Down on the farm: (This is going to be another short, early newsletter because of some other obligations I have this weekend.)
I think I finally figured it out: the way to do this is for us to take off the third or fourth week of January, not of December. In December things are still growing and ripening from our usual leftover warm fall weather. By now, few crops are doing anything. Having a week to catch up would let some things grow and ripen.
By the way, for those of you who buy the delicious Namwah bananas from Yagnapurush Farm: their bananas are just like our tomatoes and peppers-very slow to grow and ripen during the winter. Their farm is out in Loxahatchee where it is even chillier than here.
This local food thing can be a challenge, can't it? Can you imagine if you had to depend on just local food right now (or in the heat of the summer)? Although, for those who like greens and root crops, this time of year would be fine here! If you've read one of the books about people who tried to eat completely local food for long periods of time-even up to a year-you know that at times their diet did not have much variety for weeks at a time-sort of like how people had to eat over a century ago. We will all be healthier this month, eating all our leafy veggies.
Our two main Green Market customers, Seed to Bloom (at Lake Worth, Wellington, and Jupiter) and Cat's Produce (at Delray Market) are taking tomatoes that are days-even a week!-away from being ripe. Many of their customers are not as sophisticated about foods right from the farm as you all are-they often expect everything at the markets to look perfect and ripe, just as it looks in grocery stores. So they are not always willing to wait for tomatoes to ripen. But Laurie surprised me by saying that she had sold almost all her tomatoes last weekend. Then she told me it was because people were buying them to make fried green tomatoes! It's one of those dishes that people invented out of necessity, and a desire not to waste food, and now it has become a specialty. Where else, other than a local grower, can you buy green tomatoes, or squash blossoms, or fennel with the tops still on?
And, although I personally don't like working in the cold (Ok-it's just barely cold), this is the weather we need to slow down many of our pest problems. We have cut our spraying down to half this week. And I am willing to trust the milder organic pesticides when "pest pressure" is not as high.
I'm hoping to get some good green beans for this week. Beans don't like cold weather-when it gets cold out in "The Glades", the first thing to be killed or badly injured is the beans. Cold winds can be especially damaging to their tender leaves. So far ours look ok (and taste good, too)-it's just a matter of how much they are going to produce at this time of year.
What's in your box: Salanova salad mix cherry tomatoes (2 in large boxes if we do not have many other tomatoes) peppers?? may have to be green ones tomatoes-few and not very ripe broccoli or cauliflower??? green beans carrots spinach Cherokee lettuce (large boxes only)
IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN!Our annual Subscriber Open House will be February 13th and 14th. This Open House is not open to the general public, but subscribers are invited to bring friends and/or family. Each of those days, there will be farm tours at 9AM, 11AM, and 1PM.Tours usually last about an hour, or slightly longer.
There is also a potluck lunch at noon each day. If you want to come share lunch with other subscribers, reserve your spots in either the 11 AM or the 1 PM tour, so you can eat after or before your tour. If you will be joining us for lunch, you don’t have to tell us what you’re going to contribute to the potluck. We just eat what everyone brings and always seem to end up with a good mix of main dishes, salads and other side dishes, breads, and desserts. (Sometimes it seems to be a little heavy on the desserts, but I haven't heard any complaints about that!) We supply the drinks, plates, and eating utensils. The only requirement for that day is that you do reserve your spot in a tour group. Please e-mail your reservations to Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org .We need to know 3 things: 1. your name (not the names of everyone in the party-just the subscriber who is making the reservation); 2. the TOTAL number of people in your party (please count the children, too); 3. which DAY (Saturday Feb. 13th or Sunday, Feb. 14th) and the tour TIME (9, 11, or 1) you wish to attend.
Donna will send you a confirmation within 2 days. If you don't receive that from her, please check with her again to be sure she got your reservation.
We try to limit each tour group to 50 people, so, if your first choice is full, we may ask you to change to a different time. If you are bringing a big group, please send in your request early to reserve spaces. If you don’t know how to get to the farm, let Donna know where you’ll be coming from and she will e-mail the directions to you. (Your GPS will get you close but it won't know where the true entrance to the farm is.)
A few tips for attending our Open House: All ages are invited. Everyone usually enjoys picking samples of cherry tomatoes, herbs, and/or carrots, depending on what is ready. (Please don't plan on stocking up to make sauce, though!) The tour walk is less than a half mile, but the ground can be a little rough-not all strollers will work on it. We will have an electric golf cart available for those who may wish to come, but can’t make the walk. (If you will need that for someone in your party, please let Donna know when you are making your reservation.) And not everyone has to take the whole walk-you can drop out at any time and go back to your car or sit down in our greenhouse and have a drink. Please remember that this is a real working farm, not a theme park: everyone should wear clothes appropriate for the weather, and shoes that can get dirty, especially if there has been recent rain.
Since this is such a rainy winter, I need to add some comments, too: in case of rain at your tour time, you may choose to come to a different tour. If we have to cancel anything, we'll put a message on our answering machine. So, if you are in doubt about whether to come, please call the farm office: 561-638-2755.
Weekly extras:The best way to order extras is to email Donna at email@example.com by 2 PM the day before you get your box.If you are ordering later than that, please call 561-638-2755 and leave the message on the machine, since we don't always have time to check email in the mornings. (Those ordering for Monday boxes should call and leave a message, since you don't receive this list in time to order by email.) Flowers require earlier orders since we have to order them from other farms. For more information, please check the "Weekly Extras" section on the subscriber pages of our website.
Locally grown Flowers (for Tuesday boxes, order by noon on the Friday before your box; for Thursday and Friday, order by noon on Wednesday). For information about these flower growers and some pictures of their flowers, check the Subscriber Business Links on our Subscriber section
Seed to Bloom, Loxahatchee: colorful mixed bouquets-whatever is in season $10.00 each (Sorry-not available for Monday boxes.)
Herbs (some are from our farm, some from Pontano Farms)$3/bunch basil cilantro Thai basil lemon basil mint (This generic mint is actually spearmint.) specialty mints (apple, peppermint) oregano parsley rosemary sage tarragon thyme
Baby Greens$2.50/bag Salanova salad mix8 oz. bag Microgreens, sandwich bag (mix may contain radishes, arugula, kale, and/or purple kohlrabi leaves) Baby arugula 8 oz. bag Baby kale 8 oz. bag Spinach8 oz. (this isn't really baby, but I want it on the $2.50 list!)
Larger greens$3/bag (large bunch) Curly green kale Broccoli leaves NEW! Cauliflower leaves (to me they taste just like the broccoli leaves-slightly bitter) Tuscan (lacinato) kale We're out of Swiss chard and collard greens for a few weeks-we cut them all, so they need to grow back.
Other Veggies and fruit from our farm (sorry-no regular size tomatoes) fennel bulbs$3/lb. tomatillos$4/lb. 'Cherokee' tall red lettuce$2.50/each green tomatoes $1.50/lb. STILL A LITTLE LEFT: kohlrabi: bag of 3-5, depending on size, with leaves$3 Bell peppers, probably only green $2.00/lb. (3-4 per pound) Lunchbox snack peppers-mostly yellow, few orange and red $4.50/lb. Eggplants-several colors available $2/lb Papayas $1.50/lb. (most weigh 2-3 lbs.)choose green or yellow/almost yellow Hot peppers:mix or match;sandwich bag of 4-5 peppers$3 Jalapenos-green or red, hot (still only a few available) Cherry bomb peppers-round, red, hotter!