Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sweet Peas

The Sweet Pea Harvest is going gonzo. Imagine all 9,000 plants blooming prodigiously -- except for the ones in Row A which are partially shaded.

But you go out to Rows C and D, into the full sun, and we can't pick them fast enough. We picked 300 bouquets last weekend for Mother's Day -- and sold every one. Bonanza. But farmers aren't supposed to brag, so forget what I just said.

It's not like we got rich selling flowers, but at least we had some income. And if we sell enough flowers we can do it again next year.

The problem -- this is so typical of American agriculture -- is that we over-produced. We have sweet pea flowers coming out of our ears. We could carpet the highway from here to Ojai. We could throw them from airplanes and smother small towns with delightful colors and fragrance.

Mainly we just want to get to the farmers markets and sell. That hasn't been so easy. I'm not going into details here -- but taking flowers to the market involves "dealing with other people" and you know that is not always so easy. Never mind. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining.

Better to take a deep breath and start planning for next year. And here's my idea -- we don't plant so many, and those we do plant go in the ground progressively to stretch out the harvest season. If possible, we can build a plastic hoop house and grow early sweet peas inside of that.

The second thing we can do is work on getting into more of these farmers markets. Most of them have waiting lists -- business is good.

That's all I have to say about sweet peas, except I love them and you ought to come by Love House Dahlias to see them -- only call first, because we don't leave the gate open. Call 805-648-6808.

Overproduction. American farmers, in every region and with every crop, have produced so prodigiously that, time and time again, they have driven the price right down into the ground.

That's a problem. But it's the kind of problem you want to have. We have too much food in America. And that is so much better than having too little food.

Zapata Lives. This incredible video features my first performance in character. Only 16 seconds long.... I am "quoting" from the final scene of the movie Viva Zapata, the story of Emiliano Zapata and his great revolutionary army in Mexico 100 years ago.

They shot and killed Zapata in the end, but some of his poor followers did not believe he was dead. They said he still rides in the mountains on his white horse.

The clothes I am wearing are not a costume but sensible for outdoor work in the hot sun -- a broad straw hat, and loose-fitting cotton shirt and trousers. This keeps you cool and prevents sun-burn.

Frog Hospital and Farm News Annual Spring Subscription Drive. Send a Check for $25, made out to Fred Owens and mail it to Fred Owens, 7922 Santa Ana RD, Ventura CA, 93001.

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Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My blog: Frog Hospital

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Fred Owens
7922 Santa Ana Rd
Ventura CA 93001

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