Week of July 22nd – CSA Newsletter Week #7

Well, that was some week we had last week. We got some much needed rain Tuesday and Wednesday but then it turned into an absolute scorcher the rest of the week. I hope you all managed as best you could. It was a rough one out here for a few days but we survived, as did most of the plants. Some, however, did not enjoy that heat, even after all that rain. There was an entire bed of lettuce and napa cabbage that bolted just as it was almost ready to harvest.

But let’s get back to that rain for a moment. That storm on Tuesday dumped 1.6 inches of rain in about 40 minutes!! I was trapped in the barn for the duration and once it was over I did a quick walk to survey the farm to see if there was any major damage. Thankfully, we came out of it mostly unscathed. There was some row covers that blew off a bit and there were some tiny rivers running through the fields. The biggest thing that had me worried was that most of the peppers and eggplants in the hoophouses had mostly blown over. The storm came so fast, that I didn’t have time to roll down the sides of the houses for some added protection. I was relieved to see that most of the plants had recovered by Wednesday morning. It was on our list of things to do, but we made sure to prioritize getting the peppers trellised that afternoon. Growing plants in our hoophouses have many advantages to just growing them in the field but one of the downsides is that they aren’t exposed to full sun or wind. Because of that, we need to give some of the plants extra support.

We also continued to get some transplanting done. It was nice to finally get plants in the ground that had some moisture. Our weekly tomato maintenance continued. A lot of the cherry tomato plants are almost at the point where we will need a step stool to wrap them around their trellis. In addition to the suckering and trellising that needed to be done, we spent the time pruning off the lower leaves of the plants. The reason for doing this is to create more airflow between the plants to minimize any disease. The only negative to working with the tomatoes in the greenhouse is that it seems as if we have a slightly aggressive group of bumblebees working along side us. In all my years of bringing bees into greenhouses to aid in pollination, I’ve never seen anyone get stung. Well, there’s a first for everything because two weeks in a row, someone has been stung, including me. I had one overprotective bee sting me three times last week! Needless to say, we will be taking an even more cautious approach working in the greenhouse moving forward.

Another exciting thing (at least to me) that has happened over the last two weeks is that we harvested our first ever crop of black currants. In the spring of 2017 we planted a couple of rows of currants and one row of elderberries. It was great to finally see the fruits of our labor but man, are those currants labor intensive to harvest. It’s also great to have a partner in Coltivare because they were willing and ready to take whatever we had. That’s an important relationship to have, especially with a niche crop like currants. I’m excited to see how and where they incorporate them into their menu.

I also had a chance to take the interns on another field trip last week to a friend’s farm in Virgil. We had the opportunity to visit Hee Haw Hops and learn all about the trials and tribulations that go into starting a small hop farm. I took interns there a few years back and it was great to see the progress made with this operation. If there are any home brewers out there and you’re looking for some locally grown hops for your favorite brews, just let me know and I can put you in touch. Harvest season is right around the corner.

Alright, let’s talk about this week’s CSA share. There will be some new items in this week’s choice. This week there will be some green onions. We had a couple of beds of onions that were so weedy that I made the decision to just harvest them at this small size because I didn’t think that we were going to get around to weeding them. Just treat them like you would scallions where everything is edible. There will also be green tomatoes this week. Some of the plants have so many fruit on their clusters that it made sense to thin some of them to help speed up the ripening process. And since it’s not supposed to be too hot this week, it makes perfect sense for some fried green tomatoes. There will also be head lettuce, kale, black radishes, basil, summer squash, garlic and cucumbers. The first of our lemon cucumbers were ready this week and they will be in the choice, as well. I will also have potted rosemary for you. Rosemary is a tender perennial that should be brought indoors in the winter time but can be outside (I recommend putting them in a bigger pot soon) until it starts to be consistently under 40 degrees at night. Lastly, the first of the cherry tomatoes will be part of the share some how. There wasn’t as much ready as I had hoped but I will check again tomorrow. I’m not sure how they will be included in the share yet. There is the possibility that only one share size will get them this week. But if that’s the case, don’t fret because we will be swimming in tomatoes soon enough.

Have a great week!

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