Timing is everything in this job

Most people probably realize that seasonal variations can make a big difference in the yield for a farm.  For example, if there is a season-long drought, there will be smaller fruit and potentially lower quality.  But the fact is that even the difference of a few hours or days can make a big difference to the bottom line.

In an earlier post, I mentioned the impacts of weather and timing on both thinning and frost damage.  It is only now that we’re really able to see the impacts of those weather events on the apple yield for the season.  As it turns out, the weather didn’t do us many favors this spring as the apple crop seems to be pretty light, especially for Red Delicious which constitutes a high percentage of our plantings.  It looks like the cold weather that occured right before thinning combined with the hot weather just after thinning to really knock back the final “set” of apples on the tree.  A couple days variance in either direction for either of those weather events probably would have made a difference.

Timing also impacts us on a longer horizon.  This past weekend was Father’s Day, and that is always our signal to plant the pumpkins.  Big jack-o-lantern pumpkins have a 110 day horizon to maturity, so if you want nice pumpkins on October 1, you better get them in the ground by mid June (and have them ordered the weeks before that).  So we’ve been working really hard to get them in now.  But the timing doesn’t end there…  because once the pumpkins are planted the weeds over them need to be killed before the pumpkin sprouts, because after the pumpkin is above ground, there are no chemical methods that will kill the weeds without killing the pumpkins.  But the timing doesn’t end there…  because once the pumpkins are safely “up”, it is a good idea to apply a pre-merge control so that no new weeds come up.  All with the goal of raising beautiful pumpkins instead of beautiful weeds.

We also see the impact of timing in markets.  We work very hard raising as much as we can ourselves, but the fact is that we don’t have the time or equipment to raise all the vegetables we sell in our market by ourselves, so we buy it locally.  It is interesting to see at our local auction how variable the bids can be for similar items across different days.  The variance can be huge, and for no seemingly good reason except who happens to show up and what they need (or have) that day.

Which all goes to show that it isn’t enough to just do the right thing in this business…  you have to do the right thing at exactly the right time.

One thought on “Timing is everything in this job

  1. Anggle

    I made this Chocolate Pumpkin Marble cake to bring to a baking party at work last fall and it was so good I ended up knieepg it for myself! My husband and I ate it all!Ingredients * 1 1/2 cups (3/4 lb.) butter, at room temperature * 3 cups sugar * 6 large eggs * 2 teaspoons vanilla * 1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin * 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour * 2 teaspoons baking powder * 1 teaspoon salt * 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon * 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg * 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves * 3/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa * 2/3 cup buttermilk * Chocolate glaze (recipe follows) * 1/2 cup chopped roasted, unsalted peanuts (optional)Preparation1. In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Scrape half the mixture into another bowl.2. To make pumpkin batter: Beat pumpkin into half the butter mixture until well blended. In another bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed or fold in with a flexible spatula just until blended.3. To make chocolate batter: In another bowl, mix remaining 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the cocoa. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the other half of the butter mixture (starting and ending with flour mixture), beating after each addition just until blended.4. Spoon half the pumpkin batter into a buttered and floured 12-cup bundt-cake pan. Drop half the chocolate batter by spoonfuls over (but not entirely covering) the pumpkin batter. Repeat to spoon remaining pumpkin and chocolate batters into pan. Gently run the blade of a butter knife around the center of the pan several times, then draw the knife across the width of the pan in 10 to 12 places to swirl batters.5. Bake in a 350b0 regular or 325b0 convection oven until a wood skewer inserted into center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cake cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto a rack, lift off pan, and cool cake completely.6. Pour warm chocolate glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle glaze with peanuts if desired. Let stand until glaze is set, about 2 hours, or chill about 30 minutes.Chocolate Glaze: In a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler, combine 4 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate, 1/2 cup whipping cream, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1 teaspoon corn syrup. Bring an inch or two of water to a boil in a pan that the bowl can nest in or in bottom of double boiler, then remove from heat. Place chocolate mixture over water and let stand, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth, about 10 minutes.


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