The greens in the tree leaves have shifted from their rush of spring to their soaking summer sun. The days are getting noticeably shorter.
I wanted to remind members who opted for payments spread throughout the season that another payment would be beneficial, and all payments should be complete before the end of the season.
We will start taking orders for canning tomatoes. Like the pickles, a minimum of half a bushel can be reserved for a specific harvest day. We can sign you up until the middle of September. We’ll try to fill all the orders, but it’s never 100% certain what the harvest will be.
I also wanted to tell the tomato’s story so far. The plants are looking great, and it appears it will be a very good harvest. When the plants were potted up back in April, in the greenhouse, there was a problem because we had to change the lime ingredient of our soil mix, and it seemed the new lime was not dissolving and available to the plants. The struggled to develop their roots. We supplemented them with a nettle and compost tea which brought them around to be strong healthy plants. After we planted them out in early June, the weather turned quite cold and windy for a couple weeks, and the plants wished they could have been back in the greenhouse! We even saw frost on June 19th (now the record for latest frost I’ve seen). It didn’t do any damage, but shows how cold the nights were. The plants reacted by trying to make fruit right away, and held off growing. There was a tiny flush of fruit, but then they got into the summer mode and started growing like mad, holding off more fruit production. Now they’ve set a good harvest, although it appears to be ripening a couple weeks later than other years. Every year is different, and I’m always amazed at the adaptability of plants, and feel honored to be in partnership with them!
I saw a post that declared it was the time of year to lock your doors, since someone is likely to leave a giant zucchini in your car or on your porch. This is true. But I wanted to also celebrate the bounty of these plants. Last year I struggled to get enough zucchini for CSA members, since the cucumber beetle had done a fair amount of damage. I remember some plants never produced a single fruit before they died. Not so this year! We try to harvest every day and a half to two days, and even so, they put on so much growth in that time it really is amazing. My sense is that they have peeked and will hopefully slow down to have a longer, gentler rest of their harvest. But this week there are so many in addition to the reasonable number members will get, there will be many more in the free choice area for those who want to preserve or just have a feast! The easiest way to keep them is to grate and freeze. You can then add them to sauces and chili, and make zucchini bread all year round. They also dry or can be made into an awesome relish. Enjoy the image of bounty!
We are changing the carrot weeding to be more flexible. Saturday the 30th is no longer a good time for the farm. If anyone has time in the next couple weeks to come out a weed for an hour or two the fall and winter carrots would be happier. We will work with you if possible, but might not be able to at any time… but a row and a half have been done already, and it can be a relaxing, meditative, satisfying task! The summer is a busy time, no more so than in the garden. In July everything seems to need to be done at once, and our prioritizing skills are put to the test. While we have been making sure most of the crops are well tended (and the garden is doing amazing this year), the fall carrots got a bit out of hand. If you have the chance to help out, let us know!
The pickling cucumbers have begun producing. They will be available for sale at the CSA pick-up starting today, and the Friday store. There are limited quantities, so if you want a bulk (half bushel minimum) order let us know. We may not be able to supply all your orders, but we’ll see how they produce. Over ripe cukes for relishes will be free choice for members.
Just a reminder that in addition to the vegetables and herbs that you get as a CSA member, we have available for sale: herb salts and tea, salve, currant coulis, and duck from our farm. We also carry chicken and pork from Burdock Grove Farm near Williamsford. Aster Lane bread is available by pre-order on Tuesdays.
Wow veggies, wow summer, welcome to another season of good fresh food! We are now open to the public for Friday farm market days, 3-7pm, from Canada Day until Thanksgiving. Stop by for some extra veggies and bring your friends and neighbours. Stop in also to see the new additions to the market, cards, herb salts and teas. See you soon!
It’s finally here! The first Friday harvest will be June 24 3-7pm. The first Tuesday harvest will be June 28 3-6pm. Please remember to bring your own bags/boxes. You can review how the CSA works on the CSA page on the website. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
So, what goes into deciding when to start harvesting? I usually aim to have at least five items and herbs available for the first pick-up. Springs are so variable it is hard to tell when some of the crops will be ready. As we approach Summer Solstice, plants tend to grow extra fast, so what is not ready one week, can be over ready the next. I won’t usually post what the harvest will be each week, but just to share with you the challenge of the first pick-up… I know there will be lettuce, kale, scallions and some herbs. There may or may not be peas, spinach, radishes, kohlrabi, sprouting broccoli, chard or frisee.
Last year the radishes, lettuce, and spinach were over mature by the time of the first pick-up. We planted the radishes and spinach a wee bit later this year to try to prevent that problem, but since last spring was hotter than normal, and this spring has been cooler, they may not be ready by the first harvest. Just to say the first couple pick-ups may be smaller than some years, the crops overall are doing well, and I’m looking forward to a bountiful harvest.
The days of sun this week have given us the chance to work more with Flora and Marcus, the new power-houses (horses) of the farm. The goal for the summer is to have the team, which is both of the horses as well as the driver, cultivating rest areas of the garden where we can plant cover crops to continue feeding the soil during the season.
It’s really fun to see the horses get into the groove of working, they blow through their noses and set into a good walking pace together. These horses want to do work, and it’s a really amazing thing to see them listening well to their driver, Cory, and following commands in formation. It’s a bit of a process to acclimatize the horses to the farm and get them used to working again after a few years of a relaxed life, but it’s been going well, and ultimately we’re building a team in the process, the horses and the driver. “Good work team,” Cory says as Flora and Marcus head into the next garden bed.