8th Summer Share, Week 14

Left to right in the photo: celery, Siskiyou Sweet onions, summer squash, tsakoniki eggplant, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet peppers, and chard.

As predicted the lettuce is on vacation for a week but it’s looking like it might be back next week. The chard is beautiful right now so it’s providing a bit of green and bulk to an otherwise super dense share. The celery is the other green. The leaves are useable but in large quantities tend to add a little bitterness. The stalks add tons of flavor to salads or soups.

Tomatoes are all on at this point and I’ll try to do a post at some point with more information on the different varieties. Some folks have asked about buying bulk quantities for saucing and that will be possible. We planted an entire row with that in mind – email me if you’re interested and we can figure the right quantity and timing for you (the same goes for basil).

We brought in all of the remaining onions and shallots over the last two weeks. We’ll be giving those out over the next couple of months. Again, I’ll try to do a separate post on the selection we have and key features. This week is the last distribution of Siskiyou Sweet, a walla-walla sweet type, great raw, but also good cooked, and perfect for onion rings.

Eggplant are in today’s share but won’t be in Thursday’s as Thursday got their first round of eggplant two weeks ago. We’re going to try to continue alternating harvest weeks in an attempt to give out larger quantities fewer times over the course of the summer.

Week 14 Predictions

What is this crazy hot weather we’re seeing this summer? Back up into the 90’s again next week? It does match fairly well with our planned summer share actually, as we intentionally drop most of the cool weather greens in the summer and focus on getting all of our members to the point where they don’t want to see tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers again until the following summer. So, next week we should have tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers in the shares, again. Monday should also see eggplant for the first time this year, but Thursday got it two weeks ago so we’ll shoot for a Thursday eggplant harvest in a couple of weeks.

The peppers seem like they’re coming on slowly. We may have some thinnings of green peppers, or slightly colored peppers next week. All of the peppers we’re harvesting for the shares are sweet. We do have a few hot peppers planted in the you pick area that aren’t quite ready yet, and the padrons we’ve been selling at the stand are mostly not hot, although a few always are.

I can’t quite tell if the next round of carrots will be ready for Monday. We’ll definitely have onions. Lettuce is another one that may not be ready but I’m hoping the chard will be ready for another harvest so there’s at least one green thing in the share. Wild cards are celery, potatoes, and beans – all unlikely but possible at any moment. Basil should probably also fall into that category. We’ve been having an absolutely amazing basil year after several years of nearly complete basil failure.

Stay tuned to see what actually happens next week…

7th Summer Share, Week 13

Another hot week, another round of vegetable goodness from the farm. We’ve got the same number of items in the share this week as most weeks, but mostly dense fruits and roots, and no bulky greens so it looks a bit smaller. Tomatoes are really starting to produce, and the first large slicers went out today along with the Matina saladettes. We also planted a row of Ulysses Edera sauce tomatoes that we’re selling at the farm stand, and they’ll probably make it into the share at some point as well.

Summer squash and cucumbers are slowing down a bit, but we’ll keep them in the shares as long as we can. Lettuce is also a little smaller this week with today getting Dark Green Romaine and Thursday likely getting Samanta, our red heads. Beets are back with the variety 3 Root Grex, a multi-colored, multi-shaped mix all in one planting.

Basil is doing really well this year so we have nice bunches this week. The onions also look good and this week we have more of the Monastrell red onions we gave out a few weeks back.

As always, there are plenty of culinary herbs, cut flowers and cherry tomatoes in the u-pick section. I recommend sampling the cherry tomatoes as you pick to figure out what stage of ripeness you like best.

That’s it for this week’s share. We’re selling more of the Romano beans at the farm stand and extra basil for those who might want to make a big batch of pesto. We’ll have a few other items as well, including the very popular Padron peppers. Up until now the only way to pay at the farm stand was to put it on your tab, but as of today I’ve decided that we can take exact change if you really prefer to pay in cash (we won’t make change though, sorry about that).

August Video Tour

Plus, watch the second video to see the amazing donut tomato…

Thanks for watching!

Week 13 Predictions

Summer vegetables are definitely here now. Tomatoes are starting to ripen more consistently and we’re starting off with Matina, an early red saladette type. We have four other larger slicers that should be in the shares soon and the first of those, as quantities are extremely limited, will be available at the farm stand. Cherry tomatoes are ripe in the u-pick patch! Please take advantage as they need to be picked regularly. I highly recommend sampling a variety of ripenesses as you’re picking to find your sweet spot. Consider picking a bit under-ripe and ripening them on your counter for a few days, or even a week, for a consistent supply.

