Howdy Folks! My apologies for last week’s newsletter snafu. Technology just didn’t want to cooperate. Things have been fairly quiet on the farm for the last couple of weeks. Literally. Without the students around and their always very interesting topics of discussion, it’s been a time to recharge for the new semester. Work on the farm continues to be busy. This time of the season is always a cautious juggling act. Summer crops are beginning to flourish, planting has slowed significantly but is still happening, cultivation is an ongoing battle, old crops are being mowed and tilled under and cover crops for the Fall/Winter have begun to be spread.
So, let’s revisit our favorite topic, the weather, again. We basically went 3 ½ months without any significant rainfall, crops hanging by a thread, unprecedented woodchuck pressure and then bam! It starts to rain. Over the last 3 weeks, we have gotten close to 4 inches of rain. I probably should fact check before making this next statement but I feel as if these last 3 weeks of precipitation have been more than the last 3 ½ months combined. You know what’s crazy though? Even though we’ve had some significant rainfall over the last few weeks, we are still in a drought. Besides the rain we had over the weekend, the bulk of the rainfall has come fast and hard. We really need some more of the slow and steady. But the farm is green again and many of those crops that were hanging on by a thread have now started to take off. My only hope is that it isn’t too little, too late and that we have a nice, long and warm fall season. In addition to the crops loving this wet weather, the weeds have also taken off. Staying on top of our cultivation is going to be important as we move through the rest of the season. Even though it’s inevitable, we try to limit how much hand weeding we do throughout the season. Right now, we are in the process of liberating our carrots. It’s a slow arduous process but it is something that we are committed to.
The new semester starts this week and we are looking forward to meeting our new students and seeing some familiar faces who were with us over the summer. We have 11 new Sustainable Farming and Food Systems students for the Fall Semester and we’re excited to add to our growing community.
Ok, so on to this week’s share. Now, I don’t want to overwhelm you, but the tomatoes just took off over the weekend. I know last week seemed like a lot but this may be the week that you want to start thinking about sauce, dehydrating, pickling, or freezing because the maters are in a primo state of mind! Two of my family’s favorite kitchen gadgets are our dehydrator and our vacuum sealer, aka “the sucky freezey”. We love dehydrating cherry tomatoes and storing them in small mason jars of olive oil. They are great to have to add to crock pot recipes in the winter and also make great gifts. We also freeze a lot of tomatoes and pick a time to make sauce. Did you know that you can freeze tomatoes without doing any pre-processing? In addition to the cornucopia of tomatoes, there will be lettuce mix, beets, summer squash, cucumbers, basil, beans, garlic scapes and the very first potatoes of the season.
The taters that are going to be distributed this week are “new” potatoes. What makes them “new” is that we harvest them while the foliage is still alive and green and the skin hasn’t set. That means that you can rub the skin off and they don’t store as long (keep them in the refrigerator). They are usually much more tender than the potatoes you get later in the season.
In the coming weeks, there will be the first of the eggplant, bell peppers and cured garlic.
Have a great week folks!