Temporarily Closed Due To Dry Weather, Fires; Luca Art Show TONIGHT

In case you missed this news buried in our previous post, we just wanted to let our customers know that ARTfarm has been pushed by the dry conditions to start our ‘summer’ break exceptionally (three months) early for this season. Regular farmstand hours will resume in the fall.

In stark contrast to the usual photos we post of the farm, here is the current reality. In the background, the ARTfarm greenhouse still needs repair from damages incurred in Hurricane Maria.

Despite recent flooding events in Peters Rest and Gallows Bay, we are frustratingly dry at the farm. We have gotten an unusually low amount of rain so far this year.

On Saturday, April 6th 2019 three brushfires started simultaneously within a quarter-mile patch of S. Shore Rd., including directly on ARTfarm pastureland. More than half of our farm acreage burned, destroying a large number of utility pole fence posts and fence mesh and wire that will need to be replaced (much of it was newly built in the last year). It also destroyed the majority of the pasture forage that we needed to feed our sheep and poultry.

There have been a number of brush fires on the eastern end and north shore of St. Croix already this year. Things are incredibly dry. And there are some consistent hot dry winds exacerbating the lack of rain and scooping away moisture from the area.

Honeybees and other pollinators, as well as mongooses, dear and other wildlife, are under extreme pressure in drought conditions to find food and water sources. Farmer Luca has resorted to putting out dog dishes full of water for the mongoose population to keep them from chewing open his irrigation lines.

These extreme dry conditions mean that the same head of lettuce will grow much more slowly, only get half as large, and require much more water. If we are in for another drought like we had in 2015, we have to conserve some water for firefighting and to keep our fruit trees and animals alive.

These fields were producing hundreds of pounds of tomatoes just a month ago… with dry conditions, the plants have been pulled out to conserve water.

A quick flip through the archives of our website for the months of March and April in past years show that we are typically deluged with several inches of rain at this time of year.

The little patch of green in all this brown is a partially buried Hugel bed. We built this one in 2015. We hope to build more of these in-ground Hugel beds throughout the farm. They require less watering and retain moisture.

Given that we haven’t had time off since Hurricane Maria and we have a lot of infrastructure and rebuilding projects, and now the brush fire damage to recover from, we have decided to end our season early and turn our energies to these other pressing needs of the farm. We may host a volunteer party and have friends of the farm come out and help us with some of the rebuilding effort.

We are continuing to research, develop and build new permaculture practices for the farm that are climate change resilient, water-saving and soil-saving.

If we happen to have a flush of pineapples or dragonfruit to share, we will post that online and to our email list and host a pop-up farmstand over the summer. We plan to reopen in the fall as usual.

Tonight at Walsh Metal Works (now called ‘Studio Walsh’) in Peters Rest, Luca along with Mike Walsh and Clay Jones will be displaying artworks previously shown in St. Thomas at the Seven Minus Seven gallery. This is all new work from Luca, please come out and support his artistic efforts! 5pm till 8pm this evening (Friday, April 19th, 2019).

Be sure to press your government representatives on climate change. And consider the UN FAO findings from 2014 that conclude that small farms are the best path to food security globally.

Thank you for your support.


Saturday Farmstand and Tree Sale!

After months of inquiries, Luca is finally liquidating some of his potted fig tree collection. Four remaining young fig trees, as well as surinam cherry seedlings, native palms, and more will be available for sale.

This will be our final farmstand for the season. We will continue to supply restaurants with a few bulk items for a little while longer but conditions are unusually dry, reducing harvests, and we still have to begin the bulk of our hurricane recovery reconstruction, so we are going to shift gears a bit earlier than usual. If weather conditions change or we have a flush of fruit we may re-open for some pop-ups during the summer. Stay on our mailing list and you’ll know if those conditions occur! Thank you for your understanding and for your support this season, we greatly appreciate it.

