Abbe Hills Farm CSA

  (Mt. Vernon, Iowa)
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fall crops are planted, lovely tomatoes, watermelons this week

Greetings shareholders,

This week, we'll have tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant, kale and collards, watermelons, garlic, potatoes, onions, beans, summer squash, cukes, herbs, hot peppers, edamames, and a few cabbages.  Whew!  Lots of stuff!  Tomatoes are really perfect right now, but the cooler nights have slowed their ripening, so they may be a little greener than usual.  Just leave them out at room temperature (NEVER put a tomato in the frig), scar side down, in one layer, uncovered, and they should fully ripen in a day or two.  Eggplants, squash, cukes, and peppers will likely be similarly affected by the cooler nights.  But the people are loving it!

Watermelons come in all sizes, shapes, and colors, and I've got almost no idea what you are going to find inside any particular melon.  You just gotta take your chances.  So far, all the ones we've dropped or kicked and just "had to" eat since they were already damaged have been wonderful.  We'll have melons for two weeks for sure, maybe three if they will keep that long in the field.   We've also got lots of cantaloupe which should be ready by next week, maybe some for this Thursday.  There might be some mud on the bottoms of the melons since they mostly formed off the plastic mulch.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  I won't be able to wash them for you.  We've only got enough energy around here to handle the melons one time.

The rain this week was welcome.  We received 1.3" on Wednesday morning, then .7" more on Friday.  Tuesday, we worked like crazy to get every inch of open space planted to fall crops, mostly greens.  A little late in the season, but we were waiting for rain and for cooler soil temperatures so the seeds wouldn't die.  I'm not convinced that there are enough fall crops, but we've got nowhere else to go that is still within reach of the irrigation, so it's the best we can do for this year.  I'm still a little afraid that the rains could end and I could be back to watering.  Hope I'm very, very wrong.

The replacement hens that have been living in the pen inside the open shed have started to lay eggs reliably.  Tonight, the few remaining old ladies in the moveable house are coming out and the young hens will be moving in.  It will be good for them to get on good pasture and out of their tiny pen for a few months.  If everybody just buys what they need for the week, I think we'll have enough to keep you all happy from now until the end of the season.  (And after.  The problem with having 120 hens is that you still get 10 dozen eggs per day, even in the blizzards.  They quickly become a burden if people don't keep eat them through the winter.)  Eggs will be in the walkin cooler.  Ask for help if you have trouble with the door.  It's tricky.

Here are the dates for vegetable pickup for the rest of the season, so you can put it on your calendar now.  Sept 10/13 (this week), Sept 17/20, Sept 24/17 (last time in the evenings). Everybody then switches to Saturdays, 10:00 until 2:00, Oct 6,13, 29, and 27.  If you're a family that's got kid soccer games those Saturdays in October and can't be back here by 2:00, we'll work something out when we get to it.  The best stuff is in October, so I want everybody to be able to take advantage of it.

See you this week.


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