It's been another busy week at the farm. Lots of weeding to be done, prepping beds for future plantings. We are planting something virtually year round-in winter indoors under lights, in summer generally direct and in spring and fall a combination-this is one of the big differences between market growing and growing a huge home garden market growers rarely stop putting in new crops (or at least the ones that know what they are doing). This allows us to have a wide variety of high quality crops at all times and it is a big hedge against crop failure. If something fails we simply replant and we have had a lot of small failures this spring and summer due to overly wet conditions but you guys should be effected because we just kept on replanting seeds until they worked. The winter squashes and melons were especially hard to get going this season but all are doing their things now except one type of butternut squash which refused to even germinate for several weeks and in the past week finally decided it would put down roots and shoot up leaves. Most everything else would germinate than get too wet in the many deluges we had throughout June and die because their roots rotted away due to lack of oxygen in the soil.
But back to prepping beds, this is hard to do because we do not have a working tiller and must do it using a wheel-hoe. It takes about 10x more time to use the wheel-hoe, which is a human powered tool over using a tiller and the results are not nearly as good. But at least we are not using any petroleum products to get the job done so that is a positive. Farming is hard work perhaps the hardest profession we humans have devised, especially when you do not have a lot of machinery to help you out and human scale farming such as we do uses very little machinery.
The weeds have been growing, well like weeds and are threatening to take over all the mulched beds. We have been spending a part of most days in the past week pulling a lot of purslain and crabgrass from the edges of the beds and now are creating a new compost pile with those dead weeds. The compost will, in 9 to 12 months, feed the soil and thus the circle of life will be complete.
We held a farm tour last evening for the folks at Preble County Citizens for Green Living. A small group showed up and we showed them around the farm and explained how we do what we do. I was hoping some of our FSI members would attend as we feel it is important for our members to visit the farm and see what we are doing as you simply cannot do this with any other type of food buying scheme. try asking at Kroger to see how the food is grown or even at a farmers market. The farm is in constant flux so even if you took a short tour in May you will find that in July things are completely different. We feel that because we, as Americans, have become so complacent about our food and allow the corporations to feed us just about anything (which we will eat as long as it is in a colorful package and is sweet and fatty) that is is our duty to educate as many people as possible not just about the alternatives but also about how food is grown and processed. And I find while these newsletters are a good start not everyone reads them completely and there is no substitution for seeing, feeling, smelling, etc., what's going on on the farm.
I am excited that the summer night shade crops are just about to be harvestable. I see we have eggplant developing on the plants and we should be able to harvest them in a week or two. Same with green peppers and hot peppers. The tomatoes will be ready sometime in August as we time these to coincide with Miami University opening up and a great increase in customer traffic at the Oxford farmers market. Right now that market is experiencing a glut of tomatoes and we have found over the years it is useless to have them ripe in July because they are a poor seller and go too cheap to make all the work and expense involved growing them worth it. And if we had them now because they would not be selling at our other markets you would be receiving around 20 to 30 pounds a week in your shares (this is appealing, maybe, the first time it happens but after that it just becomes awful unless you are really into making juice, salsa and sauce and canning up a lot of jars). And that is why we have no tomatoes and won't for several more weeks. But when we do it will be a celebration of heirloom diversity.
The shares will be ready after 4pm. if you have not supplied us with a reusable bag you will get two bags of food this week. Oh and in two weeks (first week of August) we will be holding a huge 4 day yard sale where we expect around 10,000 people to visit the farm. This starts on Thursday and if you do not pick up your share on Wednesday of that week expect to not to be able to park easily and and a lot of people and controlled chaos. If you are into yardsaling this may be to your advantage as I expect we will have around 15 vendors selling all sorts of things from junque to art to fantastic tie dyed T-shirts (yes Barb, we have the tie dye guy who comes to Oxford on occasion to set up shop) to knives to antiques and who knows what else (it's always a very wide and often surprising selection). All I know is we have more vendors than ever before and more people signing up almost daily. Not to mention, there will be sales from small to huge all up and down US 127 from Michigan to Alabama.
About 1 cup each (though measuring does not matter for this) of
plums (pitted and halved)
any other fruit you may have lying around such as banana, mango, other berries, apples, etc.
1/4 cup dried fruit such as raisin, dates, cranberries. I will p[ut in several different kinds but because they are dried go easy on them
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup walnuts
a dash of cinnamon and cardamom (the ratio here is 3 parts cinnamon to 1 part cardamom)
honey , maple syrup or other sweetener to taste
What's In the Share
Red raspberries-This will be the last week for the Latham raspberries. Looks like in 2 or 3 weeks we will be picking the Heritage red raspberries
Galia Melon-this is a melon that was developed in Israel. It has green flesh and taste a lot like a cantaloup
Chard-your greens for the week. This can be cooked like spinach. it is also wonderful chopped up, sauteed with garlic and onions and added to an omelet. You get 3/4 pounds
Cukes-the last week for the Armenian Cukes. I know I will miss them.
Potatoes-These have not been dug yet but will likely be either red or white.
Basil-another large bag of basil. You can process this with olive oil and a bit of salt and freeze it for winter use. Use an ice cube tray (that will be dedicated to this use unless you like Basilly ice cubes) to freeze the basil paste and than when frozen pop the basil cubes out of the ice cube tray and into a marked plastic bag and back into the freezer. You can do this with pesto as well but leave out the cheese.
Ailsa Craig Onions-you will get either a large onion or 2 smaller onions. these are wonderfully sweet and mild
Rosemary-you will get a few sprigs
Garlic-2 corms of garlic, i do not know what kind as we are not to the point of cleaning and segregating the garlic yet (that should be this week)
Zucchini-a mix of zukes, probably around 2 pounds and smaller squashes than last week
Strawberries-1 pint of Albion berries
Plums-1 pint of plums