Greetings farm friends! Scape season is upon us – hope you enjoy these wily, tender treats as much as we do. This week’s CSA newsletter is here, with a recipe for garlicky bok choy, a few other recipe ideas, and notes from the farm this week. We have just a couple additional quick notes, reminders for CSA members and farm stand patrons: when you bring home your vegetables, slip things into a plastic bag(s) before storing them in your fridge. This will help keep your green things, kale, scallions, etc. crispy-fresh-delicious longer, as refrigerators are notorious dehydrators. By re-using plastic bags, this also helps us in minimizing the amount of garbage we generate, which is important to us too. And secondly, lastly, we’ve started a Bike (and walk!) to Farmstand Lottery for a fresh baked pie at the end of the season. While biking or walking to the farm may not be reasonable for many (we understand!), for those of you who do have this option, this lottery is a little incentive to leave the car parked at home.
Some photos of June in the field and greenhouse: CW from top left: scallion successions, freshly de-bindweeded; kale and parsley intercropping; super pretty Vulcan lettuce; young Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage CW from top left: kohlrabi starting to size up; chamomile in the chicken yard; sugar snap peas setting fruits; kale.The greenhouse basil looks so tidy and the tomatoes are ready to be trellised.
Much of our time these days is spent weeding, bindweed whispering. Before, during, and after with the onions:…as well as seeding new flats of successions and fall crops…… and coocheecooing our new little chicks. These bitty fluffy poofballs, now two weeks old, are getting their feathers on. We have a straight run, fifty each of Ameraucanas and Black Australorps to replace our aging layers. We ordered chicks this year from a local young gentleman rancher – headed into his senior year of high school – who raises several different breeds of chickens and ducks. It feels especially good to be localizing our inputs and connecting with and supporting other local, young agrarians.
Jeremy’s distraction du jour has been last year’s parsnip row, the remnants of which have since gone to flower. Parsnips are a world class insectary, as it turns out. We’ve been finding wasps, bees, flies, spiders, beetles, butterflies, moths, ants, true bugs. Pollinators and predators. Of all sorts. All over everything. No kidding. Encouraging diversity is a big part of our pest management plan. We practice crop rotation, and on our scale this works well for soil nutrient management, but even a slug can cross our farm in an afternoon. Instead we rely on natural predators to keep our pest populations in balance. Also, an advantage to our small size is that we can hand-pick pests, which we do primarily for potato and bean beetles. Other pest management techniques we use are companion planting, trap cropping, and adjusting our timing and planting practices to account for specific pest insects and their life cycles – we try to direct seed our arugula and radishes before flea beetles have emerged in the spring, and again mid-summer when the next generation is pupating. We also plan for some loss by over-planting what we think we’ll need for market. And lastly, taking a cue from our friend Eliza’s #eatuglyapples campaign, we celebrate the stress – within reason – that insects impose on our field; stress that helps in eliminating the weaker, vulnerable plants, and leaves us with strong, delicious, and likely more nutritious produce for our customers.
Happy summer, happy feasting, and big thanks from your farmers, Trish and Jeremy