Eggplant is finally producing enough for a decent share. We’re planning on alternating weeks with eggplant to get a decent amount for each share. We’ll start by thinning green sweet peppers next week, but the sweeter colored versions should be coming in a few weeks.

Summer squash and cucumbers are slowing down every so slightly with the shorter days, but they’ll continue to be in the shares for at least another month before they’re gone until next year. Onions will become a weekly staple for a bit. Next week we should have a round of beets. The variety is 3 Root Grex, a cross between three varieties really with multiple colors and shapes and a sweet, earthy flavor.

We’re on the edge of a gap in our lettuce plantings but we should still have some next week. Basil is the other green/herb that will likely be in the share next week (at least for Monday), so good with the tomatoes and summer squash!

Remember that we have culinary herbs and flowers in the u-pick as well. There are plenty so don’t be shy, and feel free to take some for drying for the winter as they’re in peak condition right now. The herb flowers are useable as well, and several of the cut flowers are edible and make salads and cakes beautiful!

6th Summer Share, Week 12

The predictions for the share were pretty good, but one surprise was the chard. Last week we tried to harvest and it was covered in black aphids so we just left it. This morning it was almost completely cleaned up by lady bug larva that had moved in to feast! We harvested some nice bunches and we’ll hope for more soon. The lettuce today is from a mix of two plantings, for some there is leftover Nevada crisp from an older planting, and a for others there’s some young Dark Green romaine. The Romano beans continue to be delicious. We’re clearing a weedy planting of carrots so there’s a good amount of carrot in the share. Summer squash and cucumbers continue and we finally have just a couple of the first small Matina tomatoes from the hoop house. We’re to starting to harvest and distributing our onion crop and this week we have Siskiyou sweet onions, similar to Walla Wallas.

We’re selling some of the extra harvest items for folks who want more, and we’re also sending a bit of it to the Cully Farmers Market on Thursdays. Typically this is small quantities of summer squash, cucumbers, the same greens we’re harvesting for the CSA, and basil. We have small quantities of tomatoes and beans too this week, and I’m guessing we’ll add some eggplant at some point.

We’ve gotten a lot of comments on the heat, and it has definitely been changing the way we work a bit. I’ve been trying to save a few jobs in the shade for the afternoons so we can get a break from the sun. Mostly it doesn’t get really hot until after lunch for us. We’ve been taking lots of water breaks, and probably working a little more slowly. We’re also giving some of the needier plants a little more frequent waterings, and they’re growing great with all the heat. The exception has been some newly planted fennel that didn’t do well, and some lettuce seedings that were slow to germinate, but other than that the crops we planned for are doing well and not only that we’re on top of all of the field work, a minor miracle! Actually, it’s probably due to having a great crew that knows how to get work done.

Week 12 Predictions

Here’s a rare shot of the crew hand weeding carrots. Thankfully we’ve been able to avoid most hand weeding this year by being good with our timing on hoeing, but the carrots got away from us. Thankfully there was some shade cast on the carrot field to work in yesterday afternoon. It was a hot one. This is the longest consistently hot strong etch I can remember in my 18 years of farming here in the Portland area. Thankfully it is cooling off overnight so the mornings aren’t so bad.

The heat is increasing our irrigation routine a bit. It’s hard to say what other impact it will have longer term. It may cause a little gap in later tomatoes (high temps can prevent pollination), and it’s delaying some of the planting for fall crops and increasing stress on ones that were planted recently but we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out. Conditions are rarely ideal, and ideal for one crop is definitely not ideal for others so this is something we prepare for as much as possible and I’m not at all worried about it.

Predicting next week’s share is tricky. Lettuce is a bit behind so it may drop off for a week. Cucumbers and summer squash seem to be going strong. Onions will be back, and romano beans should be too. Beets and carrots are likely to show up, and we’ll try to harvest a bunching green to round out the share if the lettuce isn’t ready. I’m hopeful we’ll have tomatoes, but it feels like they’re ripening very slowly (there’s a huge set of fat green ones right now).

The cherry tomatoes are just starting to ripen in the you-pick section so make sure to check those out. We have the same three varieties as last year – Santiam sunrise (a dehybridization of the popular sungold), black cherry, and gobstopper.