Monday, September 22, 2014

A September Picture This

It's been a while since we took recent pictures and use them to create a blog post.  Let's see if we've still got the chops to do this!

Growing the "Perfect" Tomato

As you might know by now, we're more concerned with the taste and eating quality of our produce than we are with picture perfect looks.  After all, the whole point of what we grow is for people to consume the produce.  If it looks great and tastes bad, what good is that?  On the other hand, there are times when you can manage both.

The perfect Black Krim tomato
Black Krim tomatoes are notorious for radial cracking at the top.  They also are known to split easily at the point where they ripen.  Thus, we tend to pick these on the slightly early side to avoid the tendency for them to split open on the bottom.  They are ripe enough to eat at that point and already have excellent taste.  These also tend to have green to greenish/black shoulders.   So, it is rare to manage to get the color you see above.  A typical Black Krim tomato weighs in between a half and three quarters pound.  The one above came in at about 0.8 pounds.

The perfect Paul Robeson tomato (times 2)
We equate Paul Robeson with Black Krim (whether that is fair or not) because it tends to grow similar sized tomatoes and because they both exhibit some of the most complex tastiness for heirloom tomatoes.  Again, the color of the Robeson does not tend to be a solid color, with some changing on the shoulder area.  Unlike the Krim, they split out from the stem, but they have the same problem if you pick them a bit late with splits on the bottom.  I couldn't decide between two tomatoes as to which was most photogenic, so I took a photo of both of them together.

So - how did we grow the perfect tomatoes?  That's for another post in the future!  (Ha!  A teaser!  I'll have you reading this blog for months just waiting for our secrets! Bwahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa!)

Tomato for Five?
Consistency from our plants this year has not been the operative term.  Tomatoes, for example have exhibited a wide range of quality and size.  One Black Krim tomato in the high tunnel grew so large that the only way it could be harvested was to break it into pieces.  That single tomato was used for BLTs for us and the work crew that day.  All five of us had enough tomato from this one fruit to make us all happy.  And, yes, those who wanted seconds were able to have seconds.  We wish we'd gotten an official weight on that one, but we were more concerned about getting it to the table for lunch!

Give Me an "O"
The only crop that has really been outstanding for us this season has been the onions.  And, perhaps they haven't been as fabulous as we think they are.  After all, we have had crop failures in this area recently.  So, when you compare crop failure to getting an actual crop...

The big differences between 2013 and 2014 were the later occurrence of wet weather AND the Williams Tool Bar for our tractor.  Last year, the fields were wet during the early planting times and we just could not get into the field to put in onions.  If onions don't get in early enough, you might as well give up on them because they won't bulb out for you.  This year, the wet weather started after the onions were in AND after we ran the Williams through them once.  Well, ok, we ran it through three rows.  The other row and a half weren't ready at that time and we lost them to weeds.

So far, we've pulled in three quarters of the White Wing onions.  Next up, Redwing and Ailsa Craig.  Yellow of Parma runs the anchor leg.

We're pleased with the White Wing onions this year
Truck Tetris 2014
Once August hit, the game of Truck Tetris began in earnest.  The big winner so far was the day Rob had to put three coolers in the seat next to him in the cab of the truck.  Thus far, we have avoided pressing a second vehicle into service.

Don't worry, we weren't done packing yet.  We had more to put in.

The Day After
The day after the CSA distribution is a sneaky one at the farm.  By the time we get to September, much of the day is taken over by less exciting, but necessary tasks.  The difficulty here is that Rob often plans on doing things that are not specific to a CSA distribution.  For example, last week he thought he might do some weeding on Wednesday. 
A twice weekly occurrence

But, then he starts on the cleanup.  Towels need to be washed, containers need to be cleaned.  Remaining produce needs to be sorted out.  Some was identified as having problems during distribution and goes to birds.  Some has other homes to go to and some becomes the farm's share of produce.  Before you know it, half the day is gone.  Then, you realize you need to start picking for the next distribution.  

In the end, I remind myself that this is all symptomatic of a good thing!  We have lots of produce to give to our members, thus we get to play Truck Tetris and we have lots of containers, etc to clean up.  I'll take it.

We saw you unload the truck.  Where's our cut of the produce?

Who Said it Could be Fall?
We have learned that Mother Nature does not need our permission to do anything.  But, we're still unhappy with her decision to start the growing season late and try to end it early.  We've had two frosts on the farm so far.  The second was light and did minimal damage.  The first frost found us outside after dark doing our best to cover things.  We couldn't, of course, get everything.  So, many things are pretty much done now.  We're most unhappy with the damage to the Winter squash.

It looks like the breeze is still too much for the covers....

But, on the other hand, frost adds clarity to our tasks on the farm.  Summer squash and zucchini get hit pretty hard?  Yep.  I guess we look at removing them and putting in a cover crop.  You get the idea.

Fall is Planting Time!
And, then there is Fall planting.  We hope we're getting the timing right this year.  But, every year has been different and it always seems like our available work time sneaks away from us before we know it.  The picture below shows some of the plants we have that are going into the high tunnel this Fall.

Yes, it is September.  yes, these are new plants.
We're pretty certain we got some Fall root crops in at the right time. 

Some turnips anyone?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your input! We appreciate hearing what you have to say.