Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bringing in the new...

Hello all,
Well, the opening of the Memphis Farmers Market is just two weeks away and we can feel the pressure of the growing season mounting. It's a good feeling, not a bad one. Just so much to do these days. Our potatoes, leeks, onions, greens, lettuces, mushrooms, kale, snap peas, radishes, beets, carrots, turnips, and herbs are all doing fantastic. We've been getting just enough rain to keep everything moist but not drenched! Keith and I have been transplanting maniacs and have thousands of tomato transplants to set out within the next couple of weeks. Can't wait to get those guys in the ground, then we know the real growing season has commenced.

Flowers have been a top priority for me more this year than ever before. I've already got sunflowers, daffodils, tulips, safflower, phlox, gladiolas, lisanthus, delphinium, snapdragons, flowering kale, purple coneflower, bachelor buttons, rudbeckias, and host of other beauties up in the flower fields. Some of them are only a few inches tall, but I am much further ahead in the my planning and planting this year - whew! I so am excited to envision what we will have to offer all our of cut flower enthusiasts.

Just this past week our farm interns started work out here at Whitton Farms. We have four possibly 5 interns this year. Two of them are my brother and his wife, Mark & Amy Arnold. They both left their jobs in the coporate world to learn the trade of growing wholesome, clean food right here in the Delta. I know its gonna be a journey for us all, you know it is when family is involved, but I have extreme confidence in their abilities and dedication to the art of farming.
One of our interns, Charlie, is pretty incredible. He's been a commercial fisherman, turtle hunter, chicken caretaker, carpenter, etc... You name it he can do it and we feel blessed to have him here working with us, especially since we are entering into the field of chickens, and possibly ... crawfish! More about that later, like in a couple months.
Finally last but certainly not least, is our main farmhand, Caleb. Caleb has been with us for 3 years now, and is currently a college student. We got Caleb, at the age of 16, while he was still in high school and he has been an absolute joy to work with over the years. He truly recognizes the determination and importance of local food, and has worked extremely hard here at Whitton Farms to help our dreams of owning a sustainable farm come true. As a farmer, if you don't have a dedicated staff on a farm, your operation is in jeopardy. You're employees can make or break any business operation. We owe much of our success not only to our family, customers, and "Mother Earth", but also very much of it belongs to our former and present staff. So if you come to the farm for a visit, please show them the courtesy of thanking them for all of their hard work. This field is indeed, an extreme sport, if you're running it right!

Trees... about a month ago Keith, Caleb & myself planted just over 1000 hardwood trees on the farm. I can't remember if I told you guys this or not. Man, what a job, but we are firm believers in replenishing the area with the trees that were cleared in this region many, many years ago. Many of our neighbors in the community of Whitton have joined in the effort, a few long before we ever had the idea to do so. It's nice to live a small town where neighbors can recognize what's right for the Earth and take the initiative to do something about it. A few of the trees I planted are Vitex Trees. Most are only 1 ft tall, but they are fast growers, have beautiful blue blooms similar to butterfly bush, and are major butterfly attractors. In about 5 years, they will really make the statement out here on the farm that I'm looking for.

Oh we're in a couple magazines this month, Edible Memphis, and Jonesboro Occasions. Just found out that a local artist will be visiting the farm in the near future to begin painting a series of Whitton Farms, so that's pretty cool. Be on the look out for dates for our Spring Farm to Plate Dinner out here on the farm. Some of the proceeds from the event will go to one of our favorite non-profits, and rest to the farm. Hope you can join us for the farm-filled-fun. Okay, I'm a dork for saying that! Anyway hope you can make it at some point, to the farm this growing season.

Well, I know this message is all over the place, but I wanted to get back in touch with you guys and let you know what we've been up to. Got lots of baby flower transplants to work on the greenhouse right now, so I must depart. Hope all is well in your world and come see us at the Memphis Farmers Market April 18, 7:00 - 1 :00 pm. Peace Ya'll! Have a rockin' week!

Just keepin it real in Whitton, ya'll


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. CRAWFISH!!! YUM!!! This Louisiana girl would love that!!

    (My first post had a typo- oops!)

  3. Just found this blog, and also your site. Very interesting. The garden pics are nice to look at. Good luck with your gardens this year.