This Week on the Farm 7/23
We did get rain this Sunday, which definitely made our day. When an inch and a half of rain falls and you haven’t had any rain for three weeks, you end up with very happy farmers.
You may have noticed on the back of the newsletter that there are many “this or that” items this week. Some of this is due to crop loss from the heavy rains in June. The turnips, kohlrabi, kale, and Swiss chard were damaged pretty heavily by the saturated soils, so while we do have some of each crop, we don’t have enough for everyone to have a usable amount of each item. In many of the recipes listed on the back, each item can be swapped out so you could use either kale or Swiss chard.
We finally have reached the transition point in the season when the summer squash and cucumbers really start to produce. By next week we will have cucumbers coming out of our ears, but for right now the plants are just starting to produce, so some members will receive summer squash and others will receive cucumbers.
This is the last week of scallions, so use them in your favorite dish! The scallions produced extremely well for us this year, thus six weeks in a row of scallions. The first of the cipollini onions will be in your box this week. I have found that cipollinis have the best flavor when roasted or grilled, but will add a kick to any dish if used raw.
Onto farm news. This past Friday we spent the morning with our crew harvesting garlic. The process starts with everyone getting a harvest tote and a potato fork. Each person harvests one row of garlic, using the potato fork to loosen the soil. This is the tricky part because you want to be close enough to the plant to loosen it, but not so close that you accidentally stab the bulb. The bulbs are then pulled and placed directly in the harvest tote so that they are not exposed to light. Once a tote is full it is labeled with the variety name and taken into the garage where the window air conditioner unit is on.
Friday afternoon we bunched the garlic into groups of ten, removing any bulbs that were damaged or rotten. The bunches were then hung up in the barn out of direct sunlight and in an area with lots of airflow. In two weeks we will check the garlic to see if it is done curing, at which point we will trim the stems and roots and clean up any remaining soil that is on the outer wrapper.
The garlic looks very good this year and we are hoping that we will be able to put it in the boxes once or twice this season. Some of you may remember that garlic is a very expensive crop to start from seed, especially when you are required to purchase certified organic seed. We ordered ten additional pounds of garlic to plant for this fall, and that was almost two hundred dollars. For this reason we are going to save the majority of our garlic to replant for next year. This will allow us to keep building our stock and not have to pass the additional cost of buying a ton more seed onto our members.
Friday we also finished installing the trellising on the indeterminate tomatoes that are planted outside. I was planning on going out yesterday to attach the plants to the trellising, but with the rain on Sunday and the high humidity I did not want to risk going into the field. Late blight has been seen in the area, and transmission is highest when conditions are damp. The last thing that we want to do is go out when there is water on the plants, walk around rubbing against leaves, and transferring spores to other plants. We are on a scouting rotation to check for symptoms of late blight. Even if we did spray chemicals, which we don’t, there is no good control method of late blight. So everyone keep their fingers crossed that we have healthy tomato plants!