Diary of a Young Farmer
July 8, 2009. Zoë shares what she’s been up to in her second year farming in southern Oregon — like plowing for the first time with her two horses.
April 13, 2009. Zoë Bradbury describes her first of many asparagus harvests and the accompanying celebration. She made it through Year One!
February 28, 2009. Catch up on what’s new: a CSA (already full!), new equipment for the horses, and the beginning signs of spring.
January 31, 2009. Farmer Zoë Bradbury writes a letter to winter.
November 25, 2008. It is the eve of my last harvest and I am tucked in by the woodstove while a storm slams at the south side of the house…
September 23, 2008. I have been swallowed by September – enveloped in the folds of peak harvest. This is like no other time of the year.
September 8, 2008. My strawberries were rupturing in the field, the ripe and semi-ripe berries developing rain lesions as red and raw as open wounds….
August 21, 2008. This is August. And August is so full, it does to a vegetable farmer what many people spend hours of meditation trying to achieve. August makes you empty.
August 4, 2008. One of the challenges to resettling rural America is land — finding it and affording it. Development prices put farmland out of reach for anyone who doesn’t have a trust fund, or family land, or a fat pension.
July 14, 2008. The farm was laid out below in all its straight rows: brown fields bisected by green farm roads, flanked to the north by the river. I could see my strawberry patch, and the mosaic of color that is my block of head lettuce.
June 17, 2008. I’m long overdue in introducing Barney and Maude, the two Belgians who arrived on the farm in April. They are quite the couple: tireless farmworkers and completely inseparable.
May 29, 2008. There is water. Water on my fields. Water in pipes. Water in hoses. Water on asparagus. Water on raspberries. Water on carrots and beets and potatoes and leeks and artichokes and dahlias. There is water at last.
May 14, 2008. I’m hanging in there, but facing some major shortages. Money, yes, but there’s something that’s become even more critical right now: water.
April 22, 2008. What I’ve learned in April is that the mythic “cash flow crisis” that farmers face in springtime is no myth. Springtime = money out. Harvest time = money in.
April 10, 2008. Grafting is the process of joining one thing to another, of taking two things that do not share a natural relationship or affinity for each other — and making them one.
March 31, 2008. I was on the tractor at dusk today, prepping beds for the asparagus and raspberry rootstock that I’ll plant out later this month, when I was struck by the realization that the reason I am able to come home and do this, and hopefully make a living at it, is in large part thanks to the local food movement.
March 26, 2008. I did not blow up the greenhouse, but almost.
March 1, 2008. I pulled up to my new greenhouse on Floras Creek today with a riot of saw-toothed artichoke divisions in the back of the truck, teased them apart into one-gallon transplant pots, and officially began my first season farming for myself, next door to my mom and sister. It seemed like the perfect thing to do on a leap day.