Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In the Share: Week 10

TOMATOES (F/P) Read below for some helpful hints for enjoying your tomatoes
CABBAGE OR SALSA PACK (P) America’s favorite condiment is now in season. Check out Tom’s blog for more info.
BEETS OR EGGPLANT (F/P) We are going to have a good crop of eggplant this year, so get ready!
‘Walla Walla’ ONIONS (F/P) More of those sweeties.
POTATOES (F/P) We’re a bit in between new potatoes and fully dried-back storage potato season so eat these soon or refrigerate.
SWISS CHARD OR KALE (F) Thanks to our no-till experiments the greens keep coming.
CUCUMBERS (F) Our first planting is winding down, but we have more plantings coming.
GREEN BEANS (F) May have some yellow wax beans mixed in this week. They are just starting. The green variety is our favorite bush bean, ‘Jade’.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Italian basil, summer savory, mint, chives or a dried herb.

Also this week: Parker Farms delivery

Next week: More tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, salsa packs and beans. More garlic and carrots. A few bell peppers perhaps.

Tomato 101: Tomatoes are nearly everyone’s favorite summer vegetable, but we find that many have a hard time figuring out when they’re ripe. Granted we don’t make it easy on you as we grow tomatoes in every color of the rainbow. Waiting for your Fair Share Farm tomato to turn red is not always a sure solution. We do grow a good amount of the standard red and gold hybrid types, but we also grow many heirlooms, old-timey varieties with names like ‘Aunt Ruby’s German Green’, ‘Cherokee Purple’ and ‘Brandywine.’ The flavors of the heirlooms are as diverse as their coloring from sweet and mild to rich and meaty. All that said, the best way to determine if a tomato is ripe is to feel it. Pick it up in your hand. The fruit should give slightly when you just barely squeeze it. If it feels more like an apple than a peach, let it sit a day or so on your kitchen counter. Then, when it does ripen, enjoy the lusciousness that only a local, organically-grown tomato can offer.

Weather: As we led the Growing Growers CSA workshop attendees through the fields yesterday evening, I remarked that our soil had finally dried out to the point where we could finally finish the garlic harvest and plant some fall crops. Alas, I spoke too soon. This morning Mother Nature had other things in mind. We received an inch of rain and had to put off the garlic harvest for another day. Here’s a photo of what we were doing yesterday when we could have been farming.

The Fields: While we can’t accomplish all that we wish, we have been keeping busy in the fields. Harvesting the cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers takes most of our Tuesday and Friday mornings. The remainder of our days are spent weeding, tending to the fall crops in the greenhouse and keeping up with the tomato trellising. Thanks to the Saturday work crew we removed the pea fencing and on Monday we installed it on the rapidly growing pole beans just in time. This afternoon Tom mowed down the strawberry patch. The before and after shots look a little severe, but the plants do seem to like it. Next we’ll take the walk-behind tiller down either side of each row. Those in the know call this practice ‘renovation’. Mowing removes all of the diseased leaves and opens up the ground to the sanitizing power of sunlight and air. Tilling thins out the rows further and re-establishes the paths that we need to harvest. Last thing to do is apply some organic fertilizer or compost and watch the patch grow back renewed.

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