The Black Cat Farm booth at the Boulder Farmers’ Market will include the following produce on September 5, 2015:
- Asian greens mix (tatsoi, mizuna)
- Baby Asian greens mix (bok choi, pak choi, tatsoi)
- Basil, Genovese, globe
- Kale, red and white
- Lettuce, Tom Thumb
- Mizuna, ruby streaks
- Onions, white and Spanish
- Squash, summer (including Tromboncino)
- Swiss chard
Mulefoot pork cuts, sheep pelts, and pig leather will also be available.
The irrigation budget
If you farm in Boulder county, you need to have access to irrigation water from companies that relay water through ditches from the high mountain watersheds and major Colorado rivers to reservoirs and, then, to farmers. In the spring, the irrigation companies inform the farmers of their water allocations for the rest of the season. The allocation amounts vary depending on the amount of total water available due to that winter’s snowfall and other precipitation as well as the status of the farm’s water rights and number of ditch shares.
The Black Cat Farm grows nearly all of its produce on its Oxford road property. That property receives its irrigation water from the Left Hand Ditch Company, which was established in 1873.
The amount of irrigation water that Eric will receive for the year determines how many times he can water and when. Another factor is that irrigation water will not be available past October 31. When the Left Hand Ditch Company informs Eric of his water allotment for the year, he creates an irrigation budget that outlines the irrigation schedule. While weather conditions, such as high temperatures, prolonged rain, or the shifting demands of crops, may adjust his plans, he tries to stick to the budget and its schedule as much as possible.
In late August, he calculated that he had between 18 and 22 remaining days of irrigation water left in the growing season before October 31.
While the budgets for other aspects of the farm can increase, the amount of irrigation water will not. The only variable is when and in which fields to use the irrigation days during the growing season.
In the dry West, gun battles and prolonged lawsuits have been waged over water rights. For farmers like Eric, the preciousness of water is manifest in how verdant his fields are even in the face of no or little precipitation.