Summer Predictions – Week 13

Next week is the final week of our summer season and it seems the weather has already transitioned to fall. Somewhat amazingly I don’t think we’re going to be far off of our harvest projections due to the weather – although the tomatoes have virtually shut down so we’ll see if we get any of those. Sweet peppers seem to be doing fine with this weather, not sure how long that’ll last but I’m hoping they’ll continue for a few more weeks. The cucurbits are basically done; we might have a few stragglers on the farm stand, but the projection was for last week to be the final week for cucumbers and summer squash and it was right on. Lettuce should be good, and I’m thinking we might have some of our summer planted kale and collards (fingers crossed that the brassica white fly hasn’t gotten to them yet). On the list for next week is a round of shallots and we definitely have those. Parsley is another strong possibility with a second planting looking like it’s ready for a first harvest and the original spring planting coming back, too. I’m thinking we might put carrots in the share again as they’re nicely sized up and it would be good to move through that bed.

I had the opportunity yesterday to uncover and hoe a bunch of the fall crops that are under row cover. The row cover protects them from various insect pest but it makes it hard to see what’s happening with the crops. They’re all looking good under there so I’m optimistic for good fall harvests. Laura and Tiiu were also able to pick a lot of our dry beans before it starts raining again. We’ll be selling those later in the year through special order – after I have a chance to shell and clean them. The early dry bean varieties are mostly in, but we still have a lot of later varieties that I’m hoping we’ll get more dry weather for.

One last note: our fall CSA is full but if you want a share let me know – I’ve started a waiting list. If you’ve already signed up for fall I’ll be sending out an email about the fall shares next week so look for that in your inbox.

Summer Share – Week 12

In the share today: celery, sweet peppers, summer squash, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce and chard.

The sharp turn in the weather really put the breaks on the tomatoes. The plants still have lots of fruit on them so I’m hoping we’ll get a little more sun and warmth before the end of summer to ripen some more. This is probably the last week for summer squash and cucumbers, although that was expected and the plan all along. Peppers are coming in well and would be helped with a bit more heat, but we’re still harvesting all of the varieties – 8 sweet sweet pepper varieties this year, although 3 are pretty much the same. Bridge to Paris, Stocky Red Roaster and Karma are all very similar and I can’t tell them apart at this point; they’re all red horn shaped peppers. The Jimmy Nardello, a long, thin frying pepper, and Liebesapfel, a red, round paprika type, are the earliest and the most prolific. We also have the orange-red Gypsy Queens, Gatherer’s Gold – a yellow version of Stocky Red, and an orange bell-type, Eituda which is new for us this year.

The potatoes are German Butter Ball and these are the last of the potatoes for the year. We have A LOT of chard right now so big bunches – I’ve been braising it which makes it much smaller, and very delicious.

There wasn’t much field work done today, just a little weeding in the wet. We did get some onions cleaned for the fall shares. There is still one more week of summer shares after this week. Fall will start the week after that and I’ll send out confirmations and details on the fall shares next week to folks who have signed up for shares. We’re fully subscribed right now which is great!

Summer Predictions – Week 12

Late again on the predictions, apologies for that but I thought I’d give a short note before the harvest tomorrow. It’s been wet and cool so we’ll see how that has impacted the crops – the cucumbers and summer squash were already slowing down so my guess is that the cool wet weather isn’t going to help. It will probably be nice for the greens and roots so my prediction is: lettuce, chard, celery, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet peppers, and maybe some summer squash and cucumbers. The tomatoes will likely be in smaller quantities than the past couple of weeks. We’re still taking orders for sauce tomatoes, but there’s a waiting list at this point and we’re probably a week or two out on that. The potatoes will be the last distribution of the year, German Butterballs, a delicious yellow potato that stores well.

Last week I mowed down the last of the summer buckwheat cover crop and we got in the final plantings of the year – lettuce, spinach and mustard greens. From here out there’s a good bit of hoeing to keep the weeds down on those final plantings, we’re still irrigating until it starts raining in earnest, and we’ll be starting to put in the winter cover crops soon.

Summer Share – Week 11

Beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, summer squash, peppers, and lettuce. A pretty solid summer share and it’s nice to see the peppers coming on. The hot peppers are starting to ripen as well. We don’t put those in the CSA shares but they are in the pick your own section, and we’ll try to have some on the farm stand for folks who want them. We’re growing jalepeños, szentesi, and aji dulce. The szentesi are cute little red balls that have very sweet, thick walls, and nice spicy interiors. The aji dulce are a bit slower to ripen but we had one today. They look a bit like a small orange habeñero, but they’re not nearly as hot and they have an incredible citrus flavor.

The share has the last of the sweet onions for the season. The beets are with their greens, which are basically chard and should be very good eating.

Monday (which I guess is actually Tuesday this week) is seeing samples of the little Tsakoniki eggplant that Thursday got samples of a few weeks ago. For a few reasons (cold weather and pests primarily) the eggplant hasn’t been producing much this year so we’ve just been putting the small quantities that it is putting out on the farm stand for folks who really love it.

For pick your own there are tons of cherry tomatoes right now, and the flowers also need to be picked. We’ve opened up the romano beans for u-pick out in the field. You’ll have to sort through some over ripe ones, but there are still good ones in there too. As always, there are lots of herbs in the u-pick too.

Summer Share – Week 10

A slightly bigger share today than originally planned. We pulled all of the Amarosa fingerling potatoes today so there’s a big pile of those. We’re giving them all out now but they’ll keep in a cool dark place – a cupboard or the fridge – for months if you don’t use them right away. At this point we only have one more variety of potatoes left to dig. Tomatoes are coming in strong right now and the cucumbers and summer squash are still holding on. For the second year in a row the chard is holding well through the summer so big bunches of that, as well as a good sized head of butter lettuce for the greens. All of the onions are out of the ground now and we’re slowly cleaning them. Two red onions in this week’s share. For the most part the onions we’re giving out will also keep well in a corner of the kitchen for at least a few months – the one exception there might be the sweet onions we gave out last week and will probably give out one more time. Sweet peppers are just starting and we’ve got Jimmy Nardellos , which look hot, but are probably the sweetest we grow, and just a few of the first liebesapfels, a nice round paprika type with thick walls.

I like vegetable varieties with good stories and with the Amarosa potatoes I always feel the need to mention that it’s a variety that was bred here in Oregon at OSU. I had the opportunity to grow it before it was a named variety. The lettered and numbered designation for the breeding line at that point started with POR. Because it looks a bit like small sausages with it’s all red flesh, for some reason Porgy Pig is the name that always comes to mind. Amarosa is probably a nicer name, with no copyright issues, but I’ll always think of them as the Porgy Pig potatoes.

Summer Predictions – Week 10

We’re in full summer mode with the shares these days. Lots of tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers hanging on, sweet peppers just starting to ripen and still some lettuce. We’ll probably pull more potatoes next week and give out onions. If the chard is looking good we’ll put that in too, or maybe parsley.

Lots of cherry tomatoes and flowers and herbs in the you pick section. Hot peppers are starting to ripen there too. We’re still taking orders for bulk basil, and we’ll also have sauce tomatoes for bulk orders for anyone who wants to can or freeze some, or just have more for a week. Email one day in advance for special orders.

Summer Share – Week 9

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).