On September 23rd I set up a booth at Steuben Farm City Days at the Karr Dairy Farm in Hornell. It was a hot day and my dad came to keep me company. Our immediate neighbor to the east was the working cow barn. I am not a dairy person but after watching for the day this was the holding pen for them going to get milked. I assumed that the cows were confused about all of the people at “their” farm. This one kicked he heals up, sat back and watched us as much as we watched her.
Back to the onions. I had purchased onion stress balls that were a huge hit! Mostly with the adults as they felt more stress than the kiddos. Everyone was interested in the small black onion seeds in the jar. People don’t really know a lot about growing onions. Yes, you can start them from sets. Yes, if you leave them in the ground for the next year they will grow again but then will produce onion seeds. Yes, you can plant them from seed in this area. Yes, they do make you cry. Lots of questions from the young and old.
It seems like yesterday that we drove to this little town called Prattsburgh to look at a farm that was for sale. 20 years have now passed and we have watched that one farm grow into the whole valley. I have watched my son grow from a freshman in school to a man running the farm side by side with his dad and uncle. Now he has children of his own that maybe, someday will work side by side with him.
Now we wait for the crops to mature so the harvest can begin.
This will be our 18th planting season in Prattsburg and it’s time to starting the juggling act. We are still packing out last years onions. It might surprise a few people, but we work all winter packing onions. Greg is still driving to Orange county just about everyday to deliver the onions. SO the juggle is, when to start fitting the land and when to plant. This brings me to the one thing that farmers do.
If we plant them now and we get a frost in early May the whole crop could be lost or badly hurt. If you wait to plant then you take the chance of a late harvest and miss part of the best marketing. If we wait and we get heavy rains the planting is delayed and that effects the crop insurance, as they give us dates that we have to plant by or we are penalized.
With all of that said we will start turning the ground over soon and the planting will start and be fast and furious! After it is done. We will wait for them to grow and do a little more worrying.
In the mean time, enjoy the sunshine and let’s do some cultimulching!
Bagging used to be 3-4 people at the end of the line filling 50lb bags, tying them, and stacking them on pallets. This year we are going Hi-Tech! We are leasing a Htech AR25 packaging machine and a Verbruggen Palletizing Machine. Greg, Jeff and Mark are all becoming experts at Hi-tech! So much for talking… watch what this does! Mark was so excited to take the video!
So the harvest of the 275 acres of onions has started! God has given us a beautiful week and we take full advantage of all nice weather!
When the harvest starts Greg brings home onions! But Wait! I can’t use them. These are to see how the onions are. Are they going soft? Are they drying fast enough? Are the tops drying down? When you cut them is their any disease in them? It’s all for testing the quality.
Yesterday I was working on quality control and got permission to use the onions! WOW! They are awesome! Hard as rocks and big! So I made Creamed Onions. You either like them or not. Not judging anyone!
My recipe varies all the time but yesterday I did Crock Pot Creamed Onions.
The bad part is that I was in a rush to get these to a Pot Luck Dinner
and forgot to take a Photo! BUT they were yummy!
Vince is the newest onion inspector at the farm!
We don’t get a lot of visitors on the farm so yesterday was a treat to have Jessica Lahr visit the farm. She is originally from Prattsburgh and still loves the hometown. That is why we are so proud to help sponsor her on her journey to become Mrs. New York State.
Jessica is a wife, mom and Model/Actress. If you have never seen her work as a model click here to see her facebook page. Her journey to be a model a true inspiration! One of Jessica’s passions is to give back, and part of the sponsorship will go to Rochester Ronald McDonald House. As if that doesn’t keep her busy enough she is Co-Owner/Operator of Vino and the Beasts.
Some things in life never change and the love for the country and small town still shines over Jessica when she talks about Prattsburgh. She loved climbing on the harvester and getting her white pants a little dirty in the black soil that we call muck. She’d never seen so many onions before and her son loved the dirt too!
Best of Luck in the Mrs. New York Pageant on October 26th.