Down on the farm:
I suppose I can't use cool weather as an excuse for
something not being ready this week....... For those of you who read this from
other locations, that was a reference to our unseasonably warm temperatures.
The nighttime lows, which can be so critical for many of our crops, have been
almost 10 degrees higher than average, and the 10 day forecast doesn't indicate
any big changes. Well, it probably helps to hasten tomato ripening.
Despite that, the first two lettuce plantings germinated
well and are growing in the greenhouse. The next ones will come out of the
cooler tomorrow. So, we'll hope the weather cools enough so they can survive
when we put them into the field in about a week.
Luckily for those of us who farm in warm climates, many
people are eating more greens other than lettuces. Compared to when we first
started, there is a really big increase among subscribers and
restaurants-everything from collards to chard is selling well this season.
Apparently it is mostly due to favorable publicity about the nutritional value
of all these different greens-as well as shows and articles about how to use
them. I have also heard speculation that: "cauliflower is the next kale",
and "kohlrabi is the next kale". So, I've increased
our plantings of both of those. (Of course, they both grow and taste better in
Peppers are one of those things that should be a standard
item in the boxes for most of our season. And we plant way more than enough
pepper plants for that to happen. However, the last few years, pepper weevils
have greatly limited our production. In the past, weevils would generally
become a problem in March or later. Last year they started here in
December. This season we know they are on this and other area farms right now.
Like many weevil pests of crops, they spend a lot of their life cycle inside
the fruit where it is impossible to kill them without destroying the fruit. So,
we have to time our sprays to get the adults when they are outside feeding on
pollen and laying their eggs into the fruit. They usually start in our hot
peppers-an entomologist told me that's because the walls of the fruit tend to
be thinner than bell peppers, so the females are more likely to be successful
in getting their eggs through the skin of a hot pepper into the fruit cavity.
As many of you have learned, since the weevil larvae generally feed on the
center of the pepper, it is usually still possible to use a pepper with a
weevil-it's just sort of ugly, and even disgusting, if you are at all
squeamish. And if they get into a young pepper, it falls off the plant
We usually harvest only colored peppers. However, as the
first peppers start to mature, I always figure most of you would rather have a
green pepper than no pepper. So, for several weeks we'll pick some green ones,
leaving enough fruit on the plants so that there are some to ripen to
red. Once we get to red ones, we'll do our best to keep it that way. Actually,
though, the best bell peppers are what is known in the trade as suntans or
partial reds. That means they've started to ripen. They taste good, keep better
than full color peppers, and are less likely to have problems on or inside the
fruit. And they will ripen somewhat after you take them home.
Monday and Tuesday subscribers didn't get corn in the first
week of this season, since it wasn't quite ready. So we have enough of this
crop to put it in the boxes for those days this week. It is "second
picking" corn-you've already had some similar ears this season. Many corn
varieties have the potential to produce 2-3 ears per plant. However, since the
pollen comes from the tassels-at the very top of the plant-and there is
(usually) only one of those per plant, there may not be pollen left when the
second ear is ready for pollination. By the way-corn is wind pollinated and
does not need bees to move the pollen.
When this crop was planted, the crew happened to have time to replant into the
holes where the corn didn't germinate-about 8 days after the original planting.
So there were a few younger plants which released a little pollen later than
the others, and we did get some later ears. If the kernels-generally on
the end-of some ears are not filled out, that's because they just didn't have
quite enough pollen.
This little planting of cabbage was sort of an experiment.
Since I know we can't grow broccoli and cauliflower until later, I was trying
to get something for you early in the season from that healthful crucifer
group- besides the leafy greens (arugula and kale). Cabbage tends to be
more tolerant of hot temperatures than its close relatives are. Even so, a lot
of the cabbage plants died of soil borne fungal diseases soon after they were
transplanted in late August. But enough survived so that we are able to include
them in the large boxes for a couple weeks. If there are still some left next
week, we'll have them for extras.
As an annual plant gets older, the fruit usually get
smaller. That's what is happening to the eggplants. Last year we were able to
keep the eggplant plants all winter-just to have some for extras, restaurants,
and green markets, and that's my plan for this season, too. Eggplants grow best
in warm temperatures, so we plant one crop in August and another in February.
