Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cold and wet

Remember when it was cold and wet this spring? One of the priveldges of being a farmer is that we get to work outside in all weather conditions. This week it's hot and dry, record breaking hot if you hadn't already noticed. What does this mean for the plants? It means they're using a bit more water trying to stay cool, and durring the hot parts of the day they're probably not growing as they shift into suvival mode. Certainly the cool weather greens like lettuce, kale and chard are unhappy this week, but a lot of the warmer season crops may be suffering a little as well. It's hard to say how much this will matter in the long run. It will probably limit fruit set on peppers and tomatoes. We'll have to wait until Thusday to see what it does to this week's share, but definitely try to get yours damp and cool as soon as possible when you get it home as it will likely be holding a little extre heat. I'm away this week so Danny is flying solo and there may not be the usual photo uploaded day of. Stay cool.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lighter on the lettuce

A little pirat and flashy lightening in the share this week. It's joined by some yellowstone and Napoli carrots, the first pinch of basil, a summer squash - and if you're really lucky, a handful of French beans. There weren't enough beans for all of the shares next week so if you didn't vet them this week you'll see them next week. Also, the squash comes in two varieties and a wide range of sizes (as do the carrots). Tomatoes will be here very soon. We had just a handful of cherry tomatoes ripe on the vine this morning.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lettuce Tour


I've gotten more comments on the lettuces than any other vegetable we're growing. That's not all that surprising since the majority of the share is lettuce. I thought I'd post a few photos of the varieties and a little info. All of the varieties we're growing come from Wild Garden Seed in Philomath, OR. Frank Morton is the seed breeder there and his lettuces are not the ones you see in the grocery. The one above is Blushed Icy Oak.


Emerald Oak, above, is quite small and very quick. Frank breeds a lot of his varieties for salad mix.


Lolo Divino is an example of one of those lettuces that goes great in a salad mix.


Blushed Butter Cos is a cross between a butter lettuce and a romaine (also known as cos) This has been one of my favorites.


Flashy Lightning is another quick one.


Plato II is a standard green romaine. All of the lettuces have been suffering in the heat in one way or another. The romaine unfortunately didn't germinate evenly so we have a thin bed with all different sizes right now. Romaine seems particularly sensitive to heat when it is germinating.


Pirat is a red butter lettuce, this is a slightly immature head which, if left, will form a tight head.

We are also growing Red Iceberg, Danny's favorite so far. Our last planting didn't germinate- probably due to heat - so I don't have a photo. We have one more planting that has just germinated in the flats. Seems crazy but there are only two more seedings of lettuce left this year, the rest is already in the ground, or seed flats. Maybe we'll add a little and see if we get lucky with the fall weather.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The sampler share

This week there are a bunch of random small items which are in the share for a variety of reasons. You might have already noticed that we're not putting what we planned to into just about any share. I'm actually usually more surprised when we hit an item on the date we project but all the planning still helps us quite a bit. So, in this weeks share there is the usual lettuce - slightly smaller apportionment this week, a small fennel bulb, a few small to very small beets, a yellow carrot, a radish or two and for the lucky few who picked the golden ticket, a small summer squash. Let me tell you the story of how each of these items was decided on this morning...


I was out at the farm solo this morning. Danny had the day off to attend to some wedding duties so I was making all the choices. Unfortunately I get up too early to get donuts. Danny is much better than me about stopping by the donut shop in the morning to fuel our second breakfast.


So, no donuts for me, but I did end up having some much appreciated help from Rumy who rode her bike out to volunteer for the day. Here's the low down on what's in the share:

The lettuces, blushed icy oak and pirat: both of these were overdue for thinning and the blushed icy oak is almost over mature so it needed to be picked today and the pirat thinning was an attempt to let some of the remaining heads get a little bigger.

The fennel, perfection: we've had a lot of trouble germinating fennel in the field. We've switched to transplanting now, but these are the few plants that did germinate in the first three attempts at direct seeding in the field. If you haven't used fennel before it can be eaten raw - usually best thinly sliced across the "grain" and excellent with a citrus dressing - or cooked for an extended period which gives it a soft sweetness and greatly diminishes the anise flavor.

The beets, kestrel: the first two seedings of beets germinated well, but they haven't sized up well and so I decided to clear them out and hope that the next seedings that are seeing more favorable weather produce slightly larger roots.

The carrot, yellowstone: we'll have more carrots soon but there was a small section that didn't germinate well early on and I wanted to clear that to make way for new plantings. There weren't quite enough for everyone there so I also thinned another seeding to get one each.

The radish, french breakfast: These are the last from a late seeding we tossed in when we were feeling like we wanted a little more for the shares. They're a little spicier this time of year.

The summer squash, yellow scallopini or cocozelle: these only made it into about 11 shares and they are the very small first picks of the season. This first pick encourages more fruiting, and larger plants and signals the onset of summer squash season. We'll have more soon, they'll probably come in a variety of sizes as we're only picking once a week.

Hope you all enjoy the vegetables. Thanks for all the supportive comments we've been receiving and we hope to see you at the farm this Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Mediteranian share

Favas and arugula are the highlight of this week's share. This is the only time we'll be giving out favas this year so enjoy them while they're here. If you haven't had them before I just pull the beans out of the pods and boil them in some salted water for about ten minutes. Then drain them and cool under cold water. You can toss them in salads, add to pasta, or just eat them plain. Some people pull the outer skin off before eating but I never bother. Also in the share this week is a single radish from a late planting that didn't do too well with the heat and lots of lettuce due to last week's hot spell as well.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Early Summer Update


A few photos to share of the farm. Summer crops are slowly maturing and we should have the first of the summer squash, beans, and tomatoes by the end of the month, I'm guessing. All that hot weather was good for the established summer crops which need some heat to get going, but we're still having trouble with germination of direct seeded crops so we've switched to seeding in flats and transplanting where possible. It's a little more work up front but it should save us time with weeding in the end. Fortunately we have good farming friends who have also provided us with some surplus transplants to fill a couple of gaps. Sauvie Island Organics and Meriwether's Skyline Farm have donated basil, parsley, fennel and celery starts to fill in gaps where those seedings failed.


Here's a photo of the patty pan squash that has been appreciating the heat. A couple more weeks and we might have some fruit to distribute. There are a few crops that I foresee being tricky for us to harvest on a one day a week schedule. In the peak of the season these will want to be picked at least two, if not three days a week. This might just mean that we give out a wide variety of sizes, we'll see what happens.


Above is Danny dividing up the kale shares last week. You might notice that our "packing area" is quite crude, just a patch of grass under some fruit trees. For now it's actually quite nice, as long as we can avoid smacking our heads on the low branches. We'll probably upgrade some of these spaces in the long run but I'm enjoying the simplicity of what we're doing for now.

One last note of interest, we're hoping to have an open house soon perhaps even a little pot luck picnic as an opportunity for CSA members and friends to visit the farm and to meet each other. More details will follow but the afternoon of July 19 looks like the first possible date, and if that works out there will be more to follow.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

More peas, the last of the peas

We picked the last of the peas today and were happy to find that there were slightly more than last week. Rumy, who came out to volunteer, pulled the plants out for us to make way for new crops. We also cleared the shoulders of the leek beds, that's where the red iceberg lettuce came from. To round out the share we picked a small bunch of rainbow lacinato kale. The kale will likely suffer from this heat wave and may not recover until it cools off in the fall.