November 28 - December 2, 2016
Down on the farm: When we used to take a post-season customer survey, it consistently showed that the favorite vegetables were tomatoes, corn, and broccoli. It doesn't often happen, but this week we will have all 3. Since corn grows so slowly in the winter, this will be the last corn we'll have until April. (We don't do surveys anymore because the percentage of return was small and they tended to come out the same year after year. Anyway now almost all of you use email and communicate with me directly during the season if there's something you like, or don't like, or something you'd like us to grow.)
Just in time for your post-Thanksgiving effort to eat better (well, at least until the next holidays get here), our 'Salanova' salad mix is ready this week. Most of those who have been with us a year or more are fans of this lettuce mix. It is owned by a Dutch seed company. In today's produce industry, it is common for a seed company to license a special new vegetable variety to just one or a few large producers-then small growers cannot get the seeds to grow that variety. ('Broccolini' is like that. Similar varieties are often called broccolini, but actually are not.) But, luckily for all of us, Johnny's Selected Seeds was willing and able to make a deal with the company which owned Salanova so they carry the seeds to sell to us small growers and home gardeners. (Of course, the seed is much more expensive than the old standard leaf lettuces.)
What's special about it, compared with other lettuce mixes? There are 4 different leaf shapes which each come in red and green. So, those 8 variations make a pretty mix which also has what chefs call "loft". That means this mix doesn't just lay flat on a salad plate. And-the best part is that it almost always tastes good. (Hot weather can make any lettuce taste bitter.) Most of the Salanova types are also fairly disease resistant. If we get into a warm humid period, the types with broader leaves do tend to get some leaf spot diseases, so we grow more of the frilly ones in early fall and late spring. And, while we all know that lettuces are generally not as nutritious as spinach, kale, arugula, etc., more people like lettuce, which means they will eat more of it. I imagine that these deeply colored varieties probably have more anti-oxidants than light colored lettuces.
From our standpoint, it is easier to handle. Santa and Angelica, the two women who do most of our greens growing and processing, quickly became its biggest fans. We used to seed leaf lettuces directly into the ground, as we do with other baby greens. Germination can be spotty and weeds often outgrow the less vigorous lettuce. But now we are growing transplants in the greenhouse, planting them into the plastic mulch in the field, then cutting the "heads" of lettuce. In the greens washing area, they make one cut and it falls apart into perfect baby leaf lettuce. It's a lot faster and easier to cut a container full of Salanova heads and bring them into the packing area than to be bent over in the field cutting clumps of leaves.
Cucumbers are doing what they always do in the winter: slowing down. I tried planting more to keep at least a few for your winter salads, but they won't produce as consistently as during warm weather. We'll just include them whenever we can.
As many of you know, I'm constantly looking for tomato varieties which taste good, don't crack too much, and have resistance to many of the tomato diseases we have here. Most of the commercially grown varieties don't meet that first criterion. (Of course, flavor can also be affected by the growing conditions, but the variety has to at least have the potential to taste good.) These first tomatoes are 'Dixie', 'Summerpick' a numbered variety from Seminis Seeds, and 'Skyway', a larger one which we tried last season. We'll soon be into some 'Amelia', which is the present favorite for us and most of our customers right now. The problem is that it is resistant to tomato spotted wilt, but not to the tomato yellow leaf curl virus, as are some of the newer ones. But, since the latter disease is spread by whiteflies, if I can control the whitefly population (with the help of some cool weather!), we can grow 'Amelia'.
Since last week was a time for Thanksgiving, I do want to thank all of you for your support of the farm. We understand that this is not an easy thing to do-and there are probably almost 100 of you who have done it for 12 or more seasons now! And an additional thanks to all of you who have recommended us to friends and neighbors. At the present time we are not taking new subscribers, but we will again in January.
Like most CSA farms, our membership has gone down during the last 4 years-from a high of 400 to under 250. A NYT article from last summer brought out the factors which probably affect all CSA farms. Just like with other retail businesses, it is mainly competition from on-line buying clubs. They can generally supply more variety over a longer season than we can produce on one farm and many sell mainly organic produce (or say they do). http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/20/dining/csa-farm-share-community-supported-agriculture.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share&_r=1
What's in your box this week:
a cucumber (hopefully)
broccoli or summer squash
'D'Avignon' French breakfast radishes (large boxes only)
spinach (large boxes only)
A little housekeeping: A reminder that December payments are due this Thursday, Dec. 1. Donna also wanted to let you know that even those who have asked her to automatically charge their monthly payments to their credit cards receive a monthly statement by email. That's just to let you know the amount that will be charged to your card-there is no need to reply to her unless you have a question about it.
The best way to order extras is to email Donna at email@example.com by 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 don't keep a supply of them here. We order just the amount that we need from 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. $10.00 each
Caribbean Exotics, Delray Beach: long- stemmed Heliconia-large, impressive "ginger" flowers $20 (most stems are about 3' tall)
McCoy's Honey-raw, unfiltered, locally produced http://www.mccoysfloridahoney.com/
1 lb. glass jar $5.00 each (wildflower, palmetto, or orange blossom)
3 lb. plastic jug $14.00 each (orange blossom, wildflower, or palmetto)
1 gal. (12 lbs.) $53 Orange blossom only
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
Herbs (some are from our farm, some from Pontano Farms) $3/bunch
mint (This generic mint is actually spearmint.)
specialty mints: peppermint, chocololate mint, apple mint
tarragon (True French tarragon is very difficult to grow here. So 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.)
'Baby' Greens $3.00/bag (8 oz. bag)
Baby kale mix: may have 'Red Russian', a curly kale, and some Tuscan kale
'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
Larger greens $3/bag (large bunch)
Swiss chard- red or white
Curly kale (green, red or mix)
Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato or alligator kale)
From other farms:
'Namwah' bananas -short and slightly chubby (Yagnapurush Farm, Loxahatchee) $1.60/lb. or 3 lbs for $4
Other Vegetables and fruits from our farm
French breakfast radishes $3/dozen
Cubanelle peppers 3 for $2
Butternut squash $1/lb. (most are 1 lb or less now)
Seminole pumpkins $1.50/lb. (most sizes from 1-2+ lbs.)
Larger mystery winter squashes 50¢/lb.
Jalapeno peppers 3 for $2
Summer squash (zucchini or yellow) $1.50/lb.
Papayas $1/lb. (green or ripening)
Squash blossoms 6 for $2.50