Down on the farm: If it's April this must be summer. Experienced subscribers know what happens when the weather turns hot: some crops-and most pests-grow very fast, while other crops just give up and die. All lettuces are in that latter category, since they bolt, so I'm hoping to be able to have Salanova for at least this week and next. Last year we had it until April 15, so, if we can make it for these 2 weeks, it will be similar timing. I recently tasted some in the field that was bitter, and some of you may notice that bitterness. (Someone once told me that the reason all these heavy salad dressings were developed is because a lot of the lettuce that people are eating doesn't taste good. So, now is the time to use those dressings!) The nasturtium flowers are also going downhill quickly.
Tomatoes are back! They are still the regular 'Amelia' and 'Skyway' varieties that we usually grow, but there are some that weigh a pound. Apparently since they were growing in that cooler weather in March, they had time to grow very large before they started to ripen. Usually tomato fruits get larger when there are fewer on a plant, but some of these plants have 8-12 of these enormous fruit. That does take a lot out of the plant, though, so any later fruit on these plants will probably be sparse and small.
We planted a late crop of heirloom tomatoes, but I apparently missed the timing of some pesticide applications since I did see a lot of whiteflies in early March. Not surprisingly, all 600 of those heirloom plants are infected with the tomato yellow leaf curl virus, most before they produced any fruit. Many of the 'Amelia' plants now have it, too. 'Skyway' is resistant, although not 100% because I saw one of those plants which had it. We used to think that, once a plant had that virus, we could pick what it had already produced, but it wouldn't produce any more fruit. And, of course, we always want to remove the infected plants to slow down the spread to younger plants. Two years ago, however, our experience on this farm showed us that the plants will still grow and even produce more fruit when they have TYLC. So, since we aren't putting in any new tomato plants at this point, I'm going to leave these and see if we can get anything from them. Yes, the virus does take something out of the plants, so we'll spray with some extra nutrients. By spraying them directly on the leaves, they won't have to go through the plants' vascular system, so may get directly into the upper leaves and fruit. Many citrus growers are using similar applications to try to save trees with citrus greening (which is a bacteria, not a virus). When we lose our annual crops, we can grow more in a couple months. But a fruit tree requires years to grow, so loss of trees is even worse than when we lose crops.
We have some green beans from Perez Farm (not the filet type, so they are fatter, but they don't seem to be tough), And we will soon have some of our own. And we'll hold off on eggplants this week, because I don't want you to get too tired of them before our new crop is ready.
What's in your box this week: Salanova lettuce mix, probably with nasturtium flowers tomatoes cherry tomatoes broccoli peppers beans summer squashes Brussels sprouts (large boxes only) arugula (large boxes only)
Enjoying your veggies: For weeks Donna has been suggesting that we put Brussels sprouts in the large boxes. I have hesitated because so many people don't like them. However, partway through last week, the temperatures made me realize that we were going to lose a lot of them if we didn't use them faster. So I finally decided it was better for some of you to get them instead of losing them. We've always just used them for extras, so you were probably surprised to see them. And a lot of you have never seen them sold "on the stalk". Just twist the individual sprouts and they usually come off easily. Roasting is the easiest way to prepare them-and does concentrate the natural sugars somewhat. Donna likes to leave them on the stalk until after they are roasted, but I take them off first. So, either way works.
In case you still have beets in your fridge, long time subscriber (and food critic) Gail recommended this cold pink borscht recipe: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/magazine/18food-t-001.html She said they've made it twice, and suggested the fresh dill garnish. A chilled soup is appropriate for our weather now.
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. $53 (orange blossom or palmetto) 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) Baby kale: 'Red Russian' 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
Larger greens $3/bag (large bunch or head) Escarole (I planted a small late crop-heads are small, but we will put a couple per bag.) Swiss chard- red, white, or mixed NOT MUCH: Collard greens NOT MUCH: Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato or alligator kale)
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 Green tomatoes $2/lb.
Other Vegetables and fruits from our farm Brussels sprouts (on the stalk) $1/lb. Eggplant $3/lb. Watermelon radishes $3.00/lb. -large radishes, pink inside . Fennel $3/lb. (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) LAST WEEK Papayas $1/lb. (green or turning yellow)