Saturday farmstand (hot dry weather is giving us dwindling harvests of): sweet salad mix, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, some slicer tomatoes, garlic chives, Italian basil, lemon basil, Thai basil, baby ginger, turmeric, seasoning peppers, spicy peppers, pumpkin chunks, escarole, onions, French breakfast radishes, I-Sha’s vegan ice cream and Fiddlewood farms goat cheese. From our nursery, fig trees, sage plants, asparagus plants, Surinam cherry seedlings, native thatch palms, coconut palms, pineapple slips and other plants.

Slowing-Down Saturday 10am – 12 noon

ARTfarm Saturday farmstand: sweet salad mix, lots of baby arugula and baby spicy salad mix, cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, chunks of winter squash, young French breakfast radishes, onions, carrots, baby ginger, baby turmeric, cooking greens, escarole, chili peppers, seasoning peppers, Italian basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, papaya, fresh goat cheese, and I-Sha’s vegan ice cream.

Things are extremely dry on the South Shore as everywhere else on the island right now, it seems. So please give respect to the men and women of the VI Fire Service and be extra careful with any burning or flaming objects. We have preemptorally closed down all farm areas to firedancing until it starts raining on the regular. Sorry Kiki! 😉

We look forward to seeing everyone!

Closed Wednesday(s) For Now

Just a quick reminder that our farmstand will be closed tomorrow (Wednesday, March 20th 2019). It’s that time of year again, things are sooo dry, plants and people are slowing down and we are shuttering Wednesday afternoon farmstands for the rest of this season.

We will still be open Saturdays 10 AM to 12 noon with salad mix, tomatoes, herbs and other treats. Our apologies to anyone who has a hard time making it to us on Saturday mornings, try and find a friend to shop for you! (Perhaps the comments section under this post on our Facebook page might be a place for you to request or help out a shopping buddy.)

A quick shout out to the restaurant chefs who recently used our produce on their menus:

Thanks everyone! See you Saturday 10am!

The Wonder of Bok Choy

Saturday farmstand! 10 AM – 12 noon.

We will have beautiful baby bok choy — a delicate, very mild flavored Asian cabbage type green. It is so easy to cook with its tender leaves and crunchy stems. It is high in B and C vitamins. Chop the head into quarters and rinse it well to remove any soil particles. Then drizzle the quarters with oil and throw it on the grill — or chop and sauté it on high heat in a pan with your favorite spices and enjoy those crunchy stems, or steam it, or chop it up and throw it in a soup. It is mild enough in flavor to use the leaves as a substitution for spinach in some dishes. This Asian cooking green is a versatile veggie and we have plenty of it at the farm right now.

In addition to baby bok choy, we have lots of sweet salad mix, bunched arugula, cucumbers, loads and loads of cherry tomatoes including black plums, slicing tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, freshly harvested baby ginger and baby turmeric, Italian basil, cilantro, dill, lemon basil, holy basil, garlic chives, onions, scallions, baby carrots, sweet potatoes, beautiful escarole, sweet tamarind, all our seasoning and spicy peppers and papaya.

Also vegan ice cream. Hopefully goat cheese next weekend.

We have made an executive decision to stop our Wednesday farmstands for the season. Harvests and crowds are both getting smaller. Sorry for the short notice! The schedule is now Saturdays, 10am — 12 noon.

Calling All Goat Cheese Locavores

We have them! Fiddlewood Farm goat cheese is back today!! 3-4:30pm at ARTfarm!

ARTfarm Wednesday: fresh salad mix, fresh goat cheese, fresh faces

The possibilities are endless: Fiddlewood Farms fresh goat cheese in a wreath of fresh dill from ARTfarm.

For Wednesday 3-4:30pm, we will have everything you need to make the most delicious salad that you have ever eaten. Join us at 3 PM and feast your eyes upon: lots of beautiful sweet salad mix, cucumbers, sweet cherry tomatoes, heirloom and slicer tomatoes, seasoning and spicy type peppers, baby turmeric, Italian basil, Thai basil, garlic chives, dill, baby bok choy and escarole, goat cheese, sweet tamarind pods, and Feel I’s vegan ice cream.

Wednesday farmstands will soon be both a thing of the past AND something to look forward to for next season. In the next few weeks we will phase them out and look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday mornings only.

Here are your fresh faces:

Super farmer Jen V. and baby “Itza“

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