What's in your box:
corn (Monday and Tuesday only)
baby kale (large boxes only)
cabbage (large boxes only)
Enjoying your vegetables: Way back when we started this, we didn't
have the internet with all the recipes. Once or twice a year, we would buy a
bulk order of cookbooks from a CSA co-op near Madison, Wisconsin, and sell them
to our subscribers. (Many of you probably still have them.) The book is called Asparagus
to Zucchini and has practical recipes and interesting information about
most of the crops we grow (and some that we can't grow here). This summer I
discovered that we have 2 books left. They've been in plastic bags so are
"like new". If anyone wants to buy one of them, we'll sell them
for $10 each (plus $.60 tax). As you can see on their website, the
present retail price is $15, plus shipping: http://www.csacoalition.org/cookbooks/from-asparagus-to-zucchini/
A little housekeeping: Thanks so much for keeping up with your payments.
Payments for a month like this one can be sort of confusing. That's because
the number of weeks in a month of our boxes is based on the number of Mondays
in that month. So, if you get a weekly box, your November bill is for 5 weeks.
If your box is on the biweekly A week, your bill will be for 3 weeks. (Biweekly
B subscribers will have that extra week in February this season.)
You should have received your schedule with your first box. If you have
questions, email Donna. (email@example.com)
Weekly extras: What are "extras"? This means that we
either have an extra large supply of some of the items we grow, or we purchased
or grew some items just for extras (for instance, flowers, honey or okra). The
best way to order extras is to email Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For most extras, please order by 2 PM the day before your
box. If you are ordering later than that, please call 561-638-2755 and
leave the message on the machine. (Those ordering for Monday boxes need to call
and leave a message, since you don't receive this list in time to order by
email.) Flowers and sprouts 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.
Some people order particular extras as a "standing order". For
instance, you may choose to get cut flowers, sprouts, or even extra tomatoes or
lettuce each time you get a box-whether it is weekly or biweekly. Contact Donna
if you want to set up a standing order of anything.
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 (Not available for Monday boxes.)
Namwah bananas (short and plump) from Yagnapurush Farm in
Loxahatchee. (These can look black on the outside and be perfect inside. I know
that because I get to take home some ugly ones that no one will buy and slice
and freeze them.)
1 lb. $1.50
3 lbs. $4
McCoy's Honey-raw, unfiltered, locally
produced Good supply now!http://www.mccoysfloridahoney.com/ 1 lb. glass jar $5.00
palmetto, or orange blossom)
3 lb. plastic jug $14.00 each
(wildflower, palmetto, or orange blossom)
1 lb. glass jar Orange blossom honey with comb included $6.50
Honeybee pollen 8 oz. $12
Pict" Honey There are only a few jars of the honey produced by the bees which did
the pollinating on our farm this spring. Then he will be bringing us some
darker honey from his hives in Loxahatchee.
1 qt. jars $17
Herbs (some are from our farm, some from Pontano Farms)
opal (purple) basil
specialty mints (chocolate, apple, pineapple, peppermint)
Greens Microgreens $2.50 sandwich bag (mix may contain radishes,
arugula, kale, and/or purple kohlrabi leaves)
Baby arugula $2.50/8 oz.
Baby kale $2.50/8 oz. NEW!Mustard greens. These are delightfully
spicy this week-they taste almost like horseradish $3/bag
Swiss chard (the red stemmed one) $3/bag
Collard greens (young leaves about 8-10") $3/bag
Tuscan (lacinato) kale-close to mature size $3/bag
Other Veggies from our farm Spaghetti squash $1.50/lb. (Only a few available. Virus diseases kept
the plants from producing enough for even the large boxes.)
Butternut squash $1.50/lb.
Okra $3.00/lb. (last week or two)
Hot peppers: mix or match these 2; sandwich bag of 4-5
Jalapenos-this is the 'Jalafuego' variety. Our
"official" hot pepper testers tell us it's hotter than most
jalapenos. Cherry bomb peppers-round, red, also
Sprouts from Universal Living Sprouts in Royal Palm Beach (www.ulsprouts.com):
These delicious sprouts are too perishable and expensive for us to keep them in
stock, so please be sure to pre-order them if you would like to try them. You
will need to order them about a week before the day of your box-or you can
place a "standing order".
The first 4 are more like microgreens-they are growing in
flats and then cut off. The beans are more like sprouts-with the tiny roots.
Sprouted greens 8 oz. $7.00
Buckwheat Sprouted beans 4 oz. $3.00 Adzuki
Pea beans-sprouted peas
Mixed (Adzuki, Lentil, Mung)