We still have several nice containers that were left at the potluck lunch last weekend. If one is yours, let Donna know which one and she will add it to the next box you receive. There is also a child's book, which must have fallen out of a car in our parking area.
Down on the farm: As always happens in spring, our crops are beginning to grow faster. During the next few weeks we'll be finishing up the winter crops. So, while you still can, enjoy the lettuces, carrots, beets, spinach, and Daikon radishes. It's a good time to eat lots of greens-even if they are the less nutritious ones like lettuce.
In most parts of the country, there is not as much overlap as we have here-when they have cool season crops, that is often all they have. But, since we rarely have to worry about a crop-killing freeze or frost, we are usually able to grow many of the warm season crops (tomatoes, peppers, and squashes) all winter. So, we still have them now, too, although all our peppers and tomatoes-especially cherry tomatoes-are in short supply this week. Old crops are finishing up and the new ones are not producing much. So there will be fewer in the boxes for a few weeks.
We are continuing to battle the diamond back moths for the right to consume our brassicas (mustard family crops). Last week I saw a lot of the adult moths flying around our baby kales, so I knew they were laying eggs which would hatch soon. This week there were young DBM caterpillars on our plants, so Miguel has sprayed twice. We obviously have several generations in different stages because there are also pupae, which will soon be adults and lay more eggs. The good news is that, since it's not raining much, the black rot bacteria is not spreading, so, if we can control these caterpillars for a few weeks, maybe we can harvest some decent broccoli and various kales before it gets too hot.
If you see a tomato in your bag of tomatoes that looks more pink, compared with the usual orange-red ones, it is probably a 'Pink-A-Licious', a new variety bred by one of the seed companies we work with. They were generous enough to give us some plants. These are medium size fruit and have a good flavor-a balance of sweet and acid.
Second part of my irrigation explanation: Over 25 years ago, the owner of the farm had a drip irrigation system installed on the Hagen Ranch Rd. side of the farm. He knew it was much more efficient than subsurface seepage and also hoped it would enable the farm to use recycled water from the wastewater treatment plant. (That never worked out because the county didn't build the pipes under the road then. Of course, they did build them when they built the Green Cay Wetlands, which is actually a means to clean the nutrients out of that recycled water.) At that time, this drip system was a "state of the art" system, with underground pipes feeding all the blocks, a 2 part filtering system, a fertilizer injector, and a computer which ran 7 different zones. However, since most of that farm land has now become the Green Cay Wetlands and Flavor Pict Rd., we use only zone 1, and the computer and injector gave up long ago.
The good part is that we still have the main pipes leading to the fields from the pump and filters on the southeast side of the present farm. So we are able to hook up the manifolds in each block to that main line each fall when we install the drip tape. I use it as a manually operated system, which works fine since this small farm operates on only one of the original zones.
There are two main reasons we use the drip system, even though we have the subsurface seepage irrigation (see last week's newsletter): Our short-season, shallow rooted crops, such as the baby greens, do not grow roots deeply enough to access all the water they need from the subsurface seepage. And, with drip irrigation, we can easily and instantly apply water and/or chemicals to the crops' roots. Usually this means fertilizers, although I have used the system for microbial products or pesticides.
Irrigation systems are rated for efficiency. A more efficient system means we can apply water to the plants without losing much of the water. If installed and operated correctly, micro or drip irrigation can be the most efficient irrigation system. That's because it puts the water exactly where the roots are. It does take more careful management than the less efficient systems, which put out excess water to be sure the plants have what they need.
What's in your box this week: cherry tomatoes (fewer than usual) tomatoes (also fewer) bell peppers??-probably the miniature yellow or red 'lunchbox' variety salad mix a head of lettuce beans (2 in large boxes) broccoli or cauliflower??? beets or carrots Daikon radishes (large boxes only) a cucumber or two spinach (large boxes only)
Enjoying your veggies: The beans in all boxes this week will be yellow Roma type (flat beans), although large boxes will have green 'Maxibel' too. Roma-or Romano or Italian flat- beans can be cooked like other green beans, although they may need a little longer cooking time. They're popular because they hold up well to longer cooking-in soups or stews, and make an attractive salad. Any snap/green bean freezes well, and blanching before freezing helps them keep their texture and flavor longer. (The National Center for Food Preservation has an explanation of why blanching is recommended. http://nchfp.uga.edu/questions/FAQ_freezing.html#26)
We've never put two kinds of lettuce into the boxes, but we're going to do it this week. In order to keep from losing these iceberg lettuce heads, we'll harvest them early. Most are not as solid as iceberg lettuce usually is, so you won't have as much lettuce as you usually get from a head of it. So we'll include salad mix, too. Since very fresh lettuce keeps pretty long, most of you should be able to use this much. The big "wrapper" leaves on the iceberg will make great wraps-and there are an amazing number of ways to use lettuce on the internet! Let me know if you find some interesting ones that you like.
