LOST AND FOUND from our Open House: A pair of silver salad tongs, which were brought with a salad, are missing. Also, someone left a large, rectangular, white plastic container with lid and some plastic serving utensils. If you know anything about either of these, please let Donna know so we can get them to their rightful owners. Thanks.
Down on the farm: It's easy to see that it's February-everything is growing way too fast! The tomato plants that you saw during the Open House are still producing good tomatoes, despite some plants that we cut out since they had viruses and others which died from Fusarium, a soil-borne fungicide. The plants were scheduled so that we should have had production until the new ones start-and we still might. However, in this warm winter, those old ones have produced too much too fast, so we may have a couple weeks of fewer tomatoes soon. Cherry and heirloom tomatoes will probably run out first. Most of the new plants are about 3 weeks away from their first production.
This is going to be our best beet crop of this season, although I'm afraid that isn't saying much this year. Remember that beets are sweeter when weather is cool. (I think we all slept through that hour or two this year.) Even if these aren't very sweet, those of us who like beets are generally glad to have them. These are growing well and shouldn't be as "woody" as the last ones. The nice thing about beets is that you don't have to use them right away. We do rinse them a bit to get off some of the dirt, so, if you want to store them, check to be sure they are dry. If necessary, dry them or add a paper towel or something to absorb the moisture, and refrigerate them in the plastic bag or container. They should easily keep for at least a couple weeks, but check them periodically to be sure none is starting to mold or rot.
Good news for you bitter greens fans! Escarole and endive are ready-or, at least, as close to being ready as I dare let them get right now. If we start to get rains with this heat, they'll get diseases inside of the tight heads. So, we'll start selling them while we can. Because these are not very popular, we just grow a small number to sell as extras. The good thing about them is that (unlike our other lettuces), we don't need to worry about them getting bitter if the weather is too warm! (Mmmm-I'm thinking about a beet and escarole salad this week.)
Seed to Bloom owner and grower Laurie and her helpers sell at 3 Green Markets every weekend: Lake Worth, Wellington, and Jupiter. The Jupiter one was unexpectedly canceled at the last minute today (Sunday morning). So she brought us the all locally grown vegetables she had planned to sell there, giving us some extras, especially early in the week. That's the main reason why everyone will get eggplants this week.
Basil used to be easy to grow in south Florida. After all, it's a crop that grows best in warm weather and is damaged as temperatures get down towards 45F. But about 10 years ago, a new disease moved in: basil downy mildew. It's a different fungus than the ones that cause downy mildew on squashes and melons and on crepe myrtle. It actually kills plants, especially when it gets into our little transplants or microgreens in the greenhouse. It's more of a problem in cool weather-and it has been cool enough for it to grow this season. Because of this, I have pretty much given up trying to grow basil during the winter. But we're going to try to start planting this week. One variety has some resistance to the disease, but it will get it also if conditions are favorable enough for the disease. Some fungicides work to control it-we do use a couple, but, since the basil is in with our other herbs and greens, we are limited in what we can use there.
One thing that is evident from running a CSA farm for 16 years is that some of our best subscribers are (or were) gardeners. That's because they appreciate really fresh produce and they know how difficult it is to grow things-especially here. Several of those subscribers who are also gardeners told me last week that caterpillars were eating their plants. I recommended they use Bacillus thuringiensis, an organically approved pesticide that works on most caterpillars (except diamond back moth larvae, as I proved early this season!), as long as you spray often enough, which may be every 3 days. For more detailed information on it, see the Dec. 12-16 newsletter.
What's in your box this week: Salanova lettuce mix, probably with nasturtium flowers cherry tomatoes a pepper or two green onions broccoli, cauliflower, or baby bok choy (probably 2 in large boxes) tomatoes beets (no greens unless you ask Donna to leave them on) eggplants or summer squashes arugula (large boxes only)
Enjoying your veggies: We didn't grow a lot of bok choy this season-but there is enough to fill in whenever we don't have enough broccoli or cauliflower. We used to grow the big heads, which most of us know only as the big slices in Chinese food. Now most people prefer the "baby" bok choy, so we grow more of them now. In fact, there are some varieties that were bred especially for being cut as baby bok. The most common way to prepare them (at least for us less experienced cooks) is to slice them lengthwise and grill, sauté, or braise them. The flavor is mild, so most recipes call for some kind of a sauce with them.
A little housekeeping: Donna will be sending out the invoices for March this week. Payments will be due March 1, of course.
