The leap from spring to summer in East Tennessee is always sudden, and this year has been no exception. April and May showers quickly turned into June thunderstorms and heat. Oh boy, the heat. Things have really been heating up at the farm, both in the field and in the planning of the future of Open Spigot Farm. We’re excited to share some of the busy happenings and what to look forward to this summer season!
The farmstead started off with a few offerings in late April and early May with cabbage, lettuces, radishes, broccoli and onions abound, which we have begun sharing with some local farm-to-table restaurants. One of them, The Walnut Kitchen in Maryville, TN, is owned by former Blackberry Farm butcher David Rule, who is a local wealth of farm knowledge. We had spent the last year visiting his restaurant for some of the best meals imaginable in the area. He came out to visit Open Spigot Farm and really understood our vision for our produce and organic farming practices.
We started to do random flower deliveries, which has now blossomed (quite literally) into twice a week flower and produce drop-offs. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing our veggies and blooms in such a great environment being enjoyed by our friends and neighbors in such an elevated way. We were honored when KnoxFoodie, a restaurant critic from Knoxville, left a raving review about a dish they were served featuring Open Spigot Farm veggies. We can’t wait to see where this relationship takes us!
Hoedowns and Downpours
After a drought in early June that had us worried, Mother Nature rewarded us with rain! For days on end the sun would shine all morning and soak the ground with afternoon showers. We were watching the thermometer rise and knew that our peak season was just around the corner. Days were hitting the 80’s but still cool enough in the morning and evening to do some work. Our wildflowers were starting to wilt but the strong stalks of our sunflowers were shooting up almost overnight.
One of the highlights of June was our 2nd Annual “TVH Hoedown Throw Down” featuring live music, one of our beer trucks (more on that later) delicious BBQ fresh off the smoker, and a whip cracking contest! The night ended with a playful rendition of “Time of My Life” choreography and all by owners Scott and Meredith!
An old farming saying is that you want your corn “knee high on the 4th of July.” Well, how about waist high? All the rain really kicked the farm into overdrive and it became all we could do to keep up with weeding, cutting sunflowers and zinnias, harvesting tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, beets, peppers, and carrots. Farmer Brad Bowers has been getting lots of help from farmhands Marley and Lexi (and even Rachel when she puts her camera down) and owners Scott and Meredith have been breaking a sweat trying to get everything done before the heat of the day sets in.
But as hard as we’re working we need to tip our hats to the hardest workers of all…our bees! Our neighbors have a few honeybee hives and we have seen so many varieties of bees pollinating the farm. Sunflowers seem to be their favorite at the moment. Without them, our farm wouldn’t be here at all!
Sweet Summer Heat
By now, heading into late July and August work is from sunup, or before, to about 11 AM. The stars on the stand at the moment are tomatoes and okra. Veggies and flowers need to be picked in the cooler hours or they wilt and lose their firmness, so by the time afternoon rolls around the stand has been cleaned out! With the “real feel” temps over 100 degrees, it’s just too dang hot! Which has left our afternoons open for doing what Southerner’s do best: front porch sittin’ and sweet tea… erm… sparkling water drinkin’. We leave the sweet tea to farmer Brad!
This time of year always has us looking forward to cooler weather down the road, and we have some fun things planned. A cut flower seminar and workshop in Raleigh is coming up in September that we plan on attending, as well as a local “Maker’s Market” featuring area artists, farmers and craftsmen. Hope everyone is having a fabulous summer! Keep up with our adventures on Facebook and Instagram and come swing by the farmstead to load up on your favorites before they’re gone!