News from the farm: July 28, 2010

What's going on at the farm?

    Hello Members!  Hope you all had a nice week.  As you can see we have more potatoes for you this week, many thanks again for the members who came out to help harvest.  The first of the winter squash as well, Butternut!  For those who don’t know, winter squash is actually harvested smack dab in the middle of summer.  It is called winter squash because of its storage capabilities.  Due to its hard outer shell /skin it can hold on your counter for months, even into winter.  Some say the flesh becomes sweeter the longer the squash is stored.  All that being said, no hurry on these guys, store outside of the refrigerator with your onions and potatoes for a good long while till you get around to eating it.  We had a nice harvest this year, so you will see more Butternut in the next few weeks.  I will try to include some recipes, but I bet if you Google this one you will find a plethora as it is a pretty popular veggie. 
            If you remember from last week, I talked a bit about Southern Stem Blight.  Check out last week’s newsletter if you haven’t already gotten a chance to learn about what is going on with the peppers this year.  I talked with some other growers in the area, and it seems I have been a lucky one to not have had problems with it thus far, in the past ten years.  Apparently this fungus is naturally in the soil, any and everywhere, and becomes ‘active’ under the right conditions attacking up to 500 different possible host plants.  Not sure why I haven’t had a severe problem with it before, heard that others have, but sure am having one this year.  The peppers are NOT happy and the rain we got again yesterday was not helpful.  Sorry to say that there will not be many peppers this year L I am grateful it did not affect my tomatoes at least!  That would have been the real shame!
            Speaking of tomatoes!  We had a good run with our first planting, they have been yummy and fruitful.  We always plant a second planting a month after the first so that as the harvest of the first naturally dies down we can move onto the second, hopefully not skipping a beat.  Well, our first planting is dying down FAST, and the fruit that does remain is not nearly as ‘pretty’ and perfect looking as they have been.  They still taste great though!  So don’t let that stop you.  Our second planting is a little slow to start so we actually may have a one week or so gap in tomatoes.  Some have ripened, but with the excess rain the fruit actually splits (for some reason the plants drink more water than they need and the fruit skin splits or burst from the pressure).  The fruit won’t hold, as the skin protects the inside moist flesh from rot.  Some of your tomatoes are not fully ripe this week, so let them sit on the counter until they have a nice dark red color.  They will last you all week this way. 
            A grower that has been farming for 30 years in the area told Becca, who works for me, that if she can make it through this season farming, she could make it through any.  I have to say I agree.  The heat this year has been more oppressive than I can remember, and is challenging us and others who farm pretty intensely.  We have been starting early and getting out of the direct sun by noon.  I don’t think it is safe or healthy for us to be out in the 100 plus degree weather all afternoon.  Despite these precautions, the heat and sun so easily drain our energy that we have to be careful to eat, drink and sleep enough.  More than normal, despite less hours out in the ‘field’.  It is a lesson in not trying to be too prideful and say “I am tough, I can take it”, but rather say, “I need to take care of myself”.  The crazy thing is that it isn’t even August yet.  If we are to last through another four to six weeks of this heat, taking precautions now to store our energy is ESSENTIAL.  I am pounding the electrolytes!  After awhile, water just isn’t enough.  All that being said, we are hanging in there, and are finding ways to make it work J 
            Let me know if you have any feedback, thoughts or concerns.  I love to hear from you!  Elise.

What's in the box?

Full Box
Crop Amount  

Melon - One larger
Potatoes - 3 lbs.
Butternut Squash - One larger
Summer Squash - 1 lb.
Tomatoes - 2 lbs.
Cherry Tomatoes - 1 pint
Basil  - ¼ lb.

Half Box
Crop Amount  

Melon - One small
Potatoes - 2 lbs
Butternut Squash - One
Summer Squash - 1lb.
Tomatoes - 1lb.
Cherry Tomatoes - 1 pint