Down on the farm: This week Santa and Angelica started to plant watermelon seeds to grow the transplants for our spring crop. Seedless watermelons are rather finicky, and will not germinate well in cool weather. So, when we do actually get them planted on time, they often have to spend a few nights in the office. It sounds like the lowest temperatures this week will only be in the 50s here, so maybe they can stay outside. This is a very destructive storm coming across the south-sadly with people killed in Mississippi and Georgia and a lot of homes and businesses destroyed. There's still a high risk of tornados in north Florida and south Georgia. According to The Weather Channel, they have never issued a high risk warning like this in January. We tried to get almost everything in the packinghouse for Monday, just in case this weather comes in and stays for the morning.
The green onions are now on our extras list, since there are lots in our fields. The 3 varieties we have this year are: 'White Bermuda', 'Texas Supersweet', and 'Red Burgundy'. These are all short day onions, which are usually the only types we grow here in the south. A few are showing signs of starting to bulb, which isn't good, since I wanted the plants to get bigger before they did that. Onions are classified as short day, intermediate, or long day varieties. When the daylength reaches 10-12 hours, the short day varieties bulb. Intermediate types need 12-14 hours, and the long day onions need a 14-16 hour day. Our daylength is approaching 11 hours now, so it isn't surprising that some of our short day types are beginning to bulb.
Of course, here in south Florida we don't ever quite reach a 14 hour day, which is why the long day onions wouldn't ever form bulbs here. The tricky part is that we need to grow the onion plants to a good size before they reach their critical bulbing temperature. And, we do have a relatively short window for onion production because, if we start these short day types too early in the fall-when the days are still over 10-12 hours-they will make tiny onion bulbs right away. (They're about the size of the little cocktail onions, which are sold in jars.)
What's in your box this week: Salanova lettuce mix, probably with nasturtium flowers broccoli and/or cauliflower (hopefully 2 in large boxes) cherry tomatoes red peppers (not as many!) green onions mixed herb bunch: thyme, rosemary, and oregano tomatoes Seminole pumpkin root vegetables or summer squash: whatever is available (large boxes only) spinach (large boxes only)
It's time for some mixed herb bunches. Last year Donna convinced me to revive this practice that we had done years ago. Most of you don't want a whole regular size bunch of herbs at one time, so this gives you smaller amounts and a mix of herbs, too. These 3 are perennial, woody Mediterranean herbs, so they store and dry more easily than succulent herbs such as basil, parsley, and cilantro.
We know by our "extras" orders that several of you are really good at using fresh herbs. We also suspect that other subscribers never use them. (Yes, it is often easier to shake a dried herb out of a can or jar than to prepare the fresh ones.) Those in the first group of herb users need no help. So these little tips are directed more to those in the latter group:
Keep these herbs refrigerated in plastic bags or a covered container so they don't dry out. But water on the leaves will cause them to rot faster, so don't wash until you are just ready to use them. (And please do wash them before using.)
To substitute fresh herbs in a recipe that calls for dried ones, use a lot more of the fresh ones: generally 3-4 times as much. In Florida it can be difficult to air dry herbs because of our humidity. But there are lots of other ways to dry them. One information source is the National Center for Food Preservation: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/dry/herbs.html
These 3 herbs can be added as whole sprigs to a dish during cooking, but the stems are too woody to eat, so you need to remove them after cooking. Or, you can take the leaves off the stem before adding them and chop the larger ones (rosemary and maybe the oregano) and add to your recipe at any time.
A little housekeeping: Donna has emailed statements for February. Payments are due February 1. Remember to check your statement because, if you have purchased extras or did not include payment for the extra week last month, you will need to include those in your payment this time. Thanks.
Around our area: (Still the same announcement that was in here last week. I'll add some information to it on Jan. 29 and Feb. 5.) Our annual Subscriber Open House will be February 11th and 12th. This Open House is not open to the general public, but subscribers are invited to bring friends and/or family. Each of those days, there will be farm tours at 9AM, 11AM, and 1PM. Tours usually last about an hour, or slightly longer. We try to keep the tour groups to less than 50, which is why we ask for reservations.
There is also a potluck lunch at noon each day. If you want to come share lunch with other subscribers, reserve your spots in either the 11 AM or the 1 PM tour, so you can eat after or before your tour. If you will be joining us for lunch, you don’t have to tell us what you’re going to contribute to the potluck-that's why it's called potluck! (But please do contribute-if you don't have time to make something, bring some good bread or a deli dish or dessert.) We just eat what everyone brings and always seem to end up with a good mix of main dishes, salads and other side dishes, breads, and desserts. (Sometimes it seems to be a little heavy on the desserts, but I haven't heard any complaints about that!) We supply the drinks, plates, and eating utensils.
The only requirement for that weekend is that you do reserve your spot in a tour group. Please e-mail your reservations to Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org . We need to know 3 things: 1. your name (not the names of everyone in the party-just the subscriber who is making the reservation); 2. the TOTAL number of people in your party (please count the children, too); 3. which DAY (Saturday Feb. 11th or Sunday, Feb. 12th) and the tour TIME (9, 11, or 1) you wish to attend. Donna will send you a confirmation within 2 days. If you don't receive that from her, please check with her again to be sure she got your reservation. And, if you need directions to the farm, she can send those to you, also.
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 amount 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, wildflower, or palmetto) 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 chives cilantro dill mint (This generic mint is actually spearmint.) specialty mints: chocolate mint, apple mint, peppermint, pineapple mint,orange mint oregano parsley rosemary sage?? tarragon (True French tarragon is almost impossible to grow here. This is actually 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) Swiss chard- red, white, or mixed Curly kale- green, red, or mixed Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato or alligator kale) Collard greens (short supply-may run out until they grow more)
From other farms: 'Namwah' bananas -short and slightly chubby (Yagnapurush Farm, Loxahatchee) $1.60/lb. or 3 lbs for $4 Squashes Seminole pumpkins $1.50/lb. (most sizes from 1-2+ lbs.) Spaghetti squashes $1/lb. (just a few left) Larger "mystery" winter squashes 50¢/lb. Squash blossoms 6 for $2.50
Tomatoes "Slicers"- mixed varieties $2.50/lb. Mixed Cherry tomatoes sandwich bag $3 (If you want these for gifts, we can put them into a pint clamshell, also $3 each.) 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 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 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 Eggplant $3/lb. Hot peppers: Jalapenos; round red 'cherry bomb'; or yellow Datil peppers mix or match 3 peppers for $2 Green or red chiles $4/lb. long New Mexico type-some are hot, some aren't NEW!Green onions -bunch of 12 $2.50 Kohlrabi $1.00/lb. 'Superschmelz'-first time we have tried this one. The seed company (Bakers) says it doesn't get tough even when it weighs 10 lbs. These only weigh about 1-1.5 lbs. now. Tell us about how many pounds you want. Red or green bell peppers $.50 each Papayas $1/lb. (green or ripening) (not very many yellow ones now) Radishes -bag of 6 $1 (mixed red, white, and purple)