Week of July 29th – CSA Newsletter #8

After a crazy weather week two weeks ago, last week was almost perfect. Lots of sun but not too hot. And that allowed us to get lots of work done in the field. Our big project last week was to clear out all of the garlic from the field. It happened a week earlier than we usually tackle the job but I felt that it couldn’t wait. After the garlic gets harvested from the field, we spend time sorting it into 3 categories, seed garlic, distribution garlic and seconds garlic. We end up saving the largest most uniform bulbs to replant for next year. Most of it ends up being saved for distribution and the smaller funkier bulbs will be planted for garlic greens or processed.

We also got a bunch of brassicas transplanted for fall harvest and uncovered our winter squash. There are lots of weeds surrounding the squash but the plants look nice and happy. The weekly tomato maintenance continued. I’m happy to report that no one was accosted by any bumblebees while we were working in the greenhouse. It helped that I remembered to close the hive the night before but there were a couple of stragglers that must’ve stayed out past curfew. They were pretty calm. Probably from partying all night with the pollen :). Most of the cherry tomatoes now need a ladder to wrap them around their trellis. It’s a pretty impressive sight since they’ve been in the ground for just under two months.

I also had an opportunity to take the interns on a field trip last week. We went to visit the Groundswell Incubator Farm in Ithaca. Many of the farmers at that site are New Americans, mostly from Burma. It was a great experience to see vegetables that aren’t common here growing and the farming techniques used by different cultures. I may be a little biased about Groundswell’s work since I’ve been involved with them for the past 10 years and currently sit on their Board, but if you’re interested in social justice and equity in our food system, I highly recommend seeing what we’re up to. A little fun fact about Groundswell is they are one of the main reasons why Tompkins Cortland Community College has a Sustainable Farming and Food Systems degree. Back in 2010, Groundswell was approached by the college to create a summer course that could be offered for credit through the college. I was part of the team that helped develop and teach the course for 3 summers and it was a launching pad to what we have going on at the college today with our Farm to Bistro programs.

Ok, on to this week’s CSA share. In this week’s choice there will be both head lettuce and lettuce mix, as well as kale, cucumbers, summer squash, garlic, basil and black radishes. The cherry tomatoes really enjoyed last week’s weather and are starting to crank up production. The heirlooms and beefsteaks will be arriving shortly. I shared the first heirloom with the interns today at lunch and we are starting to see the beefsteaks get some color to them. I think it really helped to get some green tomatoes last week. There will also be bunches of carrots and the first hot peppers of the year. Most of them are still green but the plants are loaded with fruit. Since we are growing them in pots instead of the ground, I want to help speed up the ripening process by harvesting some of them green. I sampled some over the weekend in a salsa and they have some great flavor.

Have a great week, folks!

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