop!  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A new look & what we do in the winter

Well you may have noticed the new face of this blog!  I have had many people tell me I should post more... and that will be on of my new year's resolutions (at least for the farm). 

So yesterday, while poking around on the blogger website, I completely messed up our old format, and only noticed the "backup" option after I wrecked it.  So I spent some hours fixing things, and this is where it stands now!  There may be more changes afoot as I keep learning about the new format options. 
Suggestions welcome too!

What do we do in the winter?  After the markets end, we spend time cleaning up the fields, pulling up drip tape, and cleaning and putting all of the tools to rest.  Tools all sanded, oiled, and soaking up the last warm fall sun:

Lots of time goes to planning, seed and supply ordering, reviewing the past year, and figuring out how to make things better and easier this next year. Seed catalogs seem to be coming out of the woodwork, there are more every year!

I also work off-farm at an accountant's office, full time Dec-April.  This makes for a crunch-time in April, but it reliably pays the bills in the off season, and also gives me more experience in office managing and lets me learn more about taxes, accounting, and the business side of things.

Matt has been busy prepping fields, fixing broken things, and getting ready for the busy season.  He's been making soil mix, filling trays, and itching to start seeding them.  The whole blue barrel is full of soil mix that he's made.  The black trays will hold the first brassica seedlings. 



Since it's been unseasonably warm in Arizona for January, we've both been getting antsy about starting seeds.  We have to refer to our crop book to remind us that January may be a bit early for starting some seeds.  I write down all our seed starting dates and amounts which helps us review what worked and what didn't each year. 

While most crops will grow and do just fine to start this early, we won't be selling crops on a large scale until the farmers markets start in May, and our weekends up until the market will most likely be spent feverishly planting, rather than at the new winter market.  Hopefully next year this will be different, and we'll be able to attend the winter market before the May markets!  Stay tuned for updates as spring arrives, as we may have produce available in April for sale!

Lastly, winter is a time for rest and maybe some travel.  When we started farming, the "off-season" sounded like a great time for vacation!  We realize now that this is harder to do than it sounds, because on a farm even when the crops are slowing down, there is still work to be done!  However, as we get our farm systems in place, and have trustworthy friends to watch over things, each year gets a little easier for us to take off more time in the winter and leave town. 

I went to Austin, TX to visit my girlfriends from college, and got to check out the town's veggie scene as well.  There is a lot of vegetable love in Austin:


Check back for more as spring arrives!

Monday, September 16, 2013

BEANS

We are mid way through September, and it's been very beany around here!   Matt decided to plant lots of green beans for our second planting of the season... two two-hundred-foot beds worth!  That's a lot of back-strengthening bean picking!  At least it made up for our sad first planting, which really struggled through the heat.  So we have spent some quality time in the bean patch.  It's a good place for conversation and daydreaming, because you'll be there for a while, methodically working down the row to the sound of beans dropping in your bucket.


 

Lily picking green beans, with tepary beans (smaller leaved plants) and blue corn in the background:


TEPARY BEANS
Behind Lily in the picture are six beds (twelve rows) of tepary beans.  Tepary beans are a dry bean that is native to southern Arizona, traditionally grown by the Tohono O'odham.  Fortunately they do quite well in Skull Valley too!  The beans are relatively small, compared with your standard pinto or black bean, but the flavor is earthy and rich, unlike any other bean I've tasted.  When cooking, I usually just add some salt and at most garlic, but their flavor stands out when prepared simply.  More than flavor, tepary beans, especially homegrown, have a grounding energy from their human and botanical stories, giving you a hearty full-belly feeling.

We have watered them very little all summer, thanks to the generous monsoon this year combined with the tepary's outstanding drought resistance. They can produce a crop with little water, a major bonus in Arizona and other dry places.  The Prescott College Agroecology program has been doing deficit irrigation experiments with tepary beans for the past few years at the farm.  They have applied measured amounts of irrigation to different rows of beans, and look for the highest yield with the least amount of water.  Many other universities and non profits across the country are looking at tepary beans as an emerging crop for its ability to produce food under dry conditions as well as it's other special attributes.

With the dry weather predicted this next week, they will hopefully dry up a little more, and be ready for harvest before or around the first hard frost. 

The green tepary beans on the vine plumping up!

Mixed variety tepary beans from last year's agroecology class harvest:


Read more about tepary beans here: http://newscenter.nmsu.edu/9098/tepary,-the-uncommon-bean:-ready-prime-time-southwest

All for now, happy bean season!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Greetings!  Spring seems to have slipped by without any updates to this blog. I'll provide a photo summary of what we've been up to since then. 


Spring brassicas in the small greenhouse, almost ready for bed time.

Matt planting lettuces and tomatoes in the new high tunnel, around March 15.
Garlic and covers for lettuce, brassicas, and other spring crops.


Mid-April in the hoophouse, lettuces are ready, tomatoes on the way!

Cailyn at the market with the spring harvest!
Spring lettuces, kale, and carrots.

Fourth of July onion harvest.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

High Tunnel Raising

The new year brought the completion of a BIG project for us... putting the poly on the high tunnel!  This is a job for many hands, and we owe many, many thanks to the wonderful people who came down on their Saturday to brave a cold breeze and accomplish a hefty task.

We were lucky to have two of our farmer friends visiting from Wisconsin.  Ken & Judith Keppers who own Keppers Pottery & Produce, brought their experience, calm nerves, and surprised us with another friend from town, Loring!  The winds brought us a new volunteer, Nicole, who jumped right in like an old farm hand.  Brian, Breanna, and Fehin made it a family affair, and brought their senses of humor and handy skills.

All pictures below are courtesy of Judith Keppers.  You can see pictures of their lovely farm and poly tunnels at www.Kepperspottery.com


Ken, Sarah & Breanna pull on ropes to get the poly over the top while Nicole supervises.


Loring and Matt help lift up the poly.

Matt and Sarah working together to get the wiggle wire installed.

Winter sun going down behind the tunnel.

The whole crew + Judith behind the camera.




Friday, November 9, 2012

The market season has come to an end!  Here are a few pictures from the late fall markets:

Bell peppers of all colors!

Matt and Sarah at the booth, early September.

Late tomatoes!
Giant pumpkins & sweet pie pumpkins at the last market.

Thanks to all of our wonderful, dedicated customers for visiting us each week at the markets!  It was a successful growing season and we're happy that we can share the harvest with the community.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A little bit of food preservation

 Yellow romas waiting their turn for the blanching pot.  This year I think we're just going to blanch and freeze a bunch of tomatoes.  Unless the sauce fever hits us when we get some fall tomatoes!  We've made sauce the past three years, and maybe this one will be different.
 Sweet corn for freezing! Again, I'm into freezing.  We had a bunch of ears that hung out long enough for me to get my act together and process them.  I simply husked, trimmed, and steamed the ears, then cut off the kernels.  I put them in double bags with the date, and will be thankful in January when I make chili!
 This is only the first batch of pickled jalapenos.  There will be more!  Matt thought I was crazy because I made them on a Sunday afternoon, after a sleep-deprived weekend of markets.  I really like to use the brine in soups and stews, and throw in a pepper or two as well.  Delicious!