Monday, July 18, 2011

Update From the Farm

It’s mid July and the weeds are high and the rain is sparse. Thank GOODNESS we had the Justice Works team out last week helping us! We had 12 volunteers, Monday through Friday, who did nothing but weed and help us harvest. They are a community service group from Doylestown and I can’t sing enough praise about them. We can actually see our peppers again, (no joke, they had gone missing under a blanket of weeds for about a month). Now if only they could stay another week and help us find those onions! The peppers you got in your share last week were a tantalizing preview of more to come…but you’ll have to be patient. We harvested those because as the peppers were reintroduced to the sun after the weeds were removed there was a good chance they were going to get sun scald. This is literally a sun burn on peppers. They have very sensitive skin and develop white soft spots when exposed to the sun suddenly. We harvested some pepper to save them from this fate. Now that the plants are back in action, relieved from the weeds, we will let them grow for a bit, to develop bigger, and sweeter peppers. Many of our peppers will turn from green to red or orange as we let them ripen on the plant.

Some of you may also be wondering why there were green tomatoes on the table on Friday (don’t worry Tuesday people, we will put more out on Tuesday). Usually we have green tomatoes at the end of the season. Normally, right before a frost we will harvest anything on the plant because we know they will not turn red. No, we are not expecting a mid summer frost! We have been doing some late pruning on plants that have already developed fruit, so in an effort to never waste food, we are sharing them with you! We prune our tomatoes so that they have better air circulation and are less prone to disease. We also prune them to encourage the plant to make larger tomatoes, instead of a larger quantity of smaller ones. Those more abundant but smaller tomatoes we get from our cherry tomatoes plants, which we do not prune.
Some of you may have noticed the garlic resting in the rafters of the CSA pick up area. We are letting it cure up there where is it nice and dry and warm, so that when you receive it you can keep it on the counter and it won’t go bad. Curing is the process of drying and sealing so to speak, so it won’t mold like it would if it were fresh and kept in a place hospitable to mold. The same process happens to onions which is why they don’t need refrigeration either. Curing also encourages any energy left in the plant leaves to go down into the bulb, which is where we want it since that is the part we eat.

In other news, our hoop house tomatoes are producing! (A hoop house is like a greenhouse. They are the plastic and metal structures you see at the farm.) We have a small planting of tomatoes in our hoop house which put them ahead of our field tomatoes. We can only fit so many plants in the hoop house, so these harvests are small and we will rotate what time they are out on the table. But fear not, the field tomatoes are right around the corner and soon we will have enough for all!

So please do a rain dance and pull a few weeds as you pick your basil, and we’ll be in good shape!

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