Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Farm Bulletin: It Takes A Village to Harvest a Berry

A popular saying has it that it takes a village to raise a child. Contributor Anthony Boutard of Ayers Creek Farm tells us that, in many ways, it works much the same way for a farmer.

We are suffering the usual grunts and groans as we get ready for the Chesters.

A couple of weeks ago, a young heron shorted out the power line to the pumps, frying the controller on our smaller pump. Ernst Irrigation had a used one that worked, and Gerry had it installed quickly. Heron survived, just some singed primaries.

One of the indispensable Gators.

Then, ten days ago, one of the utility vehicles lost compression, a bad symptom, but we were spared the worst. On the Gator, older models used a plastic camshaft gear. Doug down at Ernst installed a new steel gear and it is running nicely.

Early this week, an "alarm 14" on the controller for our big pump used to cool the blackberry field indicated a short in the motor windings, so we had to pull the 600 beast and bring it down to McMinnville. Picked it up this morning. Craig from Ernst got it up and running just in time for the upcoming heat ripple. Funny how mellifluous a 50 HP pump coming up to pressure sounds on a hot afternoon.

Despite this tale of woe, we have not retreated from our solemn commitment to bring Chesters and other good food to the Hillsdale Farmers' Market with a cheerful smile. Credit all the good staff at Ernst Irrigation in St. Paul for easing us out of tight spots over the last couple of weeks.

The banal bumper sticker reads "No Farms, No Food" which has some measure of truth, but the last couple of weeks drove home the fact that there are plenty of other businesses that are essential for us to bring you food. Any successful business is part of a community and we don't do this alone, despite some of the cramped rhetoric bandied about lately.

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