Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hello from the farm, 

Ahhhh, the rain last evening is just what we were hoping for as the fields have gotten dry and the cabbage plants that we've been putting in for fall needed some water.  The farm crew has been doing an excellent job of weeding, hoeing and transplanting.  We've been running drip irrigation for the crops planted through mulch film--tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and onions, and they look super.  Successful growing is largely about timing, and things are happening at a good schedule.  Thank you farm crew! 

 Introducing Farm Gumby

 Of Birds and Blueberries: 
 Every year we have to have a new ace up our sleeve to keep the birds from totally demolishing the blueberry patch. Over the years we've employed foil balloons, metallic streamers, inflatable snakes, hawk-mimicking balloons, electronic distress calls and more. This year we welcome Farm Gumby to the blueberry patch.  He is an excellent ally so far at keeping the birds at bay. 

Pick Your Own Options: (included at no extra charge with a farm share) 

Snow peas: these flat-podded peas are eaten "hull and all" except for the stem and string. They are wonderful lightly steamed, boiled or in stir fry, even good raw.

Blueberries:  *Please Read* blueberries are just starting to ripen.  There will be some available for some shareholders this week, but definitely not for everyone.  They will ripen over a four week or longer season and we will have a season limit of 1 pint berry box for half shares, 2 pints for full shares. (we will increase the limit if the harvest permits as we think it will) 
Please tell us when dark blue berries are no longer plentiful-and we will close the patch to allow more berries to ripen.  We want for everyone to be able to pick abundant and ripe berries--they are amazingly good! 

How do you Farm Organically? 

(This was lost in formatting land last week so here it today :-)   A question we often hear from people, it is one which could receive a lengthy answer. However, for these weekly Notes, we'll keep it to a paragraph or so. Organic farming is something old come around again--our grandparents generation and earlier were accustomed to growing without chemicals. Chemical farming had its rise when munitions and chemicals left from WWII were discovered to be fast and efficient weed and pest killers, and people were hooked with the ease of spraying acres of crops instead of doing manual labor. 

Ok, now a second paragraph...biological/sustainable/organic farming, whatever name you know it by, has it foundation in healthy soil. If the soil is well-mineralized and healthy then the plants will be healthy. If the plants are healthy, they will not succumb to diseases usually. Healthy soil even has fewer weeds, as weeds are usually trying to balance something that is out of whack in the soil. So we make the soil healthy by taking soil samples and adding minerals to balance the soil, we also apply compost and like a modern-day Squanto, we use fish emulsion and seaweed to feed our soil microbes and crops.

Do you notice that our food keeps very well and tastes better than the vegetables in the store? It's because of the super soil we are growing in. Now weeds, they can be the real Achilles heel of organic growing because we don't use herbicides. To deal with weeds we use crop rotation, soil balancing, flame weeding, tractor-drawn cultivating and yes of course, hoeing, mowing and hand-pulling, which are sometimes the bane of our existence! All in all, we hope you'll agree that our food is worth our careful and sometimes Hurculean efforts. 

The tomato plants are growing by leaps and bounds. The red mulch film helps the tomatoes to ripen earlier and be more plentiful by providing the right reflected light.

Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Cucumbers!:  while most people don't usually drool over cucumbers, maybe they should over these. We don't like to boast, but these cucumbers are fabulous. Check out the Poona Kheera cucumber from India--they are golden brown when ripe, very crisp and juicy and never bitter. A real winner.

Summer Squash:  add raw to salads, steam lightly, or stir-fry. Don't overcook unless you like soft consistency.

Scallions: These mild-mannered onion family folks give an easy onion flavor to salads, sandwiches, stir fries and more.  Or you could do the old classic buttered bread and sliced scallion treat: my grandparents talked a lot about enjoying them in spring.  "A good spring tonic" says my 101 year old grandma. 
Lettuce heads: wow, these are beautiful this year. Enjoy as salad, sandwiches, wraps, or farm crew style, just plain munching on! 
Lettuce mix--great with grated cheese, olive, vinegar, standard salad fixings
Kale/Collards: we like to fry these in a skillet with butter or coconut oil until crisp, add some onions and saute them as well--a superb topping for rice, fried eggs or stand alone too.
Garlic scapes:  these are the would-be flowering stems of garlic--soft, tender, easy to use for stir fries, diced for salad, really anywhere a mild garlic flavor is desired. We like to use it for pesto here at the farm. *see garlic scape pesto recipe below*

Green garlic: this is garlic harvested before the base swells and becomes a bulb. It has a milder flavor than bulb garlic and can be used anywhere garlic is called for. Keep refrigerated as you would green onions/scallions. 
Cilantro: this herb has run its life cycle and is "bolting" or going to seed.  

Enjoy the harvest, 

Your farmers 

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