Thursday, August 20, 2009

Farm Report

Farm Report as of August 19, 2009 for those who have interest...

The weather has continued to be cooler than normal with only a short period of warm, humid weather. In our mind, this bodes well for a longer fall period with a later frost. But, nature has its own ideas and we'll just have to deal with it. Recent rains have been welcomed by the plants, but have slowed certain efforts on the farm significantly. The weeds have taken off with the rain, as have some of the crops.

Potatoes - this is going to be a great potato year if the 2+ rows that are harvested are any indication. We have pulled in Yukon Gold (the shortest season) and potatoes have been, on average, larger and more plentiful. We set a goal of a five to one return (5 lbs for every 1 lb of seed) and hope to do much better. We have five rows of Yukons, picked two and we're already at the 5 to 1 return. A good sign for us - but it's going to take time to pull all of the taters in.

Beans - It's been a wonderful year for beans. Unfortunately, most of the plants are slowing down and the quality will become a little less consistent from her for the Providers, but should be fine - if lessened - for the Jades. We don't anticipate much for beans in the next week, but they can surprise. the hardest part is getting them picked when it is wet - picking wet beans spreads disease and mildews that shorten the productivity span - but so does letting beans get overly large. ah well. It's still been a good year - we're just under the quarter ton mark for beans picked this season.

Peas - Stick a fork in them, the spring crop is done. We're going to try and prep for a late fall crop, but it will be close.

Cukes - These are also on a downward trend. the dry patch stressed them out enough that we're not sure we'll get too much from here on out. So, expect a trickle from these for the rest of the season.

Eggplant - we're climbing the curve for the eggplant production peak. Oddly, the usually higher production levels of the standard purple eggplants have not occurred, whereas the other heirloom varieties are doing reasonably well. NOTE: if you aren't taking your eggplant in your share, you are missing out! Eggplant are excellent substitutes for mushrooms and grill up well. We added grilled eggplant rings to hamburgers the other night - with a slice of tomato, some cheese, a bit of lettuce - it became one of the best burgers either of us has had. Hoping to find some Ailsa Craig onions ready for the next burger.

Tomatoes - The production period may be short and frantic. Usually, we run tomatoes well into September. We're not sure how long this one will last since the plants dropped their flowers early because of cool nights and dry weather. The taste is definitely there and there will be plenty of them for a while! The Italian Heirlooms are especially plentiful right now.

Winter Squash - appear to be on target for normal harvest starting in September and going to mid-October. The Boston Marrow variety is going to wow us with some incredibly large fruit. I expected a 15 pound fruit as the max. There are candidates for much more than that right now.

Kohlrabi - the next planting is getting ready to be picked! We'll try to sandwich one more in for a late fall harvest.

Garlic - was not a bright spot this year. We should be able to salvage enough for seed, but there won't be much to distribute - we hope to give everyone one or two heads - but we can't tell just yet. Can't win them all.

Melon/Watermelon - speaking of not winning them all. Weather has stayed too cool, too long. We're not optimistic. But, next year always brings a new hope.

Peppers - taste and quality has been through the roof for the heirloom varieties. They are really just now getting going. We've been able to hold down the fort with the Ace variety (early hybrid bell pepper), but everyone should be excited to see the Jimmy Nardello's, Tolli Sweet and heirloom bell peppers starting to appear. These all taste much better (in our opinion). We will normally put the Aces in one distribution basket and the other sweet peppers in a separate basket. NOTE: we will never entice anyone to eat a hot pepper by claiming it is sweet. You're just going to have to trust us that some of these peppers, despite their looks, are not hot. If you don't, you'll really miss out.

Turkeys - both older and younger groups continue to grow and get more interested in exploring. A good sign for their health. A bad sign for our keeping them where we want them to be. Happens every year.

Eggs - we're still trying to get the ladies to go back to their production levels of just a month (or so) ago. The younger hens will supposedly enter their active laying period starting in September. So, we will either be swamped with eggs or really frustrated. We're hoping for the former.

Summer Squash/Zucchini - the rains keep the older plants going, but the cooler weather has prevented them from going crazy like they have in prior years. Clearly, there has been plenty (as can be attested to by CSA members). However, we have tried to market excess in the past for a little additional income. Haven't had as much for that as we are accustumed. That may actually be a good thing because we haven't had the time to pick more and find buyers. Expect levels of these in shares to slowly taper off.

Lettuce - the next batch is now being picked, with another due to be ready about the time these are finished. We've picked over 2000 heads of lettuce this season. Approximately 3 times as many as we've ever harvested. Current varieties are Rouge d'Hiver, Australian Yellow Leaf, Grandpa Admires and Pablo. All seem to handle warmer weather reasonbly well.

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