Tuesday, August 2, 2011

In the Share - Week 12

TOMATOES (F/P) It is “deliously hot” at the farm according to one of our recent guests. Nothing tastes better than a ripe heirloom tomato grown in a hot, dry Midwestern summer.

CHERRY TOMATOES (F/P) We don’t wash any of our tomatoes on the farm. It keeps them tasty and healthy. Wait until you are ready to eat them and give them a quick rinse.

SALSA PACK (F/P) The tomatillos are putting out the fruit right now. Que rica la salsa!

CARROTS (F/P) More big orange ones from the last harvest.

PURSLANE (F/P) What’s that, you say? Isn’t it a weed? Actually purslane is quite tasty and full of Omega 3s. Read Tom’s post for more info.

TROPEA and WALLA WALLA ONIONS (F/P) See Tom’s post for a great onion and tomato sauce recipe. I’m eating it right now and it is divine!

OKRA, SWEET PEPPERS AND EGGPLANT (F) Hopefully soon we’ll have enough sweet peppers for everyone. They are starting to ripen in large quantities. The damaged ones always ripen first, so there will be a crate of “seconds” to take what you want.

HERBS (F) Basil and summer savory

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms shares

NEXT WEEK: More tomatoes, salsa packs, okra and peppers. Potatoes and garlic.

Here we are at the mid-season mark. Week 12 of 24 has arrived. Now is a good time to pause for a moment and assess the weeks behind us and look to the weeks ahead. Overall, Tom and I were really pleased with the spring and early summer shares. Despite a shortened strawberry season, the shares were hefty thanks to some big lettuces and spring turnips, among others.

The summer started out pretty good with a nice carrot and beet harvest. The summer squashes, cucumbers and beans started out promising but the later plantings have fizzled in the hot, dry conditions.
Right now we are thrilled, if a bit daunted, by the tomato harvest. Last week alone we picked 1,600 lbs. of heirloom, hybrid, paste, drying and cherry tomatoes. Currently, the overabundance of tomatoes is making up for the lack of many of the other summer fruits that have withered in the heat. As CSA farmers our first priority is to fill the shares by minimizing our risk of crop loss. That’s why one of our big investments on the farm is a reliable irrigation system. The system is working very well right now, but it has it’s limits. We have a lot of field to cover, including full-grown summer crops that need a deep drink and newly planted fall crops that need steady moisture. We have had a difficult time getting some of the fall crops established. When the temperatures are extreme some seeds refuse to sprout and flowers drop without forming fruit.
Not all crops are faring poorly. The heat-loving sweet potatoes and okra are thriving. We also have a good crop of onions, garlic, potatoes and carrots that will keep us in staples for a good while. The winter squash and melons bit the dust early on due to the dry weather. A few winter squash may go in the shares next week. For the fall there are rows upon rows of newly transplanted cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli that will hopefully fill our bellies in October if we can keep them alive until then. But really there’s only one constant when it comes to Missouri weather, it’s bound to change soon. Just last weekend we got a nice break and a little rain shower during the Saturday harvest. We managed to squeeze everyone in the packing room until it stopped.

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