Busy day yesterday being one crew member short and at the same time trying to prepare a bit for the potential rain tomorrow. I say one crew member short, but not really – just one of the four of us on vacation. Most farms of our type that I know don’t really do summer vacations but for me it’s important to be able to take some time in the summers to recharge and so I make that an option for everyone on the crew and I’m happy when people take advantage of it – and even happier when they come back, refreshed!
The share this week is heavy on the tomatoes, and with a little luck, it’ll continue to be for the next few weeks (more notes on tomatoes in a follow up post soon). Cucumbers and summer squash continue to be staples, but they’re slowing down a bit. Two Ailsa Craig sweet onions this week, and we’ll be giving out a lot more onions in the next few weeks. Lettuce, celery and carrots round out the share – all a bit ragged from various summer stresses, but still tasty.
In preparation for potential rain tomorrow, one of our tasks yesterday was getting the storage onions whose tops are drying down out of the field so they don’t get wet. We still have one more round of sweet onions to give out in the next few weeks, as well as some more red onions. We’re also pulling in all of the shallots and storage onions and we’ll give some of those out before the end of summer, and some of them we’ll hold onto to put into the early fall shares.
In addition to pulling in onions yesterday we managed to plant escarole for the fall shares, one of my favorite fall salad crops! I also seeded watermelon radishes, Gilfeather’s turnips (more of a rutabaga, but ultimately better than any other turnip or rutabaga), and hakurei turnips – all for the fall shares. A little cooling rain tomorrow should actually help these germinate nicely.
For the farm stand we’re harvesting padron peppers, some chard bunches, trebona beans, tsakoniki eggplant, and we might have a few extra summer squash and cucumbers. Basil is available for special order, and next week we’ll start having the Ulysses sauce tomatoes for special order as well. The u-pick area has lots of cherry tomatoes, padron peppers, the first jalepeños, many herbs and cut flowers – and they all need to be picked so don’t be shy. Stay tuned for more information on tomato varieties (or look back through the social media posts from last summer for my notes then – pretty much the same as this year I think).
Last week my good friend and fantastic farm Photographer Shawn Linehan came and took some photos. I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve been a little too busy to take many photos this year, and I’m terrible about getting photos with people in them, so it was especially nice to have her get photos with both the crew and some of our wonderful CSA members. A link to the full gallery is here.
On the topic of flowers (which is why I picked that particular photo above), our CSA member, Sarah Fry, who has been offering beautiful bouquets through the farm stand just let me know that her garden is transitioning back to fall veggies right now so this week was the last week of flowers from her. Fortunately we have an abundance of blooms in the u-pick section – and they’ll keep producing more if you pick them, so pick lots! The same goes for the herbs, padron peppers and cherry tomatoes, and I think I saw some other hot peppers starting to ripen as well.
Back to predicting what we’ll be harvesting next week, likely candidates are: lettuce (butter or romaine, not sure which yet), more sweet onions, summer squash, cucumbers, a few stalks of celery, and many tomatoes. The summer squash and cucumbers seem to be slowing down a bit, but we had a big tomato harvest Thursday and I expect it won’t be our only big one.
There are a few other possible items for the share that I’m keeping my eye on. The chard is producing well, but I’m not sure I want to over do it so we’ll probably take a week off. Sweet peppers and eggplant are slow this year. We sampled the eggplant on Thursday but my guess is that we’ll only be putting it in intermittently over the next month or two. Peppers look like they’re another week or two away, but I could be surprised. At some point soon we’ll be digging more potatoes, could even be next week. Beets are the other crop that comes to mind, but I think those might also need another week or two to size up, we’ll see on Monday.
We’re still picking smaller quantities of Romano beans and padron peppers for the farm stand, and we can pick basil to order (give us at least a day advance notice). I always try to have a few extra greens up there as well as small bits of the veggies that didn’t quite fit into the regular CSA numbers.
Pretty close to as predicted: Nevada summer crisp lettuce, a couple of cucumbers, a couple of summer squash, a few tomatoes, a handful of beans, red onion, carrots, chard and basil. Padron peppers and eggplant made it to the farm stand, along with some other extras and some beautiful flower bouquets by our talented CSA member, Sarah Fry.
The big rain this weekend was probably mostly good for the farm, as I was feeling like we needed a little extra water and the skies delivered. It will probably mean more weeds to knock back in the short term, but we’ll take it. Ironically, we picked the first of the dry beans this afternoon – our soranas that will be shelled later this fall. Dry beans aren’t part of the CSA shares, but we’ll have them for special order. We have more dry beans that will need to be picked soon, and we’ll also be pulling all of the onions and shallots soon to cure those for storage, so I’m hoping for dry weather for a bit at this point.
Besides a pretty decent harvest day we also managed to get a quadruple planting of fall lettuce in, a share or two worth of kohlrabi, and I was able to seed some spinach (fingers crossed for good germination – we haven’t had great luck the past few years with fall spinach). I was also able to get more cover crops seeded which always makes me happy – nice to get the soil covered with something other than weeds to help keep it productive.
