Wednesday, August 15, 2012

CSA Week 10

Mixed salad greens coming back!

We are just now, finally, seeing our tomatoes ripen(!). Many of our farming friends (including ourselves) have been stumped as to what has been taking the tomatoes so long to ripen. A recent Cornell Cooperative Extension newsletter article dubbed “The Mystery of Unripening Tomatoes” explained that lycopene and carotene, pigments responsible for giving the fruit their typical red appearance cannot be produced when it’s as hot as it has been this summer.
We are still irrigating, and our pond has not completely dried up. But as we move into weeks where we should be swimming in peak summer crops, we are instead having to divvy out the short supplies of what we have (eggplant being the exception!). Some of our CSA groups are getting one item while others receive something different, but, all in all, the share is turning up just fine.
We do see a break this week in terms of getting some rain and having temps staying in the 80s. And many of the crops Ken seeded down in the last few weeks are beginning to pop up (as in pic). So while we cannot completely recover our losses from this summer’s epic hot, dry weather, we are hoping to recoup with crops that do well in the fall.
Many parts of New York have received continuous relief from drought in the last few weeks (we understand there was even flooding this week in the city). Frustratingly, most of these storms have missed our farm, often skirting our side of the Mohawk River--or have not fallen with any duration or emphasis (see map). (Last night's rainfall was not heavy but was slow moving, giving the ground some time to soak things in!)
Plants need about an inch of rain a week to grow healthfully, and we’ve measured about a total of 2 1/2 inches rainfall on our farm in the last 65 days.

 Consequently, we should be harvesting sweet corn now, but the plants are knee high and the ears inadequately developed. (see pic, below)
We should be swimming in melons, but the 2,400-foot crop is only sparsely producing some fruit now.
Our 2 acres of winter squash plants are at the size they would normally be in early June with little to no sign of any “fruit” developing it. 
Our potato crop is nearly nonexistent.
We explain this not to bellyache but to keep members informed as to how things are shaking out here and what happens on a farm when there’s inadequate precipitation.
Fortunately, we still mange to pull together a decent share each week (if not our dream share). And we have plowed under a lot of what didn’t make it to make room for the new. If there were a theme song for the week here, we’d have to pick John Lennon’s “(Just Like) Starting Over.” We keep moving forward.

Share List:
3 heads of garlic
Red Cabbage and/or beets and/or carrots*
1 bunch fennel (2 in a bunch) or cucumbers or zucchini*
1 eggplant
2 jalapenos
6 ounces salad mix

*(share contents varied among distribution sites due to short supplies, noted in the above letter)

Fruit Share:
1 pint blueberries
2 pounds mixed plums, Shiro and Ruby Queen


If this cooler weather has you nostalgic for a bowl of soup, or if you are looking for a fresh idea for what to do with all your garlic, Cara Wolinsky, our stupendous Turtle Bay CSA coordinator in Midtown, recently tried this Smitten Kitchen garlic soup and reports it was delicious. (thanks to Scott for the photo)

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