Author Archives: Murphy Family Farm

Winter

This year we planted a number of different crops in late summer as part of a relatively extensive overwintering trial. The goal is to identify and grow out for seed those plants that survive the winter completely unprotected. We have been doing this on a smaller scale for the last several years, and have had some success overwintering crops and growing them out for seed to produce hardier offspring.

The central component of this overwintering trial is our very own variation of Red Russian Kale. For the past 5 years we have been seeding a crop of Red Russian in late summer for leaf harvest in late fall. We then leave the plants in the ground unprotected and save seed from those that survive the winter. Each year the survivors produce hardier and hardier offspring, and a greater percentage are able to withstand Central Maine winters without row cover or even snow for protection. This year there is well over 5,000 row feet planted, and we should be able to begin really selecting some fine specimens of truly our own variety of Kale.

We are also growing out a large number of Evergreen Hardy Scallions from seed grown on the farm. We selected the first batch of seed stock for superior performance after being direct seeded and overwintered, and with over 1,500 row feet planted this year we should be able to continue selecting for the superior traits we are looking for. This is a simple crop to overwinter, as it is incredibly hardy, but it is still exciting to select the sleekest, greenest plants with the best divisions and a reluctance to bolt to save for seed, while also being able to sell the remaining scallions to eager early season buyers.

Time Flies When You Are Running a Farm…

Wow, has time passed us by as we have been busily working away on the farm and missed over two years of progress updates. Well, let us get you up to speed, here goes for a really quick recap of what our last few seasons have brought us…

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In 2016 we continued to grow our goat herd and gave guinea hogs a try as well. We bred the goats for 2017, enjoyed a very successful and adorable kidding season and ended the year with the end of our goat husbandry days. The goats were a wonderful addition to our farm while we had them but did not fit into a sustainable system on our farm.

Speaking of wonderful critters on the farm, in 2016 we also added our best farm companion yet, Charcoal. Charcoal works on the farm as primary herder, guardian, chicken catcher and napper!

In 2016 Anna’s parents also moved up to Maine and purchased the old Schartner Farm in Thorndike, now known as Mueller’s Fruit Farm. We market together at our various Mount Desert Island farmers markets to sell our vegetables with their fruit. They also have a farm store in Thorndike, right off of Route 220, open throughout the season.

So, what about the vegetables, the perennials and the rest of the farm?!

The vegetables are as delicious, fresh and unsprayed as ever! We have expanded into 3 acres of production and continue to grow new potatoes, baby carrots, greens, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, alliums and kohl crops. As we have continued to grow these crops we are finding our favorite varieties and limiting ourselves to those as we begin to embark on our new value-added endeavor of seed saving, both for the farm and to sell.

We have continued to plant perennials as we plan for the future including a couple of high-bush blueberry patches, a heritage apple orchard and more to come. We added another adjoining 5 acres to the farm in 2016 of shrubby wooded land, which the pigs worked to clean up a bit. We plan to plant a peach grove on its northern slope and are in the process of planting a cherry orchard as well. The future sounds sweet, fruity and succulent.

Where are we now? We are in another long cold spring, itching to get out into the fields and get going. March certainly did come in like a lion but did not leave like a lamb…as we wait we prep what we can and get our hands dirty wherever possible. We have exciting plans for this season including new product lines, more family hands on the farm and less baaahh-ing distractions!

 

And What a Summer It Has Been…

Wow, it may just be us but doesn’t it seem like this summer has just flown by? It is hard to believe that it is already September. Our CSA and markets are coming closer to wrapping up but our fields are still producing bountiful amounts of baby carrots, potatoes, greens, and more!

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As fall approaches our corn is growing quickly and our sunflowers are coming to the end of their reign. We have had a great season thus far and plan to end it accordingly and are already planning for next year.

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This year a focus of our farm has been saving our own seeds. This fall all the kale and mustard will be grown from our own saved seeds, this is a very exciting venture for us and allows us to become self-sufficient and not dependent on seed companies who may have a crop failure certain years or may choose to stop offering certain varieties we depend on.

Throughout the summer we have been feeding our chickens and goats with our leftover produce, it gives them quite a feast that they all enjoy together. Our goats have grown quite a bit since the beginning of the season and are just as playful and silly as ever.

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Life on the farm has been busy but good. We look forward to a pleasant fall, a restful winter, and another great season shortly after, but until then there are still a few months left of hard labor, perfect working weather, and delicious farm fresh foods.

The goat kids have arrived!

After much waiting we have finally driven up to Mandala Farm in Gouldsboro and picked up a young flock of cashmere goat kids, and let us tell you they are a joy to have! We are currently pasturing them together with our small flock of laying hens and these very curious and adventurous goats quickly took over the chicken coop where the goats and hens now sleep together.

photo 4 photo 1 photo 14 photo 15Although it is tough to concentrate on anything else with such cute new additions to the farm we are busy at work tending to the vegetable fields. Yesterday, we had a much needed full day of rain that accomplished more for our fields than we could have ourselves. A nice rainy day is always an enjoyable one for farmers, to sit back, relax, and watch nature do the heavy lifting.

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First CSA Share of the Season!

Hello and welcome to our CSA members!

We really hope you enjoyed your first share of the season. It was packed full of greens, with a few veggies with some color packed in as well. We enjoy nothing more than boxing up some great looking veggies just picked fresh that morning and sending them your way!

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Hello Freedom, We Are Murphy Family Farm

Now that we have put up our new sign in Freedom, and now that you know who we are we just wanted to introduce ourselves. We are Murphy Family Farm and we grow diversified vegetables and will be having a market this summer right down the street at Freedom General on Sundays. Come on by and say hello if you see us out in the fields or at the market and let us know what you would like to see.

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A Busy Time of Year

The farm has been busy with tilling, seeding, transplanting, going to markets, and prepping for our CSA with Siberia Farms which begins on June 4th. Beyond the usual farm tasks Sean and his dad have been working on putting up the Murphy Family Farm sign his dad made, so this past week they built a sign stand, hopefully the sign will be going up soon!

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