Bees, Blooms, and Babes: Scenes of Winter on the Farm | CUESA

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February 16, 2018

Bees, Blooms, and Babes: Scenes of Winter on the Farm

At the farmers market, winter feels like the quiet season, but during this so-called “downtime,” our farmers are hard at work on the farm, preparing for the even busier months ahead. Fruit trees are being pruned, seedlings are being planted, baby goats are being born, and vital planning is being done to ensure a successful harvest season.

While some of our farmers are on winter hiatus from the farmers market, we dug into their Instagram feeds to provide some behind-the-scenes glimpses of what’s happening in the fields, to tempt you for the exciting spring season ahead. Indeed, a farmer’s work is never done!

Pruning and Prepping

For our orchard farmers, pruning is a vital part of tree care during winter season. Pruning is done to remove dead and broken limbs and maximize the amount of light that penetrates the trees, which supports tree health and increases fruit yields in the spring and summer. Here, cherry trees get a trim at Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood.

 

At Massa Organics, pruning is done with a tractor “armed with the world’s most dangerous fidget spinner”!

 

At Peach Jamboree (aka Woodleaf Farm), stone fruit farmers Danny and Andrew are focused on orchard care and building new farm structures, after many of their farm buildings were destroyed in wildfires last summer.

 

Cover crop is an important part of the winter planting cycle, protecting the soil while restoring nutrients and helping store water. Due to the dry, warm winter, farmers Kenny and Molly at Lonely Mountain Farm have started to disc in their cover crop early this year.

 

Winter is a crucial time to plan for the season ahead. Helena and Matthew at Happy Acre Farm in Sunol are doing important business planning, while starting seedlings in their greenhouses (and preparing for a new baby!).

 

Bees and Blooms

Orchard trees are starting to blossom after their winter dormancy. The warm winter and lack of rain means that blooms have arrived about a week early this year. Stone fruit farmers like K&J Orchards watch their trees carefully during this delicate time of year.

 

Apricot blooms at Blossom Bluff Orchards.

 

Pollinators play a vital role during blossom season! As they forage for nectar in flowers, bees, birds, and other pollinators transfer pollen from bloom to bloom, a key part of fertilization that allows fruit to grow. Most fruits and nuts are entirely dependent on this process. Here, a honeybee explores a pluot blossom at Frog Hollow Farm.

 

Almond blossoms at Massa Organics in Hamilton City.

 

Kids, Chicks, and Babes

At our goat farms, kidding season has started!

 

At Toluma Farms in West Marin, the crew has their hands full caring for mama and baby goats.

 

Newborn goats are enjoying their mothers' milk right now. We can look forward to fresh goat cheese at the market in April.

 

Baby chicks have arrived at Root Down Farm, a pasture-based ranch in Pescadero.

 

And at Sun Tracker Farm in the Capay Valley, Robert and Carine are balancing their duties as farmers and new parents, caring for their own little one, Albie, while also starting their brassica seeds for the spring season.

 

Be sure to support our farmers at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and Jack London Square Farmers Market through the winter months, rain or shine! See what's in season.

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CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »