Down on the farm: Just in time for the holidays, we finally have good supplies of large tomatoes and cherry tomatoes! And this little cool spell may give us a longer broccoli crop. A lot of the broccoli isn't too pretty because the heads spread out when we had that warm weather, but it still tastes OK. We're also including lemongrass once more since the last time we did it was an "A" week, and we wanted both biweekly groups to get a chance to have some of it. This may be the last week for Salanova-we'll see how it looks and tastes in a week.
Last week the headline on the on-line version of Vegetable Grower magazine read "Biggest Vegetable Insect Threats for 2017". The accompanying photograph was: a diamond back moth. Although I already knew that these pests are a problem in Florida this year, I found minor comfort in reading that we're not the only vegetable production area having trouble controlling them. The article quoted entomologists from several states who talked about what problems they anticipate for growers in their states in the coming season. The entomologist from Florida noted that it will probably be a bad spring for whitefly transmitted viruses in tomatoes and cucurbits and that they are watching for diamondback moths, since they were very hard to control in the southeast last year. (Obviously he was referring mainly to growers in central and north Florida who are in the early part of their seasons.) Like us, Arizona is in the midst of its vegetable season, and the entomologist there also wrote about difficulty in controlling the DBM, and mentioned thrips and whiteflies as other big pest problems that growers are having.
So, what contributes to making these insects more of a problem in the last few years? Here, of course, we have not had our usual cold spells in the last 2 winters, and I'm sure weather is a factor in those other areas, too. Another factor is that DBM has characteristics that enable it to develop resistance to the newer pesticides very quickly.
The characteristics that make these pesticides safer (than many older pesticides) also make it easier for pests to become resistant. A term called "Mode of Action" (MOA) means how the pesticide kills its target organism: what chemical reaction in the pest's biochemical processes is affected. Some pesticides only have 1 MOA. ( I once heard someone ask an entomologist if a certain pesticide would affect humans. His answer was "only if you molt", since this particular pesticide-a type called an "insect growth regulator" -killed certain insects by stopping their molting, which meant they never developed into adults.)
So, if an insect happens to develop a mutation that can bypasses the chemical process which is affected by that pesticide, it becomes resistant to that chemical. Since other insects in the population are still being killed when we treat with that pesticide, only the insects which have resistance go on to breed. So with each generation, a higher percentage of the insects in the population are resistant. Since insect generations can be very fast, that resistance can develop quickly. And, here in south Florida those resistant populations can stay around from season to season.
Most older pesticides had several MOAs. Often that meant that they affected a similar biochemical process in other insects, fish, birds, or even humans. Then, of course, they would be dangerous to those other organisms, as well as the target pests.
What all this means for us this week is that I don't expect to have kale of any kind because it has too many diamond back moths on it. Kale and cabbage seem to be their favorites, which is why we haven't had cabbage this season. So far we have had to mow it all without even harvesting any. The arugula has fewer holes in it and fewer caterpillars on it, so I think we can still wash it off well enough to be palatable for most people.
Donna and I were surprised at how many subscribers didn't know that we had Brussels sprouts, since they have been on the Extras list for weeks. If there is something we need to do to make the Extras list more available to you, please let us know.
I don't usually do this, but I'm partial to pet rabbits since we once adopted one that was once abandoned here at the farm (and they don't have as many champions helping them as do dogs and cats.) One of our subscriber families is moving and needs a home for their rabbit. Mr. Whiskers is about 5 years old and is a rather unique rabbit, since he has spent his life on a screened-in porch. (Owner Veronica says he walks several times around their pool each day.) He will bring all his toys and cage/bed with him. If you're interested, let me know and I will put you in touch with Veronica. After all, it's the perfect week to get a rabbit!
What's in your box this week: Salanova lettuce mix, probably with nasturtium flowers tomatoes cherry tomatoes broccoli peppers beans (green 'Maxibel' or yellow 'Gold Play' summer squashes lemongrass a cucumber? Brussels sprouts (large boxes, Monday only) arugula (large boxes only)
Enjoying your veggies: Subscriber Gerri noted that she will be roasting cherry tomatoes with the broccoli Monday night. Combine broccoli with tomatoes, a little garlic (maybe) and salt, then sprinkle with olive oil, drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over then roast (400-450F about 15-18 minutes).
EXTRAS: The best way to order extras is to email Donna at email@example.com 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.)
Cut flowers require earlier orders since we don't keep a supply of them here. We order just the number of bouquets that we need from the other farms.
Locally grown Flowers (for Monday and 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. $9.50 plus tax
Caribbean Exotics, Delray Beach: long- stemmed Heliconia-large, impressive "ginger" flowers $20 plus tax (most stems are about 3' tall)
McCoy's Honey-raw, unfiltered, locally produced http://www.mccoysfloridahoney.com/ 1 lb. glass jar $5.00 each palmetto only (When these are gone, we will no longer be carrying 1 lb. jars.) 3 lb. plastic jug $14.00 each (orange blossom, palmetto, wildflower) 1 gal. $52 (orange blossom or palmetto; 12 lbs. honey) 8 oz. bee pollen $12
LeDuc "Flavor Pict" Honey (most from his Loxahatchee hives, although some are on our farm) Honey 1 qt. glass jars $17 (new crop) Honey with comb 1 pt. glass jars $17
Herbs (some are from our farm, some from Pontano Farms) $3/bunch basil chives cilantro?? It bolts in warm weather so it won't be available much longer. dill lemon balm (It's like a lemon mint) mint (This generic mint is actually spearmint.) specialty mints: chocolate mint, apple mint, peppermint, orange mint oregano parsley rosemary sage "tarragon" thyme
Lemongrass $3 for 1/2 lb. (about 5 stalks)
'Baby' Greens $3.00/bag (8 oz. bag) Arugula 'Elegance' mustard greens mix-slightly spicy mixed mustards with some broccoli raab leaves Microgreens, sandwich bag (mix may contain radishes, arugula, red kale, and/or mustard greens) Salanova salad mix (LAST WEEK?)
Larger greens $3/bag (large bunch or head) Swiss chard- red only
From Yagnapurush Farm, Loxahatchee: 'Namwah' bananas -$1.60/lb. or 3 lbs for $4 short and slightly chubby Squashes Seminole pumpkins $1.50/lb. and/or a few small butternut squashes Yellow squash or zucchini $2/lb.
Tomatoes Red slicers $2.50/lb. Mixed cherry tomatoes sandwich bag $3 Green tomatoes $2/lb.
Other Vegetables and fruits from our farm Brussels sprouts (on the stalk) $1/lb. Watermelon radishes $3.00/lb. -large radishes, pink inside (LAST WEEK). Nasturtiums box of 10 flowers and 10 leaves $3 mixed color flowers, slightly spicy flavor; flowers and leaves can be tossed into fresh salads, and there are recipes for stuffing the flowers (probably about 2 more weeks) (STILL SOME AVAILABLE) Papayas $1/lb. (green or turning yellow) Farm contact information: Donna (Office) 561-638-2755 firstname.lastname@example.org Nancy email@example.com