Around our area: If you'd like to learn more about Florida agriculture, this may interest you: The Collier County Agricultural Bus Tour is on March 21 this year. For complete information, and to sign up, check this website: http://www.2018colliercountyagtour.eventbrite.com (The cost is $60 per person, which includes lunch.)
EXTRAS: The best way to order extras is to email Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.)
From Culturful.com Please order 1 week in advance! Beet Kvass 12 oz. bottles $3.50 3 liter (100 oz.) "pouches" $25 Snappy Carrots 16 oz. Glass Jar $8 Made from Organic Carrots, Red Onions, Garlic, and Ginger. Their gingery, umami flavor will go well with your salads, sandwiches and wraps or as a tasty snack. Savory Beets 16 oz. Glass Jar $8 Made with Organic Beets, Red Onions, Garlic and spices. They have a tantalizing savory taste and beautiful color. Enjoy as you would any crunchy condiment and use the ruby colored juice as a vinaigrette for your favorite salad or have as a "gut shot". Zippy Tomatoes 16 oz. Glass Jar $8 Made with Green Cay Produce's own homegrown Cherry Tomatoes, Celery, Red Peppers, Garlic and Dill. They are garlicky and simply dill-icious!!! Eat straight from the jar or add some zip to your fresh vegetable juice, gazpacho or even a Bloody Mary. Turmeric Cauliflower 16 oz. Glass Jar $8 Made with Organic Cauliflower, Carrots, Celery, Red Peppers, Red Onions, Garlic and Turmeric. It has a beautiful golden color and taste that will complement any dish.
Locally grown Flowers : (Still waiting to hear that these tropical flowers have recovered from the cold) Caribbean Exotics, Delray Beach: long-stemmed Heliconia-large, impressive "ginger" flowers $20 plus tax (most stems are about 3' tall) 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 have orders for.
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. (3 lb.) glass jars $17 2 lb. glass jars with comb $18
Extra tomatoes Green tomatoes $2/lb. 'Sauce' tomatoes-these are tomatoes which are small and/or have more flaws: cracks, bruises. If you buy them, plan to use them within a day or two. They are sold only in a 20 lb box for $15.
Hot peppers (sandwich bag with 4-5 peppers-mix or match. $3 Jalapenos Datil peppers-small yellow hot peppers (https://www.slowfoodusa.org/ark-item/datil-pepper) REALLY HOT peppers: chocolate (color, not flavor!) Bhut Jolokia; red 'scorpion'; yellow 'Scotch bonnet' We try to put all 3 kinds in a bag, but sometimes may run out of one.
Microgreens, sandwich bag $3 (mix may contain radishes, arugula, purple kohlrabi, , and/or red kale) may not be available on Monday
Baby greens 8 oz. bag $3 TEMPORARILY OUT: 'Tuscan' kale 'Elegance'-a colorful, slightly spicy mix of mustards and some Asian greens 'Red Russian' kale Arugula Spinach (last week or two-most is bigger spinach now)
Larger greens $3/bag (large bunch or head) TEMPORARILY OUT: Tuscan kale Collards Curly kales Chard- white or red stems-or a mix Escarole Frisee endive Watercress, small bunch (we were just trying this, so there is only a little available) NEW! Iceberg lettuce (not solid heads)
Other vegetables NEW! Beans $3/lb. Green 'Maxibel' or yellow Roma type (flat) NEW! Daikon radishes $3/lb. (a pound is 3-4 of them)
Herbs (some are from our farm, some from Pontano Farms) $3/bunch basil chives cilantro dill garlic chives lemon balm mint specialty mints: peppermint, orange mint, pineapple mint oregano rosemary sage "tarragon" thyme
Lemongrass $3 for 1/2 lb. (about 5 stalks)
Farm contact information: Donna (Office) 561-638-2755 email@example.com Nancy firstname.lastname@example.org