Down on the farm: Thanks for your many positive comments on last week's newsletter. It shows that you all really do care about how your vegetables get to you. Those who have not heard me say this may be surprised to hear that I am constantly amazed at the high quality of the produce in most grocery stores and (some!) restaurants. That's because I realize how difficult it is to take a living product, such as a fruit or vegetable, harvest and package it, and ship it for days or even weeks. I am realistic about the fact that the vast majority of consumers are not going to go to the trouble that all of you do to get fresh vegetables. Research on plant breeding and post harvest methods is constantly finding new ways to supply more flavorful and healthier fresh produce.
A recent article http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/03/fruits-and-vegetables-technology-000337 addresses some of these challenges. It also makes a point that has bothered many of us in vegetable and fruit production for years: the government guidelines tell us to eat more fruit and vegetables, but there is much more government funding for research (as well as price supports) for the "commodity crops" such as corn and wheat. There was a time when those crops were important to supply our population with the calories that were needed, but few of us are short of calories in today's world! Much of those crops are now used for animal feed, and for products such as oils and corn syrup which are used in "convenience foods". It's critical for the health of our population that our industry has the research to keep developing methods to get produce to consumers, and to make it more convenient to prepare and consume. No one likes to pay taxes, especially if they feel their tax money is not being used for good causes. But, just like in medicine, if government does not fund the agricultural research, it will be done by private industry. Do you want the chemical companies funding the research into food production methods?
We certainly aren't the only ones who will be a little tired for at least a few days now. No matter what your morning obligations are, getting up an hour earlier does require an adjustment. As always happens, your boxes may be ready a little later, especially tomorrow, since we don't have as many things picked for Mondays. And, of course, it's more difficult to harvest in the dark.
I could never understand it when I've heard people say that Daylight Savings Time was started for farmers. To me, it should be the opposite, since this makes it more difficult to start our work early. But yesterday's article in the Palm Beach Post cleared that up for me: apparently some people said/believed that farmers wanted to start earlier so they could harvest crops with the dew on them so they keep longer. But, as most of you know, that isn't true-for most crops, storing a wet crop shortens the storage time of the crop. It is actually the retail, leisure, and sports industries that benefit the most from it, since many of us are more likely to spend more money to buy something or participate in an activity during that extra hour of light in the evening. So, enjoy that hour, but when you don't like getting up in the morning, don't blame it on us farmers!
It's pretty well known in the produce business that Florida carrots "are only fit for horses". That is mainly a result of not having the cool temperatures that give carrots the best flavor. Some years ago I tried growing them anyway and found that most of our subscribers like to have fresh carrots, even if they are not the sweetest ones they had ever eaten. (When we pick them and put them in the cooler, I always notice that they have such a strong carrot smell.) So, we do a few each year-mostly for the Open House. But this year we did have some that were still growing after the Open House, so now we have started to pick them. There are some 'rainbow mix' (white, red, purple, orange); some orange 'Imperator'; and the fat red ones are a variety called 'Pusa Rudhira', which was bred by an Indian plant breeder, specifically for India's poor subsistence farmers. It is supposed to be very high in beta carotene.
I expect cherry tomatoes to be back in the boxes again, although it may be the smaller bags. The new crop is just starting and we still have some of the older plants, too. If you've ever grown tomatoes, you know that, as a plant gets older, the fruit it produces is generally smaller. So some of these "cherry tomatoes" are actually the fruits from the older plants of the cocktail size tomatoes: 'Mountain Magic' and 'Red Racer'. Since they are both very good tasting tomato varieties, I like to use even the smaller ones that they produce.
Yagnapurush Farm has told us that they may not have bananas available for the next few weeks. Sorry-this happens most years: the maturing of the bananas just slows down during the short days of winter. If you have ordered them we will include them when we do have them.
What's in your box this week: Salanova lettuce mix, probably with nasturtium flowers green onions broccoli tomatoes cherry tomatoes carrots green beans eggplants or summer squashes (both in large boxes) fennel (large boxes only) arugula (large boxes only)
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 (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??? 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
NEW! 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 and frissee are approaching the end of the crops, but will probably make it through this week due to cooler temperatures) Escarole, large head Endive (frissee), large head Swiss chard- red, white, or mixed Curly kale- green, red, or mixed Collard greens MAY HAVE SOME: Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato or alligator kale)
From Yagnapurush Farm, Loxahatchee: (may not be available) 'Namwah' bananas -short and slightly chubby $1.60/lb. or 3 lbs for $4 (Sorry-we won't have any on Monday or Tuesday this week.) Squashes Seminole pumpkins (new crop), and/or a few small butternut squashes $1.50/lb. Yellow squash or zucchini $2/lb.
Tomatoes Green tomatoes $2/lb. (small ones) "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! Beets (No greens) $3/lb. Brussels sprouts (on the stalk) $1/lb. Watermelon radishes $3.00/lb. -large radishes, pink inside . NEW! Green beans $3/lb. Daikon radishes- $3/lb.; (STILL A FEW LEFT) Fennel $3/lb. 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 Pansies box of 10 bright colored flowers, $3 (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: 4peppers for $2 Only yellow 'Datil' peppers right now Papayas $1/lb. (green or turning yellow)