Down on the farm: This is one of those times in the season where commitments to eating local food are tested. (And an example of why we don't like to take new subscribers late in the season. They wouldn't be very impressed.)
Again this week I'm afraid there won't be baby greens. We're still trying to get enough of them to grow big enough to cut. That 2" of rain last Sunday washed out some tiny seedlings and, even more than that, it washed away the fertilizer. Even though we use a slow release nitrogen for those little greens, that much rain means some of it is gone. It's easy to tell by looking at the plants. They are lighter green and growing slowly. Since those baby greens don't have drip irrigation on them (because we have to rototill between crops), additional fertilizer has to be added from the top. We usually use a soluble type (like you might use on houseplants) and add it to the water in the tank which is used to water those greens. But we can't put a very strong solution on or it will burn the little leaves. So we use a weaker one and add it more often. Any kind of leafy greens has something in common with the grass in your lawn: In both cases, we want to grow leaves. Nitrogen (the first number on a bag of fertilizer) is the nutrient most lacking for plant growth in most world soils, so we continually have to add it. (The soil in "The Glades" is an exception, since it is an organic soil and contains more natural nitrogen. That's what has made it such a valuable agricultural soil. But that advantage is going away since the soils are degrading over the years.)
We have continued to seed a lot of extra microgreens, so we're still trying to have enough of them for the days which didn't get them last week. Hopefully we will also have enough of the tiny fruits- cucamelons (Mexican gherkins) and pineapple tomatillos- to give everyone a little sample. The cucamelons look like a tiny green watermelon, and taste like a crunchy sour cucumber. The tomatillos are slightly yellow. If you aren't familiar with tomatillos, be sure to take off the papery husk. Both of these are usually just eaten plain or added to salads. When we do have enough to sell, we're sorry they have to be so expensive. It's simply because they are so time consuming to harvest.
The season isn't over yet! There are lots of eggplants, new crops of zucchini and yellow squash, and should be more corn in a week or two. In addition, we're waiting for new crops of butternut squashes, Seminole pumpkins, and watermelons to ripen.
What's in your box this week: tomatoes cherry tomatoes eggplant squash tiny fruit mix microgreens (small bag with mix of radishes, kale, arugula, and some mustards) a cucumber or two (a brown netted one??)
Enjoying your veggies: Good news for both of you who like okra-it's on the extras list now. (There are really more than 2 people who like it-probably 5-6.) Traditionally, okra has been sliced, covered with batter or cornmeal and flour, and then deep fried. Pickling works well too-some of our local chefs do that. Now roasting seems to be the most popular cooking method. My favorite is to sauté the okra with onions, corn, and tomatoes-sometimes with a little sausage or bacon.
Around our area: A friend and I went to pick blueberries near LaBelle this weekend. There were still a lot of nice berries on the plants, but they won't last long in the hot weather. So, you still have time to take the interesting drive through The Glades to LaBelle. Check their website because they update the availability information often: http://www.pattyspatch.com/ Sadly, they told us that this is their last year growing the berries. The berries are too much work for too little income. (They mainly raise cattle and hay.)
A little housekeeping: May payments are due tomorrow. There are just 4 weeks left in the regular season. So, if you get your box on a biweekly schedule, you will get 2 boxes this month.
Summer program: As most of you know, the hotter and wetter it gets, the more difficult it is to keep a good mix of crops. That's why our regular program stops when it does. But, we try to grow enough to extend the season a little for those who live close enough to come and choose just the produce you want-from what we are able to grow. (That is for two weeks in June and 4 weeks in September.)
The summer program will be the same as it has been for the last 3 summers. There is a $20 fee to join-that payment is the membership fee for the whole 6 weeks of the program. You'll receive the weekly list by e-mail on Sundays, and you can come to the little tent at the pickup site on the farm to buy what you want on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8:30 AM until 6:30 PM. Yes, you are welcome to come both days in the week, if you want. (Sorry-there is no delivery available during the summer program.)
So, if you are going to join, mark on your calendar these dates when our little summer market will be open: Early season: Tuesday, May 30 Friday, June 2 Tuesday, June 6 Friday, June 9 September: Tuesday, Sept. 5 Friday, Sept. 8 Tuesday, Sept. 12 Friday, Sept. 15 Tuesday, Sept. 19 Friday, Sept. 22 Tuesday, Sept. 26 Friday, Sept. 29
Please understand that there will ONLY be warm-season crops (not all of them each week). That may include: summer squashes; greens such as arugula, baby kale, mustards, purslane, and Asian greens; microgreens; cucumbers; winter squashes such as butternut and Seminole pumpkins; eggplants; okra; southern peas; melons; and corn. When tropical fruits are available locally, we try to include them (longans, lychees, or mangos), and we generally have honey from McCoy's and LeDuc's Apiaries.
Donna has put up the simple application and additional information on our website (www.veggies4u.com). Sometime before May 15, please send or bring your $20 payment. It can be put into the mailbox at the pickup site-just be sure to designate who it is from and what it is for. (If you are writing a check for this program, please write a separate check from one you may be writing for the regular season program.)
This program is not limited to our current subscribers so, if you have friends or neighbors who would like to sign up, we would be glad to have them! They can sign up on the website, too. If you-or they- need directions to the farm, Donna will supply those to you.
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, palmetto, wildflower) 1 gal. (12 lbs.) $52 (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 Microgreen plugs: 30¢ each: dill, cilantro, chervil, red veined sorrel, fennel, green or purple basil, red pak choi, and lemon balm
Herbs (some are from our farm, some from Pontano Farms) $3/bunch basil chives cilantro?? It bolts in warm weather so it won't be available much longer. 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" thyme Lemongrass $3 for 1/2 lb. (about 5 stalks)
'Baby' Greens $3.00/bag (8 oz. bag) '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)
Larger greens $3/bag (large bunch or head) Swiss chard- red only
From Yagnapurush Farm, Loxahatchee: 'Namwah' bananas -$1.60/lb. or 3 lbs for $4 short and slightly chubby
Tomatoes Red slicers $2.50/lb. Mixed cherry tomatoes sandwich bag $3 Green tomatoes $2/lb. Other vegetables from our farm: NEW! okra $4/lb. Seminole pumpkins $1.50/lb. Yellow squash or zucchini $2/lb.