Holy smokes, folks! It rained today. Like, really really rained. A ground soaking rain. An overcast rainy day. The sun came out for a bit around 4 here and then it rained some more! Pardon my excitement, but I wasn’t sure we were going to see a day like this until the fall. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Last week, we planted over 2000 transplants for the fall and they were holding on as best as they could. The total amount was probably less than 1/2 inch but the fact that it was continuous over most of the day is really going to help things moving forward.
This week is a sad week on the farm for me. The Summer Farming Internship comes to an end on Friday. I cannot thank the students enough for all the hard work that they have done these past 10 weeks. They showed up for each shift with great attitudes and no complaining for the tasks that were laid before them each day. Okay, maybe there was a little complaining at times but they worked through some hot days. One of the things that I truly enjoy is the community that is built through the Sustainable Farming and Food Systems program. These students end up having very similar schedules due to the nature of the courses that they have to take at Tompkins Cortland. They end up spending a lot of time together, not only sweating in the fields but also studying for exams and working on projects. I love seeing the growth in them from when they start with their first farming internship to when they end this week in the summer. Friendships and personalities truly blossom over that time. (Okay, enough with the puns.) This group, in particular, is a special one. They came to TC3 from different backgrounds and with different life experiences but they all worked well together and accepted each other for who they are and what skills they brought, which hasn’t always been the case. Harmony, Cheyanne, Megan and Cheryl have been with me for multiple semesters now and had a pretty good taste and feel for what work is like here at the TC3 Farm and what my expectations are. This was Curtis’ first semester on the farm and these wonderful gals welcomed him like he’s been here for a while. I could go on and on about these amazing folks but I’ll spare you.
Alright, let’s talk about some veggies. The heirloom tomatoes are so close to being in the share. Last week, there were 2 ripe ones, which promptly went to my wife (hey, sometimes you gotta get those bonus points where you can). There are probably close to a dozen this week that will end up at Coltivare and then hopefully by next week or the week after the heirloom party will begin, with the cherry and beefsteaks following not far behind. One of the reason green tomatoes are in the share this week is to help speed up the ripening of fruit. Some of the clusters on the plants have 4 or more fruits on them. Since the plants have a limited amount of energy, we help them along by thinning clusters down to 3 fruit. Now a lot of folks don’t really know what to do with them besides fried green tomatoes. Don’t get me wrong, fried green tomatoes are very tasty, especially with the right aioli. But last year I discovered one of my favorite things to do with green tomatoes. I co-teach a Principles of Food Preservation class with Chef Amanda of the Culinary Arts program in the fall (which is an awesome class!) and we found a green tomato chutney recipe that was out of this world. This isn’t the exact recipe that we used but I haven’t found a David Lebovitz recipe that I didn’t love.
The eggplants this week are coming from the greenhouse. This week is an Italian type that doesn’t have your traditional bell shape. It’s a variety I discovered on accident almost 10 years ago and have been growing ever since. Few seeds and very tender skin. And finally, the blueberries this week are from our friends over at HillBerry Farm in Berkshire, about a 20 minute drive from the TC3 Farm. They are open for u-pick everyday and if you haven’t made it out there yet, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for. The berries are certified organic, the plants are loaded, the owners are amazing and it is seriously one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in our area. I went out to pick on Sunday and got 4 pounds in about an hour!
Have a great week folks!