Tuesday, August 12, 2008

from the farm

In the Share: Week 14
TOMATOES (F/P) almost entirely heirlooms. Not too many more left in the field.
CHERRY TOMATOES (F/P) We think we’ll have enough for all or perhaps as a choice with the romas.
CARROTS (F/P) the colorful ones - best cooked, see Tom's blog.
SWEET PEPPER (F) the first of the ripe ones.
BEANS: (P) Jade, Roma and the Rattlesnake pole beans have started (purple-streaks fade when you cook them).
SALSA PACKS (?) We don’t quite have enough for everyone. They may be as a choice with the romas or cherry toms. Or they might just go in the swap boxes.
GARLIC (F) Partials will get a choice with the salsa or herbs.
SUMMER SQUASH & CUCUMBER (P) one of each minus a few squash. a second cucumber can be had instead.
POTATOES: (F/P) from the wreckage that is the ‘08 potato crop, we offer a rare treat – Bintge, yellow-fleshed and oh so creamy.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Mint, chives or basil or a dried herb.

Also this week: Bread of Life bread shares

Next Week: End of the tomatoes, summer squash and cucumber season most likely. More onions and carrots. Meat and egg share delivery.

Farm report
As you can see from my scribbles above, the harvest is getting a wee bit tight. This is the point in the year where we enter a lull between seasons. The summer crops are slowing and the fall crops are a good three weeks from the first harvest. Every year so far we’ve been able to coast through this period on the late summer crops, including eggplant, okra and peppers and on our trifecta of storage crops, potatoes, onions and garlic until the first radishes, arugula, lettuce and kale start producing. However, this year is turning out to be quite a kicker with the cool, rainy weather continuing to rot our crops. The shares will be lighter for the next few weeks, but we’re hopeful that with some good weather (and a little luck) we can make it up to you in the fall.

The last two days were spent harvesting what’s left of the potato crop. Usually the farm crew is joined by the membership for the harvest, a perfect task for the whole family. You can thank us later for saving you from the experience (and aroma!) of a field of rotten potatoes. The only thing more shocking than picking up a nice-looking potato only to have your finger slide right thru it’s gooey center, is the fact that we got several crates of thoroughly solid, beautiful and tasty potatoes out of such a mess. Here are our seed potatoes laid out for sprouting back on April 5th . . . ah, such promise. Also of interest is the photo from the April 27th blog showing them underwater.

Here’s the tally so far: we lost at least 25% of the onions and 80% of the potatoes. The cukes, squash, peppers and tomatillos are at half-production. The melons so far are a zero. Half of the last bed of carrots rotted and the okra and eggplant are engulfed by crabgrass after repeatedly weeding them. We plan a 30% cushion into our plantings, expecting a certain amount of loss from pest, disease, weather, etc. But when we’ve got losses of 50-75% in some our most important crops, it becomes more difficult to stretch it amongst 100 shares. We do have a few bright notes. Most of the pole beans seemed to have survived the deluge, as did a fall planting of carrots and beets. There will be winter squash – it is next on the list to harvest. We are nervously eyeing the last planting of melons – best bet are the nearly-ripe Sugar Babies. There’s 500 feet of sweet potatoes growing well so far and most of the fall crops are already in the ground and growing.

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