Tuesday, July 25, 2017

In the Share: Week 8

**I wanted to make sure people had seen the Facebook event for the Solar Eclipse August 21st.  CSA members past and present, friends of the farm:  you are all invited but BYOG (bring your own glasses). We bought a package of 20 but figure to use them for those who forget.  We will have over 2 minutes of totality here. Plus come at 11 am, bring a dish and we'll have a picnic.  It would be great if you could RSVP on Facebook so we know how many to expect.  We are keeping it pretty simple, since it is a workday for many of us.  Bring camping chairs, blankets, whatever other picnicy things.  Feel free to make it as fun as you have time.  We will provide drinks, farm veggies, and plenty of sky for viewing.  Finger crossed for sunny skies.

COLORFUL CARROTS  a mix of yellows and orange varieties.

TOMATOES  we have been pleasantly surprised by the productivity of our little patch.  Cherokee Chocolate (big and brown) is our new favorite, although it's sister, Cherokee Purple (big and purple) is pretty hard to beat.

SWEET PEPPERS  All of this heat has sped up the ripening of our sweet peppers.  And they say every cloud has a silver lining.

CUCUMBERS  The cucumbers from the pickling patch that grow too big for our pint jars are the perfect for slicing,

JALAPENOS The plants are loaded with fruit.

GARLIC Musik, a hardneck type.

BASIL Just what you need for your tomatoes

IN TWO WEEKS:  tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, onions, and cucumbers

Late July on our farm is about as busy as we get.  The tomato and cucumber harvest happens three days a week and in between we are digging carrots and potatoes, weeding the late summer crops of sweet potatoes and cucumbers while we attempt to get the fall seeds and plants in the ground.  Meanwhile, this happened:

We try to save mellower jobs for the late afternoon when it is the hottest, like seeding flats for the fall, working in the air-conditioned kitchen making kraut or sorting tomatoes, but you can't avoid working in the heat entirely.  Crops need to be weeded and watered, fruits picked and beds prepped. The last task of the day is to check on the chickens.  We often bring them special treats.  Discarded cabbage leaves, tomatoes and cucumbers are common these days, but their favorite treat are the Japanese beetles.  We collect them with a trap and empty them in the chicken yards.

There's nothing like the end of July on the farm.  When the crops are happy, lush and green all appears right with the world   We invite all CSA members to join us on the farm for the harvest on any Saturday morning (8-12).  If you need me to re-send your invite to signup genius, let me know.  Carrots and potatoes could use a quick exit from the fields, so any hands are appreciated.  Thanks!

What to Do With Your Share---Week 8

We have been eating a lot of cold dishes of late, to keep hydrated and fueled up. A running task of Rebecca's has been to start a fresh cucumber salad every couple days, so they have some time to marinate. A sweet/sour dressing mixing honey, vinegar, salt and pepper always tastes good.

We've been making heartier fare lately too, as a bowl of gazpacho can fill you up and makes a great farmer lunch. Our blog from seven years ago this week, gives a comprehensive gazpacho recipe. The bread really makes the dish.

You can substitute for any of the vegetables with what you have. I also like to add some of our pickle brine to add to the soups broth.

Speaking of cucumber pickles, we have plenty to sell and hope you take advantage of your membership. We just filled a pallet of 1,000 jars with our ferments and we need to get them eaten. We just took delivery of another 1,000 jars today and hope we can develop a flow of jars out the door.

We are currently in the Crossroads at The Sundry and Howard's, on the east side at Terra Health and Wellness Market, in Weston and Green Dirt Farm Creamery, and in Briarcliff at Green Acres Market. Check out our website for more info on the ferments.

And don't forget the bulk list for those extra tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

In the Share: Week 7

TOMATOES  We reduced our tomato patch from 900 plants to just 200 and are seeing the benefits of the extra attention we have been able to give.  300 pounds in the first week of picking isn't too shabby.  Heirloom and hybrid slicers will be in the shares and sauce-making Romas will be on the bulk list in two weeks.

SWEET PEPPERS  Pretty purple peppers

LETTUCE OR CUCUMBERS  We are harvesting the last of the lettuce tomorrow morning.  Cucumbers will replace lettuce later in the week.

NEW POTATOES  First digging of the potato crop, Red Pontiac.  Tender new potatoes should be kept cool and eaten within a week.

WALLA WALLA SWEET ONIONS  Thanks to the Saturday CSA crew for bringing in the harvest of 1200 feet of these babies.  These are not for storage, but are sweet and mild.

BASIL Can't have fresh tomatoes without it!

IN TWO WEEKS:  tomatoes, peppers, carrots, garlic and beets

I have never been happier to see someone in my life than when I picked up Farmer Tom at the airport today.  A week of running the farm without him has been challenging for sure.  Luckily I had a great team of people that helped keep the farm on schedule.  Special thanks to Marlene, Jody, Brendan, Maria and Todd.  And man, the CSA crew on Saturday killed it by bringing in all of the Walla Walla onions plus the last 300 feet of garlic.

We are in full on harvest mode right now, with little time for much else.  In this heat, no crop lasts for very long once it reaches maturity in the field, so the pressure is on to bring it in, cool it down and get it stored properly.

We are thankful for all of the hay mulch we put down this Spring.  The mulched tomatoes and basil are looking pretty darn good.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 7

This afternoon I arrived back on the farm after a 6-day trip to the east coast to visit family. A summer vacation has been a thing of the past for Rebecca and me these last 14 years. The best we can do is for only one of us to leave the farm at a time, and my time arrived.

The trip was filled with family-time, support, suggestions, love, sights, lobster and public transportation. The eastern seaboard is a wonderful place, filled with diversity and beauty. It was the perfect place to travel as part of our sabbatical year, providing both rest and energy.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit at the MOMA
While I don't have any particular suggestions for how to use this week's wonderful summer share, I would like to update the membership on our fermenting operation. While we are in uncharted waters, it appears that we are hitting our peak production period. We continue to have cabbage, carrots and onions stored for use, and are needing to keep up almost daily on the cucumber and jalapeno harvest.

We have begun contacting retail stores and are working on getting our inventory on their shelves. We appreciate any help and support the membership can give us. Let us know if there is a store you think we should be in, and start asking if they carry Fair Share Farm Ferments.

We hope you take advantage of the bulk list and the member price on our ferments. Order on-line by following the instructions in the most recent email. I have now test marketed our pickles back east and they are given a thumbs up.