Here’s my best guess for next week’s harvest: Swiss chard, carrots, celery, romano beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, onions, and lettuce. Basil and eggplant are two outside possibilities but it is more likely that we’ll have them on the farm stand. The original plan had sweet peppers starting next week; on my field walk they’re looking good but probably not ready to harvest for another week or two. We will have padron peppers at the farm stand, and some of the hot peppers might be ready in the pick your own section in the next week or two.
Besides hot peppers, in the pick your own section the flowers are looking great and I’d love to see folks picking even just a handful to take home for the table (or pick a big bouquet!) Cherry tomatoes are just starting to come on and we have four varieties this season.
This time of year gets a little repetitive with week after week of cucumbers, summer squash and tomatoes – but the season for those is so short and there are so many options for preparing them that I hope you all are enjoying the abundance. Last year wasn’t a very good cucumber year, but this year we’ve had more than we expected. So far the chard has also been more abundant than expected and so we’re continuing to harvest it more heavily than we planned. There are a few crops that haven’t worked as well – no provider green beans this year, less eggplant than I hoped for – but that’s the typical variation from year to year, some things do better, some do worse, so we plant a wide range and do our best to give them all a good shot at being productive.
In the field this week we made some good progress on knocking back weeds, and planting chicories and roots for the fall. The cool weather is also conveniently for germinating our final round of lettuce seeding in the greenhouse. Unfortunately last week’s heat made our first round of fall spinach starts bolt before we could get them planted, but we’ll try for a direct seeding and see if we can make that work, along with the second round of transplants still coming up in the greenhouse.
We’re a at the half way mark for summer and the tomatoes are finally here. We harvest the tomatoes with a range of ripenesses, and mostly we try to pick them before they’re dead ripe. This give you at least a few days to eat the tomato before it’s over ripe. We also harvest some that are a day or two away from being really ready, which again, gives you a few more days before you need to eat the tomato. If you want tomatoes that will make it back to your house in good shape, and will be prime a few days after they get to your house, pick the firmer, lighter colored tomatoes and then let them sit out on your counter. The warmer the spot you leave them in, the faster they’ll ripen. I’ll try to do a post with photos of all of the varieties when they’re all ready. For today we had a mixed batch with some Black Krim, Pruden’s Purple, Matina, and Red Racers to choose from.
Similarly, with the summer squashes we’re growing we’re picking a variety of sizes, leaning toward larger squash, but putting out a mix of sizes for folks to choose from.
Today’s share also has cucumbers, which are still going strong, red leaf lettuce, Romano beans, sweet onion, and beet greens. The beet greens are the thinnings from our next beet crop which should be ready for a full harvest in a few weeks.
Today we also got to plant the radicchio and pan di zucchero for the fall shares, two of my favorite crops. With a little luck, on Thursday we’ll also get around to seeding a bunch of the roots for fall, and the final lettuce planting of the year.
Romano beans, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, summer squash, chard, tomatoes were all in the plan for the share when I made it up in January.
First, some notes on expected changes from the original plan: unfortunately the cool season mixed with symphylans (a little soil dweller that eats roots) has really set the eggplant back and it’s just starting to recover. The tomatoes are coming in very slowly. It’ll probably be a small share of those, but we did have enough of the early matina and red racers to give out samples on Thursday last week. Last week we also gave out chard so I’m thinking we’ll give it a week to regrow and see if we can get another green, possibly the kale or collards, into the shares. Beet greens are another possibility as we have a planting that might need some thinning – and beet greens are basically chard… We also have a few wild cards that could show up in the shares any time: celery, onions, and carrots.
On the farm stand I’m hoping we’ll have basil and padron peppers. If those are favorites of yours make sure to check them out. The other peppers are looking pretty good but they’re still a few weeks out from harvest, at least. On the basil, if you’re looking for larger quantities to make pesto please send me a note and let me know how much you’d like – I can try to let you know if we’ll have enough and to reserve some for you.
We had a good week of planting and preparing for more planting of fall crops next week. It’s been so busy that I’ve been forgetting to take photos while I’m at the farm (of everything except for irrigation meters). Here’s a photo of some of the vegetables from the farm that are currently in my fridge (I eat a lot of the weird looking ones).
This weeks share is pretty close to predicted. Yesterday was a long day so I’m a bit late in posting this photo of the share. We did get a lot of fall planting done though so that was good.
In the share is butter lettuce, Romano beans, summer squash, red potatoes, red onion, cucumbers, chard and just a few padron peppers.
The beans are just starting so it was a small share and we hope to have more next week. The padron peppers are just a sample and we don’t have enough planted for big shares, but there are some in the you pick section that will be ready soon, and we’ll be selling larger quantities at the farm stand. They’re mostly not hot (unless they get too big) and I like them best fried in oil and tossed with salt, then eaten whole. I’ve also found that the larger, spicy ones, do make a nice salsa.
With the warm weather we saw the very first ripe tomatoes – not quite enough to fit into the shares yet but they’ll be here soon. I was hoping to get one last summer bunch of collards in the share but they’re not looking too good from the warm weather so we’re giving out chard instead. Collards and kale will be on vacation until the weather cools off again in the fall.
Yesterday’s long planting list included more collards and kale. We also planted more parsley and fennel, and I seeded the last round of carrots. Fingers crossed for a good fall harvest!