Moist soil clings to the tread of a tractor that stops for a moment, between rows of green zucchini squash at Kirby Farms, in Mechanicsville, VA, on Friday, Sept 20, 2013. Plastic sheeting, far left, is a form of mulch that conserves soil moisture, reduces energy use associated with irrigation, moderates soil temperature, provides erosion control, suppresses weed growth, facilitates the establishment of vegetative cover, improves soil quality, and reduces airborne particulates. For more information, please see www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/national/tec...
Kirby Farms is a third-generation family farm that covers 500 acres, and generates produce and grains on a year-around operation. The various stages of leaf, flower, and fruit can be seen on this one plant with an immature squash nearly ready for harvesting. Markets prefer the squash to be approximately eight inches in length when they are tender. Full-grown squash reach three feet in length and are more fibrous. Some recipes call for zucchini blossoms to be stuffed, fried, or baked, added to a soup, or used as a garnish over a meal. Kirby Farms devotes 200 acres of the farm to eggplant, spinach, beets, tomato, jalapeno peppers, melons and a variety of greens. Soybeans and small grain are grown on the remaining 300 acres. The fertile Virginia soil and their management practices, allows Kirby Farms to double and triple crop fields with rotational crop selection. Wholesalers, who buy from this farm, sell the produce to major supermarkets in the Mid-Atlantic region, from North Carolina to Maryland. Restaurateurs in the local area prepare and serve their harvest to patrons in the Greater Richmond Region. For more information about this farm operation, please see the photoset description at flic.kr/s/aHsjLgeD4J. For information about the USDA, please go to www.usda.gov. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.
April 29, 2014