Please remember to order your extras BEFORE 7 AM on the day you will be getting the box (and preferably at least a day before). Delivery boxes leave here as early as 8. And, for those who pick up their boxes, even though you might not pick it up until afternoon, the boxes are all assembled early in the morning and put into our cooler until it is time to put them out for pickup. So we need those extras orders early, too.
Around our area: During the Open House, I was surprised to find that a few people had never been to Green Cay Wetlands and Nature Center. (They were mostly people who lived in north county, so that's understandable.) This "constructed wetlands" used to be part of the 300 acre farm which was Green Cay Farm. If you have guests visiting during the winter-it's a great (free!) place to take everyone. Check the website if you want to go inside the Nature Center, since it is open only limited hours. However, the boardwalk is open "sunrise to sunset". .http://discover.pbcgov.org/parks/Pages/GreenCay.aspx#.WKi7Pm8rLX4 Wakodahatchee, a smaller, older wetlands is on Jog Rd.-almost directly east of Green Cay.
Another agriculture and natural resources note about Belle Glade: Subscriber and professional photographer Sarah Brown wrote that she has a photo exhibition at the Museum of the Glades through May. It's called In the Glades, A Decade of Photographs, and is a collection of her photographs from Lake Okeechobee, the Pond Apple Islands, and surrounding estuaries. The museum hours are Tues-Sat from 10-4 or by appt. Their website is www.museumoftheglades.com I didn't even know about that museum-it sounds interesting. I'll be visiting it when we get to a less busy time of year.
Check www.mounts.org for information about programs and events at the Mounts Botanical Garden. Next Sunday is their "Dogs Day in the Garden", and March 2nd there is an evening program about Palm Beach County wildflowers.
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 or wildflower only) 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 Honey with comb 1 pt. glass jars $17
Herbs (some are from our farm, some from Pontano Farms) $3/bunch basil?? celery (It's not a herb, but we are going to sell this in a bunch like herbs. This is the skinny celery most of you saw on the farm tours.) chives cilantro 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 (True French tarragon is almost impossible to grow here. This is Mexican mint marigold, which is used for tarragon in the south and west. All winter it also has small, yellow, edible flowers.) thyme
'Baby' Greens $3.00/bag (8 oz. bag) Baby kale mix: 'Red Russian' and/or Tuscan kale 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 purple kohlrabi) Salanova salad mix Spinach-leaves are larger than most baby greens
Larger greens $3/bag (large bunch or head) Escarole, large head Endive, large head Swiss chard- red, white, or mixed Curly kale- green, red, or mixed Collard greens TEMPORARILY OUT: Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato or alligator kale)
From Yagnapurush Farm, Loxahatchee: 'Namwah' bananas -short and slightly chubby $1.60/lb. or 3 lbs for $4 LAST WEEK FOR THIS SEASON: Black sapote ("chocolate pudding fruit") $4/lb. (most fruits weigh 1/2-3/4 lb
Squashes Seminole pumpkins, and/or a few small butternut squashes $1.50/lb. Spaghetti squashes $1/lb. (just a few left)
Tomatoes "Slicers"- mixed varieties $2.50/lb. Green tomatoes $2/lb. (for frying or pickling!) Heirloom tomatoes $3/lb. Mix or match (if the ones you want are available) Let us know when you plan to use them and we will do our best to send you some that will be ripe when you need them. yellow 'Amana', purple 'Cherokee purple'-smaller than the other 2 red/pink 'Pruden's purple' "Sauce tomatoes" -about 20 lbs. of tomatoes that are overripe, smaller, or have more cracks or other marks than the more expensive tomatoes we sell. These are available at this price ONLY by the half bushel box-not in smaller quantities. $15
Other Vegetables and fruits from our farm NEW: Baby bok choy $3/lb. Daikon radishes- 1 lb. $3; 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 NEW!Pansies box of 10 bright colored flowers, $3 (Bet you didn't know these were edible. They look pretty, but the flavor is not great. That's why they're usually covered with a sugar glaze and served with deserts.) Hot peppers: Jalapenos or yellow 'Datil' peppers mix or match 3 peppers for $2 Kohlrabi $1.00/lb. 'Superschmelz' The seed company (Bakers) says it doesn't get tough even when it weighs 10 lbs.-but ours are only about a pound or two. Tell us about how many pounds you want. (probably last couple weeks for them) Papayas $1/lb. (green or turning yellow) Baby Turnips: $3/lb. white 'Hakurei'; no greens because the caterpillars chewed holes in them