BEGINNING NEXT WEEK: Our Monday and Tuesday box schedules will be changed for the weeks of Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Please see the "Housekeeping" section below for schedule information. Merry Christmas to all who will be celebrating next week! Down on the farm: If I can't complain about the weather, what would I write about? You all know I am happy to anticipate fewer pest problems for at least a few weeks. Of course, the cold did damage some crops: mostly it just burned leaves. Even some crops that don't often show damage had burned leaves. When most plants are exposed to cold temperatures, they actually change their chemistry to protect from the cold: we say they are "hardened". But that doesn't happen instantly-it usually takes a few days. We went from very warm to very cool quickly, which is probably why we saw damage on crops that ordinarily would not usually be damaged by 44 degrees.
Of course, crops also grow more slowly when the weather is cool-and days are short, too. But we were lucky that we had tomatoes, peppers, corn, and even a few cucumbers that were already close to maturity. So your boxes still contain a pretty good variety. However, since the crew cuts baby greens almost every day, we did get behind on those-waiting for new ones to grow. (Too bad-we could have sold a lot more of them to restaurants this week since the Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival is going on right now.)
Probably the most vulnerable to cold of all the vegetable crops grown commercially in this area is basil. (You may have seen the leaves turn brown or black if you've ever refrigerated it.) Yesterday we mowed our old basil plants (which already had downy mildew anyway) but we'll keep the younger plants since they'll put on some new leaves. In a couple weeks we can probably make some small bunches. But, for south Florida farms which are selling basil that has to meet commercial standards and be shipped somewhere, much of the basil grown in this area is a complete loss. (A few areas on some farms may be more protected so some survived with minimal damage.) Growers often cover basil with rowcover fabric, but this time they did not get to it in time-especially with the rain which preceded the cold front.
Purple tinted leaves are a common symptom of cold weather that you may see on plants in your landscape and garden this week. That's a reaction to cold-actually a phosphorus deficiency, since the plants can't take up phosphorus well during cold weather. It is usually temporary-will go away as the weather warms up.
Dennis (LeDuc Honey) was here to check his bees this week. He was putting a treatment for varroa mites into the hives. He told me that he has been using a treatment made from the naturally produced chemical compounds in hops, and so far it is effective. Varroa mites can completely kill a colony of bees-and often do if the hives are not treated. If you have friends or relatives who want to join our program, our mid-season sign up begins on January 8: the application will be available on the website at that time. That sign up period lasts until January 31. (And we thank so many of you for recommending us to others!)
What's in your box this week: cherry tomatoes tomatoes corn (hopefully for all the days who didn't get it 2 weeks ago) cucumbers bell peppers broccoli??? baby carrots "watermelon" radishes beets (large boxes only) spinach or lettuce (both in large boxes)
Enjoying your veggies: By now almost everyone knows that the baby carrots you buy in the stores are not true baby carrots. (I've been in a processing plant where they are "made"-simply by cutting down big carrots.) As far as I'm concerned, anything that gets people-especially children- to eat more fresh vegetables is a great idea. However, this week you will get some true baby carrots. These are mostly the 'Imperator' variety, which will grow into a normal size orange carrot. We're harvesting some of them early because they are too crowded in the field anyway. Most chefs don't even try to peel these thin carrots-just scrub them well and steam or roast them, or add to your salad.
A little housekeeping (notes from Donna): Last reminder: if you have donated boxes to the Caring Kitchen in 2017 and would like a receipt for those, please let Donna know by Dec. 31.
HOLIDAY SCHEDULES: The Monday A (and weekly) boxes that should be on Dec. 25 will be made on Tuesday, Dec. 26. The Tuesday A (and weekly) boxes that should be on Dec. 26 will be on Wednesday, Dec. 27. On the next week, the Monday B (and weekly) boxes that should be on Jan. 1 will be made on Tuesday, Jan. 2. The Tuesday B (and weekly) boxes that should be on Jan. 2 will be made on Wednesday, Jan. 3.
Thursday and Friday boxes will not be changed either week.
If your box is delivered to a business or institution that will be closed during these weeks, please be sure to make another arrangement with us-skip your box or pick up at the farm during those weeks. As usual, if you need to skip a box, please let Donna know ASAP.
And the best news is that, after Jan. 3, there will be no more changes in the regular schedules this season!
AROUND OUR AREA:Our annual Open House and Farm Tours will be Feb. 10 and 11. We hope you can visit us one of those days for a tour and maybe share your cooking skills with other subscribers by joining us for our potluck lunch. More details beginning in January newsletters…
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.)
Beet Kvass – For information, check their website, www.culturful.com 1 week advance order please! 12 oz. bottles $3.50 3 liter (100 oz.) "pouches" $25
Locally grown Flowers : Caribbean Exotics, Delray Beach: long-stemmed Heliconia-large, impressive "ginger" flowers $20 plus tax (most stems are about 3' tall) If it gets too cold in Delray Beach, these tropical flowers will not be available for a while. These 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 farm.
McCoy's Honey-raw, unfiltered, locally produced http://www.mccoysfloridahoney.com/ 3 lb. plastic jug $14.00 each (orange blossom, palmetto, or wildflower) 8 oz. bee pollen $12 12 oz. honey bears (orange blossom only) $4.50 each
LeDuc "Flavor Pict" Honey (some hives are on our farm, some are in Loxahatchee) Honey 1 qt. glass jars $17
From Yagnapurush Farm, Loxahatchee (Sorry-may not be available all days): 'Namwah' bananas -$1.60/lb. or 3 lbs for $4 (short, chubby bananas)
Microgreens, sandwich bag $3 (mix may contain radishes, arugula, purple kohlrabi, mustard greens, and/or red kale)
Baby greens 8 oz. bag $3 'Elegance'-a colorful, slightly spicy mix of mustards and some Asian greens 'Red Russian' kale Arugula
Larger greens $3/bag (large bunch or head) Collards Chard- green, white or red stems-or a mix Curly kale-green or red/purple Mustard greens-a medium green mustard; large leaves with frilled edges
Herbs (some are from our farm, some from Pontano Farms) $3/bunch basil (probably not!) chives cilantro dill garlic chives mint NEW! specialty mints: peppermint, orange mint oregano rosemary sage "tarragon" thyme
Lemongrass $3 for 1/2 lb. (about 5 stalks)
Other vegetables from our farm: Romano beans: green or yellow or a mixed bag $3/lb. Snap beans: 'Velour' purple filet type $3/lb. Cherry tomatoes-red and yellow mix $3/sandwich bag Eggplant (not many right now): round ones or small skinny ones, or a mix $3/lb. Butternut squash $1.20/lb. Spaghetti squash $1.50/lb. (big ones or small "single serving" type Calabazas (Tropical pumpkins) $1.50/lb. (smaller this year: most about 4-5 lbs.)