Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In the Share - Week 14

TOMATOES (F/P) Lots of colorful heirlooms this week.
ROMA TOMATOES (F) A handful for the full shares - makes the best pasta sauce! Partial shares get a choice of romas or cherry tomatoes.
DESIREE POTATOES (F/P) Creamy, rose-skinned deliciousness
SUMMER SQUASH (P) Partial shares get one good sized squash and cucumber from the new patch
CUCUMBERS (F/P) Time for some cucumber soup! Full shares are getting two or three good-sized ones. Order extra on the bulk list this week.
MELONS (F/P) A choice of a cantaloupe or a Sangria watermelon
HERB (F) Pesto bunch of basil. Big enough for a dish or two.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms delivery

NEXT WEEK: More tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, salsa and melons. The Roma- type beans (flat-pod) should be starting. Carrots and garlic return. The eggplant returns along with the first few ripe peppers.

THE FIELDS: Its a bountiful time of year at the farm. Above is a photo from the carrot digging last week. Those are the Bolero carrots - our favorite all-around producer of crunchy roots. The carrots should keep coming as we have more in that bed, plus 2 more plantings for fall.

The farm crew is spending at least half of each week harvesting the summer crops. The tomatoes continue to provide us with their delicate fruits. When the August heat is on it is difficult to keep up with them. We are trying our best to give you tomatoes that will keep for the week. We put less ripe fruit in the shares but when it's 95 degrees, they ripen quickly. Some farms have a room that is cooled to about 50 degrees to keep their tomatoes. That temperature keeps the fruit from ripening too quickly but doesn't harm the flavor and texture of the fruit like a refrigerator would. An insulated box with a window air conditioning unit would do the trick. Another project for the supposed 'off-season'.

Ah, there's nothing like an ice-cold melon in the heat of the summer. Tom and I are ecstatic when the melon crop comes in strong as they are one of the most difficult crops for us. It may be suprising as trucks full of cantaloupes and watermelons are ubiquitous this time of year. To grow an organic melon in our climate, however, is a real gamble. Melons are prey to a host of pests and diseases that thrive in our humid climate and heavy soils. So, while our melon crop is usually short-lived and rather plain-looking (we gave up long ago on the heirloom french beauties that chefs rave about, but the bugs always decimate), we treat each one like the rare jewel that it is. This week we have Retato d'Ortolani cantaloupe (an Italian variety that is hardy and tasty) and Sangria watermelon (a red-fleshed variety that has a crunchy texture and an almost spicy flavor).

In the few spare hours not spent harvesting this week, we managed to renovate the no-till beds. Although we heaped on the hay this spring the cover was getting thin and weeds were poking through. A thorough weeding and another thick layer should do it for the rest of the season. A big thanks to the Saturday crew that renovated the cherry tomato beds. On a hot day one cannot help but get bits of hay mixed with sweat stuck to every inch of you. Thanks to all of our sticky efforts the crops should keep producing until frost.

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