- Van Wert
Diary of Mike Garver - Garver Family Farm Market, Week 1 - August 1-7, 2011
This has certainly been a summer that can push a person to their threshold. The hot dry summer is not only taking a toll on the crops, but also the people who work out in it. Monday was an ordinary day. I am extremely tired because I was out late last night. My family and I received four free tickets to the Tim McGraw-Luke Bryan concert at Riverbend. We even got backstage passes to meet Luke Bryan. He seems to be a down to earth person. Very nice and genuine. I think he comes from a farm family in Georgia.
My day kicks off everyday at 5:15 except on Sunday. We pick our produce everyday. Everyone meets at the farm at 6 am sharp. There is a list of orders to fill each day on the board. Mondays are fairly easy days as far as wholesale, but we always have some order to fill.
All harvesting is usually finished everyday by 11 am. Now it is time like clockwork to clean the processing area for the next day. I get real upset when things get messy. Customers have commented on how nice and clean our farm is presented. Not only is a clean farm sanitary, but it is also productive.
Ended the day by taking our two kids to VBS at Monroe First Church of God. What's on the menu for dinner? Well this time of year we eat whatever... whenever we can.
I did not mention our chickens. The first thing I do every morning is let our chickens out of the coop. My some Andy has exotic chickens and these are his project and responsibility. I let them out because Andy is only nine years old and I do not expect him to get up that early to let his birds out. I keep a close eye on his project to make sure he is doing things correctly.
I had to buy half runner beans this morning. We grow beans, but we do not have a continuous supply. I received an interesting call from Fox 19 news late morning. They wanted to interview me concerning the weather for the 6 and 11 o'clock news. Weatherman was predicting rain for later in the day.
After the interview, I sprayed 50 acres of soybean with roundup to control weeds. Spraying used to be a dreaded job but now with newer and bigger equipment it is no longer a chore.
Caught the last half hour of VBS with the kids. What a great way to end the day.
This morning was a larger harvest than usual. My wife said happy anniversary to me this morning. We have been married for twenty years. I feel bad. So busy doing everyday things that I sometimes forget the important things in life. Every year we participate in the WIC program in Butler County. This program provides fresh fruits and vegetable to women, infants and children. Today we are setting up in Hamilton and tomorrow in Middletown. I thought the day was going to be a wash because of the rain we encountered in Hamilton. The storm came and went without problems. I called the main farm and sure enough...... no rain......bummer. we need rain in a bad way. If only we could get some of the excess rain we had this spring. We would be in great shape.
Ended up making several trips back to get more sweet corn and cantaloupe for WIC. In between trips I met with a John Deere salesman and my Father ( Robert Garver) to close the deal on a new tractor. Very successful day in Hamilton and time for VBS again.
Just a repeat of Wednesday only different day and location. Our main farm market is really growing. I have a great team to run the market and great repeat customers. I am blessed. I rely on key people to get things done. I cannot possibly do everything myself. My wife and kids are my inspiration to keep going. Thank You. Don and Linda Robert oversee the market and greenhouse. They have been on board for a long time. Thank You.
Very hot today but nothing like last week. I have been keeping an eye on our pumpkin crop. They are pollinating and the extreme heat and lack of moisture could be disastrous. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I usually inspect all crops in the afternoon for pest because I am usually out in the field changing irrigation valves at this time. We use drip irrigations on all row crops except sweet corn and pumpkins. Time for VBS.
More wholesale orders will start coming in today for the upcoming weekend. predicting how much to sell is a tough job. I don't want to oversell and short our market nor do I want to have surplus. I have a handy dandy device that I use to help predict when and what corn will be harvested. Farm Logic is a personal handheld Ag device that is used to store agricultural data. This has been so helpful. I used to rely on handwritten notes in the past. Now I have 1255 acres at my fingertips. A typical weekend will involve processing 2000 dozen ears of corn. I machine pick our sweet corn most of the time. The Pixall corn puller is nice when at least 75 percent of the corn is ready to be harvested, otherwise we hand pick so the corn that is not ready can wait a few more days before being pulled. The machine can pull a lot of corn in a short amount of time.
Thursday mid morning we are getting our mobile market trailer ready. We offer produce for sale Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Cone Ice Cream business in West Chester.
Just as I was pulling out with the trailer, the new tractor was coming in the driveway. Getting a new tractor is something special for the farm because it is something that does not happen often. We replaced a 1993 tractor.
Finished off the afternoon by spraying alfalfa with foliar fertilizer and bringing home the mobile unit back to the farm.
Time for VBS and then get something for dinner with the family.
Saturday was a very busy day. Spent half the time on the cell phone trying to track down green beans. I have a contact in Tennessee who grows 4500 acres of beans.
Our tomatoes are really coming along nicely. We harvested over 1000 pounds of large red tomatoes. They will be cleaned and packaged on Monday. Both markets are busy today. Cucumbers and summer squash are also doing very nice as they are irrigated. Told the kids I would take them to Kings Island tonight when we were done closing everything down. Rolled thru the gate at KI at 8pm only to ride the racer. Had to leave because of crowd and weather. There was no air moving and it was very humid. My kids really sacrifice a lot due to my occupation. I hope someday I can make it up to them.
Sunday is a great day. Not only is it the Lords day but also a day that the alarm doesn't ring at 5:15. That's nice. 7:30 is much better. All resources are centered around our retail markets. Spent the day at our main market meeting, talking and taking care of friendly customers. I am touched when customers thank me for being a farmer. That means a lot to me. I am proud to do what I do. Closed both markets at 5 and took the family to Fridays for a very nice dinner. By the way, it 12:50 am Monday morning. I'd better get to bed.