Down on the farm: One of the main reasons most of you buy from us is to get very fresh produce. We always try to wait until the very last minute to pick our crops-especially the leafy greens. (Most of the fruiting crops are picked as they ripen and then stored at appropriate temperatures.) Whenever possible, that means harvesting the morning of the day you get your box. So, at a time like this when we have so many good greens crops, we need a lot of time to harvest and package them in the mornings. (Yes, we do pick some the afternoon before, but it's not our preferred way to do it.) You may have figured out where I'm going with this: Due to the change to daylight savings time, it's dark for almost the first half hour we are working now, so your boxes may be ready a little later for a couple weeks.
By the way, although I know that fresher is usually better, you rarely hear me criticize the produce industry for the way produce is moved and handled. As someone who knows how difficult it is to store produce, it is nothing short of amazing to me that most of us have so many fresh veggies and fruits available to us all year around. (In this context I mean fresh as opposed to canned or frozen.) Post harvest researchers from industry, universities, and USDA have worked for several hundred years to figure out the best ways to handle and package produce, and to breed vegetable and fruit varieties which stand up to transporting. And they are constantly improving these procedures and systems. (Genetically engineered crops, such as the Arctic apple, will be the next big improvement in improving the shelf life of fresh produce.)
Making produce last is a constant challenge, because it is a fight against genetics which dictate the physiological processes in plants. Think about it: in their natural life cycles, plants are "programmed" to mature and then break down (rot!) so that they are returned to the soil to feed the next generations. Fruits are produced to give seeds the best chance to mature and reproduce the genetic material of the parent plants. That means the fruit is there to help transport, protect, and/or even "feed" the growing seeds. Then it is supposed to return to the soil, too, perhaps after being eaten by some creature which may also help to disperse that seed.
During the next few weeks, you will probably receive 1 or 2 small, red, plum-type tomatoes in the bag with your cherry tomatoes. It's a new variety we're testing. If you have a chance, send me an email with your comments on them-positive or negative: Of course flavor is important, as is texture. But also anything else that occurs to you about them: Does their shape and size work for how you generally use tomatoes? We are not taking off the stems because we've noticed that tends to tear the stem end of the tomato. I don't want to prejudice your opinions, so I'm not going to tell you what these are until we've put them in all the boxes for 2 weeks.
Spinach is still beautiful so we'll make bigger bags of it for the boxes this week. In fact, since it won't last long in the heat and humidity, I am going to do something we rarely do: have a special this week. Maybe some of you would like to make a couple quiches-or even freeze some spinach. (You know you need to blanche and drain it before freezing. Check this website for information: nchfp.uga.edu)
We're also going to have "sauce tomatoes" on the list now. This is a half bushel box of tomatoes which are smaller and may have more flaws then other tomatoes. They will probably be pretty ripe now, so be prepared to use or process them within a day or so after you receive them. Please note: these are sold at this price only by a full box, not by the pound.
I don't know when we'll have bananas again-they didn't have any to bring us last week. When we get them, we'll put them in the boxes for those who have standing orders. One subscriber let us know that her last bunch of bananas did not ripen at all. If that happens, try putting the bananas into a paper bag with an apple, which gives off some ethylene gas to help them ripen. However, if that doesn't work either, it's possible that they were picked too early-either from one of the trees that blew over in the January wind and rain, or just because the farm was so short of bananas that they needed to pick some. If that has happened to anyone else, please let Donna know.
What's in your box: Salanova salad mix cherry tomatoes pepper(s) tomatoes broccoli spinach baby bok choy turnips (large boxes only) arugula (large boxes only)
Weekly extras: The best way to order extras is to email Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.)
Flowers require earlier orders since we have to order them from other farms. For more information, please check the "Weekly Extras" section on the subscriber pages of our website.
Locally grown Flowers (for 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 $10.00 each (Sorry-not available for Monday boxes.) Caribbean Exotics, Delray Beach: long- stemmed Heliconia-large, impressive "ginger" flowers $15
McCoy's Honey-raw, unfiltered, locally produced http://www.mccoysfloridahoney.com/(We're running low on orange blossom honeys.) 1 lb. glass jar $5.00 each (wildflower, palmetto, or orange blossom) 3 lb. plastic jug $14.00 each (wildflower or palmetto) 1 lb. glass jar Orange blossom honey with comb included $6.50
Herbs (some are from our farm, some from Pontano Farms) $3/bunch Basil (should be available this week cilantro dill mint (This generic mint is actually spearmint.) oregano parsley rosemary sage tarragon thyme
Baby Greens $2.50/bag Arugula Salanova salad mix 8 oz. bag Red Russian kale 8 oz. bag Mustard greens 8 oz. bag Microgreens, sandwich bag (mix may contain radishes, arugula, kale, and/or purple kohlrabi leaves) Celery microgreens, snack size bag
Spinach special: $3/lb. (while it lasts!) Larger greens $3/bag (large bunch or head) Curly endive (frisée) Escarole Curly green and/or red kale NEW! Tuscan kale is back. Leaves are young, but bigger than baby. Swiss chard, and collard greens are available again-leaves are small.
Other Veggies and fruit from our farm NEW! sauce tomatoes-about 20 lbs. of tomatoes that are smaller or have more cracks or other marks than the other tomatoes we sell. These are available at this price ONLY by the full half bushel box-not in smaller quantities. $14 Brussels sprouts on the stalk $1/lb.-most stalks are 2-3 lbs. and may have 12-15 sprouts 'Amelia' tomatoes (red slicers) $2/lb. Fennel bulbs $3/lb. (probably just 2-3 more weeks) Green tomatoes $1.50/lb. NEW! "Baby" white turnips (with or without greens-tell us which) bunch of 10-12 $3 Papayas $1.50/lb. (most weigh 2-3 lbs.) choose green or yellow/almost yellow Summer squashes-zucchini, yellow, or 'Ishtar' light green cousa/Middle Eastern type $2.50/lb. Hot peppers: mix or match; sandwich bag of 4-5 peppers $3 Jalapenos-green Datil pepper-hotter, little yellow peppers indigenous to the St. Augustine area