Diggin’ Deeper: Updates from Bi-Rite Farms

Now that the 2011 farm season is in full swing, we’ll be keeping you in the loop on what we’re doing on our farms each week in our new blog series, “Diggin’ Deeper”. We chose this name for the series because the main reason Bi-Rite has our own farms is to dig deeper into what really goes into bringing fruits and vegetables to our shelves, deli and events. Operating a farm, even at our small scale, not only teaches us where our food comes from but also  helps us understand the hard work that farmers and ranchers do to feed us.

We’ve been making moves at our Sonoma farms over the past month, with hopes of having our best harvest season yet.  The land is being tilled and planted, and summer months should bring an abundance of the freshest produce possible!  As these crops set their roots and the weather warms up we’ll have a better sense of the specific harvest dates.

We just planted out a ¼ acre of specialty potatoes, including Red LaSota, Purple Viking, Yellow Carola, French and Rose Finn Fingerlings; they’ll be ready for the deli to start serving up come August.
Our 2,000 lettuce heads are looking good, with some nice Lil Gems in the mix.  There are a couple plantings of French Breakfast Radishes and 3 plantings of Arugula that will be ready in a few weeks.  The Baby Chard plants are in the ground, fighting off the bugs. The first of 3 rounds of summer squash are in the ground, and will be used in the deli all summer long.

Farmer Chopko and Farmer Kim survey the work at hand

There are 1,100 tomatoes (8 varieties), 500 eggplants (6 varieties) and 300 peppers (6 varieties) ready to be transplanted into the ground on May 14th on the first day of 18 reasons Farm Camp.  500 of the tomatoes are for the Bi-Rite Roasted Tomato Sauce! There is a 2nd round of 500 tomatoes that just germinated and will be planted in late May. Get ready for Serg’s Famous Gazpacho in the deli!

The Rainbow Carrot planting will happen in the next couple weeks; you’ll see them prepared in the deli and at a lot of 18 Reason events. We’re growing 4 varieties of beans this year: the classic green Romano bean, fresh shelling bean, French bean, and a long Chinese bean. There will also be plenty of Armenian and Lemon cukes coming out the gardens. Fresh Basil should be in abundance come the middle of the summer.

4 Responses to “Diggin’ Deeper: Updates from Bi-Rite Farms”

  1. RIchard says:

    Awesome! This is such a great way to teach staff and others about the food system, the soil, the veggies and the seasons. Love what you guys are doing. Keep on weeding!

  2. Marianne says:

    We’re following you in more ways than digital. We’re planting our veggies a couple weeks after you, since our neighborhood is cooler than Sonoma. And since we have just a little backyard plot, we’ll have somewhat less than 2000 lettuces.
    Keep up the good work. You’re an inspiration to us all.

  3. cathy says:

    i live in sonoma, and drive by frequently on my way home. it is fun to watch your garden come to life! and exciting to know that we can get all that wonderful produce on your shelves soon! if you ever need some volunteer helpers let me know!

  4. Lance says:

    Keep up the awesome work guys, think I’m going to do a similar planting here in Noe Valley (only on a much smaller scale) and see how it goes. 🙂