Peppers (Cubanelle and Seyrek)
Cucumbers (Suyo Long and Marketmore)
Tomatoes (Celebrity, Abu Rawan, and Red Pear)
Romano Beans or Padron & Shishito Peppers
Spanish Roja Garlic
Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
This past week we were able to catch up on a lot of crop management and continued seeding and transplanting. We finally got our last succession of tomatoes, a small roasting tomato called Verona, planted in our high tunnel. These tomatoes will be ready in September and early October and hopefully pair perfectly with our fall vegetables. We also transplanted our last succession of summer squash and our next succession of lettuce and arugula. Hopefully they can all survive this heavy humid heat we are getting for the next few days. We were finally able to thin our parsnip stand and are happy to say it looks really healthy, which is a first for us. The eggplant, peppers, cucumber, and later successions of tomatoes all look really happy as well, probably due to continued management (suckering, staking, trellising, feeding, and weeding); which seems to be better than in years past. We have been relatively successful with summer plantings of escarole, frisee, herbs, arugula, salad mix, and lettuce heads in partially shaded areas on the farm. It feels like we are finally getting our timing more in sync so that we can have more frequent harvests from less heat tolerant crops. On deck for the next few weeks, planting our fall/winter leeks, a last succession of beans, fall snap peas, more lettuce, herbs, arugula, and then we are moving on to fall crops. Yes fall crops already.
On a less positive note, our onion crop was a failure this year, meaning you may not see anymore or very little onions in the future of this seasons CSA. Why did it fail? Well we believe it is a combination of poor crop management, uncontrollable weather issues, and onion maggot. Over the past two years we have seen an increase in the onion fly/maggot population and this spring due to a great combination of weather factors, the population bumped up considerably. If you recall, the spring had a lot of hot weather followed by really cool conditions, many of our brassica or cole crops went to flower before producing much plant growth, well a lot of onion plants also started to flower before bulbing, so we had considerable loss with that. In addition we let the weeds get out of hand and so the onions got socked in (lack of ventilation) and then soaked with rain from our continual hot weather storms. So through a combination of bug damage and weather conditions we had a lot of the crop simply disappear and what is left is riddled with either neck rot or damaged layers. This is not the only crop issue of the season, but a small example of the factors and length of time involved in a crop’s demise. For next year we have a lot of ideas to implement and so much more experience about what to be on the lookout for and how to manage properly.
This week’s share includes the first of our cured garlic, meaning this stuff is shelf stable for a number of months. It is still a good idea to store it in a shady place or pantry so it will not sprout. This variety is Spanish Roja, a hardneck rocambole style that is very tasty with a intense but clean pungency and heat. You all are getting the first of the seasons peppers, both types are mild and great eaten raw or cooked. We are introducing the Suyo long cucumber, a personal favorite of ours, the skin although wrinkly is actually quite thin and does not need to be peeled and the seeds are very small. Suyo’s are sweet and have a great silky texture with the right amount of crunch. Although it is summer and has been quite hot, please do not overlook this escarole. It is such a treat to have greens throughout the summer and even though the escarole is a bit pungent, there is a multitude of ways to prepare it to bring out the complex sweetness and to enjoy its crunchy texture. This is by far the best summer escarole we have ever grown.