Seasons at Procter Farm

  (London, Ohio)
Procter Farm
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Early Layer and Alien Tomatoes

 

egggs

Over the last week one hen has begun to lay eggs!

Her first one was more like a sack than an egg, because the yolk and white were contained but not in a hard shell. After that though she has been consistently laying 1 egg each day, not early in the morning like I would have expected, but rather in the late morning. If you notice in the picture below, the eggs get progressively bigger. The hen's first "real" egg was so small but I am confident that they will end up at the propper size once she gets the hang of it. Hopefully the rest of the hens will follow suite soon!

 

What are those strangely-shaped tomatoes you are seeing at the farm stand and farmer's market? They are an heirloom variety called brandywine and, believe it or not, they are suppose to look like alien fruit! Their ridged exterior is no indication of thier inner flavor though. Johnny's Seed Catalog, where I bought the seeds for this tomato from, describe it as "very rich, loud, and distinctively spicy"!

tomatoesHeirlooms are often sought out for thier rich and robust flavors and the ability farmers have to save the seeds from year to year. Heirlooms, or indeterminant plants, will continue to grow, flower, and produce fruit until the cold kills them off.

So, the next time you are shoping for tomatoes, remember to look past the odd exterior of the heirloom and see if the flavor more than makes up for any difficulties in slicing rings for your sandwich!

 
 

Flower Power!

Check out the beautiful sunflowers growing in the field! I can't believe they are staying in bloom for so long. Also, the zinnias and marigolds are going strong, providing a nice habitat for a variety of insects.

zinnias

sunflowers

With all this hot weather and supplemental water via irrigation the eggplant have been growing very well and were for sale this weekend at the farm stand and farmer's market. Also ready are potatoes and beans - so many beans in fact, that Susie, the kitchen manager, is currently blanching and freezing them for preservation and future use!

 
 

Firsts

I have been reading a book called The Four Season Harvest by Elliot Coleman in which he talks about plant health and pest control. The idea being that healthy plants will have less pests because their actual physical make-up is less desirable to eat than that of a stressed plant. It is so interesting that just because the plant produces the desired crop does not mean that that crop is as healthy and full of nutrients as a similar plant grown in a better environment. I think this is partially where the idea of brix (a measure of the sugar content of a plant) comes from.  If you ever have the chance to read through this book, or even the chapter about pests, it is well worth the time! I find myself now looking around at my plants and seeing ways to lower stress and increase nutrient availability.

On the farm currently many of the heat-loving crops are starting to mature. The other day I ate the first cherry tomato off the vine and the first planting of beans are nearly ready for a first pick. Small peppers are on all the first planting pepper plants and the eggplants have flowers. Also, last week the first harvest of corn took place. I believe Senior High camp got to taste those corn first-fruits with one of their dinners! Speaking of camp, I have had the wonderful opportunity to welcome a handful of camp-goers and counselors throughout each camp week to the farm. For one of their activity times during the afternoon campers are able to come out to the farm and work on a project with me. This past week we spent a couple of nice hours chatting about anything and everything as we picked weeds from a variety of crops.

 
 
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