Thank You! ~ City of Buckeye Farmers Market 3/28/15 ~ Help Wanted

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It’s almost time to pull honey.  Over Easter weekend the first pull will be done.  Isn’t this hard-working girl beautiful?  She is one of a million bees on Tonopah Rob’s farm.  She’s staring right at us.

I wish all of you could have been to my very first farm fund-raiser dinner.  The preparation began on Thursday. Karl decorated the whole farm stand in a multitude of lights. Clayton Kammerer, my market manager from Tucson drove over to the farm on Thursday and helped organize the tables, did the shopping for the event, harvested veggies and gave moral support.  What market manager does these things?

Friday and Saturday, up to the last second the aquaponic greenhouse system was installed and you all should come out for a tour and check out this impressive growing system, it is amazing. Saturday was the most impressive and most eventful day.  All of my workers and volunteers were really busy harvesting the veggies for both the dinner and for the Sunday St. Phillips Plaza Farmers Market in Tucson, it’s the Sunday market Clayton manages.

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Here’s another bee pollinating a watermelon radish flower.

Around 8:30 a.m. chef Christopher Wolf arrives and we begin organizing the tents, tables and cooking equipment, basically Chef Chris brought the Arizona Culinary Institute kitchen to the farm.  Him and his staff of volunteers and owner of the ACI Mr. Rob Wilson magically prepared a huge dinner for about 75 people.  The flavors from the farm was out of this world.  Who knew my french turnips could be so delicious?  I always thought they were sweet but they were ridiculously awesome.  It was really neat to see the chefs cast their spells on the knives, forks and spoons.  They chopped, sliced and diced the veggies into a magnificent dining experience.

Also on Saturday as I was harvesting, a huge swarm of bees bee-balled on a branch of an Ironwood tree next to one of my large plots named the Back 40.  Within minutes a 12/13 pound mass of bees were hanging down nearly the length of a five gallon bucket.  I was able to capture that swarm with the help of Ted, he’s one of the seasonal employees. He wintered in Tonopah.  His daughter and her family live just down the road from my farm. He is a market gardener from Kansas. He’s going to really be missed. The man works like a Clydesdale horse.  He helped me gather the bees and put them into a hive box.

empty honey frames from Tonopah Rob's Italian Bee Hives

Pictured here are a few of my bee frames; after I spin honey, I set them in the sun for the bees to clean up.

Around 2 p.m. Ted told me another swarm of bees flew into the farm and landed on a nearby branch about twelve feet away from the first swarm. Within minutes the mass of bees flew from that branch to another Ironwood tree about fifteen feet away.  This swarm was massive.  Once I climbed up the 10 foot ladder, looking through my bee veil, I saw that swarm was longer than a five gallon bucket and half again wider than the bucket.  When I shook the branch a large portion of the bee ball fell against my chest and nearly knocked me off the ladder.  I estimated the swarm to be about 20/25 pounds.  It took me four attempts to capture the swarm and I did.  By this time it was 3 p.m. and the dinner was to begin at 3:45 p.m.  I was really cutting it close.

With a few moments to spare, I made it to my dinner.  The parking lot was filling up and all of my wonderful dinner guests were arriving.  Laughing, smiles and hugs were being passed around the farm stand.

Once everyone was greeted and seated, I introduced both Kirk Sorenson and Chef Wolf. Chris he gave a funny rendition of how we both met and he described the menu for the evening.  My awesome friend Kirk Sorenson constructed the electrical and installed all of the fans, motors and lighting for the aquaponic system.  His beautiful daughter Catie assisted him throughout the whole process too. Kirk talked about the new aquaponic system.

There were so many people responsible for the event like Deena Chester who is one of my CSA members.  She helped with the seating arrangements and bought flowers for the event. Jnani, Dominique, Jakob, Arti, Jodi (I hope I didn’t forget anyone) all pitched in and helped out in gigantic proportions too.

I want to thank everyone for your support. All the dinner guests, Chef Wilson, Chef Chris, musician Michael Spillman and everyone else who helped make the dinner a huge success, it was a blast.  Thank you and I look forward to seeing you next year.

Market Information:  The farm stand in Tonopah will be closed this weekend for the City of Buckeye Farmers Market. All CSA members and customers must go to the Sundance Park in Buckeye for the market.  

The Fat Cat Farmers Market will be up and running this weekend too. 75th Avenue and Loop 101.  Also, Tonopah Rob will not participate at St. Phillips Plaza Farmers Market on Sunday.  For all market information go to the Directions to the Market tab and click onto it for details. 

Tonopah Rob’s Vegetable Farm is seeking hard-working people, volunteers and others; non tobacco, able to lift 50 lbs., AZ driver’s license a must.  Rob desperately needs volunteers or paid for work through veggies and cash.  There are many crops that need to be harvested, weeds to pull and so many new transplants need to get into the dirt.  If you know you can help or have a hard-working teenager that needs a summer job, please contact Rob.

Veggie List:

  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Fresh Eggs
  • Citrus
  • Turnips
  • Broccoli
  • Red and Green Cabbage
  • Irish Cabbage
  • Taco Onions
  • Onions
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Herbs
  • of course a surprise or two
  • maybe potatoes
  • one ten foot ladder missing nine steps