Farming can be a cruel profession and this past week was a perfect example of that. You spend months in the winter to plan for the upcoming season. You order seeds, maybe pick some new varieties, spend time on a marketing plan, figure out what you’re going to grow and how much of it and so on. The season always starts out with so much hope and enthusiasm. Sure, you can control for pests, weeds and disease to the best of your ability. But once those plants go in the ground, you are at the mercy of Mother Nature. We lucked out for the most part, but the rain last week was devastating for many farms in the area. Friends of mine in Schuyler County got 9 inches of rain early last week and a large part of their farm was either washed our or under water for part of the week. Pretty incredible. Now, I don’t want to go off on a Climate Change rant but the trend over the last few years has definitely been more extreme weather events, especially with precipitation. The annual average rainfall may be consistent to what it’s been over the last decade but there is no denying that we have experienced more extremes, weather in rainfall or drought. This is where you, the CSA member, plays a part. One of the main principles of CSA’s is that it is a shared risk between the farm and its shareholders. When there is crop loss due to disease, pests or weather, the farm doesn’t take the entire hit because of members like you. That loss is felt across the CSA. Just like in times of bounty (like our tomatoes), the entire CSA gets to benefit from that. This is also a perfect reason why crop diversity is so important, especially for the small-scale farm. Throughout the growing season, some crops do well and some don’t and many times it’s for reasons that are out of the control of the farmer. So, I just wanted to take the time now to thank you all for supporting the TC3 Farm in times of abundance and in times of failure.
Since I’m in a break between student interns, I thought that I’d give an update on some of the crops planned for the fall.
- Garlic – has been hanging in the barn for the month of August and has been drying slowly due to the humid weather. You should see garlic back in the share sometime in the next few weeks.
- Potatoes – the plants look beautiful (for the moment) but all this wet weather could bring an onslaught of disease. Keeping my fingers crossed that the plants will die back before that happens.
- Melons – they are super hard to grow but the stand we have in the field is looking good. It’s really hard to tell when exactly a watermelon is ripe. I’ve taste tested a few over the last week and they are almost there.
- Winter Squash – we will start harvesting the early varieties in the next couple of weeks and hopefully the later varieties will have enough good weather to ripen.
- Onions- I was so hopeful for them this year but keeping up with the weeds where they were planted was a tough task. There will be some but they will be tiny.
- Leeks – are looking pretty good. Not as big as I’d like but there will definitely be some in the share by the end of September/beginning of October.
- Carrots – the fall carrots are up and we’ve done a pretty good job of staying on top of the weeds. They will be harvested towards the end of the CSA season.
There’s lots of other veggies coming, as well, but these are some of the crops I’ve been watching a lot over the last couple of weeks.
Let’s get into what’s going to be in this week’s CSA share. The tomatoes continue to crank along, so there will still be lots of cherry, beefsteak and heirlooms to choose from. There will also be eggplant, carrots, new potatoes (remember to keep them in your fridge), head lettuce, basil, beans, hot peppers, zucchini and cucumbers. There will also be two new items this week, tomatillos and the first (of many) sweet peppers of the season.
Have a great week!