Down on the farm: Finally-we should have all the
tomatoes we need this week, so they will be on the extras list-green ones, too.
From now on, (unless we have another tomato disaster) there will be 2 lbs. in
the small boxes and 4 lbs. in the large-plus your cherry tomatoes, of course.
When we start harvesting the heirlooms, there will be some of them, but, for at
least a couple weeks, these are round, red "slicers".
And there are also a lot of peppers-especially green
ones-since it was time to harvest one of our field trials. This research is
testing how best to use a process called Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD!)
to "fumigate" the soil by "naturally" producing chemicals
which can help to control soil borne pests, instead of the
"conventional" soil fumigants that are used to kill nematodes,
weed seeds, and soil-borne plant pathogens.
Methyl bromide was the main soil fumigant used for years-it was quite
effective, and even more so when combined with chloropicrin. But methyl bromide
was identified as an ozone depleting chemical so cannot be used for this
anymore (at least in the "developed" countries). So, for over 20
years, the industry has been doing research to find new solutions to these soil
problems. Most of these solutions involve finding other chemicals which can be
substituted for methyl bromide.
Some research scientists, organic growers, and others (like
us) who find it difficult to fit conventional chemical soil fumigants into
their farming system, would like to find biologically based control methods
which can even be approved for use by organic producers. Some of us have worked
to build up populations of beneficial microorganisms by using compost and other
organic matter and even adding beneficial microorganisms. These methods can
lower nematode populations, and sometimes suppress some plant pathogens,
especially if conditions are not too conducive to disease development. But they
certainly don't control weeds. For years we have also used
solarization-covering the soil with clear plastic for at least 6 weeks. The heat
and chemicals which build up do kill a lot of the target organisms, but the
effect doesn't go deeply into the soil. It is most effective on small, quick
crops such as our baby greens.
In the ASD process, high levels of organic matter are tilled
into the soil, it is covered with a plastic mulch, and then a lot of water is
applied through the drip irrigation-to the point where the soil environment
becomes anaerobic (has no oxygen left in it) for at least 8 hours. The
microorganisms which grow in this environment produce chemicals (methane,
organic acids, etc.) which can kill a lot of the pathogens, nematodes,
and even weed seeds. The soil is left covered for a few weeks, as the soil
environment and the microorganism populations slowly return to a more normal
state. When we punch holes in the plastic mulch to plant, the rest of those
chemicals are released, so they don't damage the plants or seeds that we plant.
This is one of the projects we work on with Dr. Erin
Rosskopf and her research group at the USDA ARS Horticultural Research Lab at
Ft. Pierce. (Your tax dollars at work!) Dr. Rosskopf works with other
researchers and growers to set up similar trials in 3-4 sites around the state,
using different crops and soils. Since we farm in Florida, all of us are using
organic materials produced in the state: molasses, poultry manure, and
crab waste. Researchers in other areas are using organic materials that are
more abundant in their area. Some plots in our field have all the materials,
others may have 1 or none, for comparison purposes, some do not get the
anaerobic treatment, and some are covered with different plastic mulches.
Anyway, counting and weighing the peppers that are harvested
from the different treatments is one way to decide which treatments are the
most effective. (Our crew is much better at harvesting research plots than most
farm crews, since we have done so much research in the last 15 years.) With
peppers, it is best to harvest them green to collect accurate data. If we leave
them on to turn red, many will be damaged by problems which may or may not
relate to the experimental treatments.
All of that was a long way to explain why, when we had
already started to get into suntan and red peppers, there are a lot of green
peppers again this week! But, there are also colored ones from the crop that we
have already been harvesting for weeks.
For those of us who enjoy beets, it is difficult to understand why everyone
doesn't. (Charlie doesn't even like the smell of them cooking, so I try to
either cook them outside on the grill or when he isn't home.) Apparently it's
that "earthy" smell that some people don't like. I've tried to figure
out why beets are so ridiculously expensive in the grocery stores. They
are not that difficult to grow in a cooler climate. (A University of California
publication says beets grow best between 50 and 64 degrees. You see why the
beet season here is short?) Yes, they do get some viruses and other
diseases, but not more than most other crops. The only thing I can think of is
that, while beet roots can be harvested by machine, I think that beets with
leaves attached must be hand harvested. Anyway, I am trying to keep more beets
growing this winter. We don't have any beet roots for extras yet, but there are
extra greens that we can thin out from some later crops.
Not surprisingly, that next corn crop was full of silk fly
larvae, too, so we mowed it. So, we'll have to wait 4-5 weeks for more corn.
Corn is not a winter crop, but I did plant this late crop since we were having
such a warm autumn.
There is a lot of pretty arugula this week-hope you're not
tired of it. Lettuce is close, but not quite ready, and the first spinach seeds
are in the ground.
What's in your box:
broccoli summer squash
baby kale (large boxes only)
Enjoying your veggies: Remember that root crops should be separated from
their greens for storage. Both can be kept very cold, but the roots, such as
beets, will keep for months. The greens should be treated like any other
greens: kept cold, and used, or at least cooked, within a day or two. You
can also blanche and freeze them, like most other cooking greens.
A little housekeeping: A lot of you are traveling now. If you know you
will want to skip your box, even months in advance, let Donna know and she will
put that date on the "skips" line on your label. Then that's one less
thing you will need to worry about when you are getting ready for your trip.
You have the choice to cancel your box and receive a credit on your account, or
to pay for it and have us donate it to the Caring Kitchen in Delray Beach.
Weekly extras: 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, since we don't always
have time to check email in the mornings. (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. The
best way to order extras is to email Donna at email@example.com.
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.)
TEMPORARILY OUT: Namwah bananas
(short and plump) from Yagnapurush Farm in Loxahatchee.
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
each (wildflower, 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
LeDuc "Flavor Pict" Honey This honey is coming from the hives he keeps in Loxahatchee. 3 lb.
plastic jugs $16
Herbs (some are from our farm, some from Pontano Farms)
opal (purple) basil
mint (This generic mint is actually spearmint.)
specialty mints (apple, pineapple, peppermint) not available this week: oregano
Baby 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. Baby mustard greens. $2.50/8 oz.
Larger greens $3/bag (large bunch) NEW! Young beet greens
Swiss chard (white stemmed only)
Tuscan (lacinato) kale -small, but bigger than baby
Other Veggies and fruit from our farm NEW!tomatoes (round red)
$1.50/lb. NEW!green tomatoes $1.50/lb. NEW!green beans $2.50/lb. Cabbage $.75/lb.
Bell peppers, green or 'suntan' $2.00/lb. (3-4 per pound)
Papayas $1.50/lb. (most weigh 2-3 lbs.) choose green or ripening
Hot peppers: mix or match; sandwich bag of 4-5 peppers $3
Jalapenos-green or red, hot
Cherry bomb peppers-round, red, hotter!
Red habaneros- hottest! (at least for this
week, anyway) Eggplants are back! Several colors
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 buy
some. You will need to order them a week before the day of your box-or
you may 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)