ShopTalk - Regular Season
a home Base For Shareholders
July 22, 2017 - DIstribution Week #8
(you can still get the newsletter the usual way - just scroll below for our .pdf archive)
what's new this week
Summer is here, for real!!!
Hot Peppers: We grow a mix of spicy peppers to add some zest to your cooking. They range from mild (jalapenos) to hot (habanero). This week there are mostly anaheim, hungarian hot wax, and jalapenos. If you strip their seeds and use only the flesh of the pepper, you can have a little spicy flavor with less heat. We should have these through September.
Cilantro: In the same family as carrots and fennel, but with a flavor all it's own. Cilantro is great chopped into a salsa or chimichurri sauce, or blended into a dressing. Goes well with a hot pepper!
what's on the way
REcipe of The Week
SHOPTALK - OLD SCHOOL
(you can still get the newsletter the usual way - just click on the week for a .pdf to print)
What's happening at the farm
Pic of the week
HOW WE FARM
After all of the crop planning, seeding, planting, and tending of crops is done hopefully there’s something out there to harvest! It’s time to get the harvest operation in gear – we load up the knives, 5 gal buckets, and the big black & red barrels and head for the field.
We make use of pickup trucks and wagons for all of our harvesting since our fields are sometimes up to 3 miles away from the harvest shed. One person is designated the harvest manager for the week. It is their responsibility to make sure we have a plan for the week (what we need to harvest when to make sure all of our 500 shares are filled to the brim with fresh veggies!) The harvest manager moves the crew (other apprentices and a few stray teenagers are the harvest crew) to the field and back, ferrying people, buckets, and vegetables from field to harvest shed and back again.
Once in the cool of the shed, vegetables are washed and cooled in our well water and then packed in re-usable plastic lugs and into the walk-in cooler where they sit as close to 36F as we can get them. In this way we ensure maximum freshness for all of our perishable crops. Some crops (onions, winter squash, potatoes, etc) are not washed, but brought to the greenhouse or root cellar for curing & storage.
We generally harvest on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Starting at 6am to make sure the greens & lettuce still have no “field heat” we begin cutting as the sun comes up. Brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale) comes next as they like it cool, but can be more tolerant of heat than lettuce. Roots (carrots, beets, turnips, etc) come next along with slightly heartier green veggies like scallions, fennel, celery, and leeks to round out the "wet crops" that want to be picked before 10 or 11am.
After those, we start on the fruiting crops, which want to be picked when they are dry so as to avoid moving plant diseases around the field. In the early summer that's zucchini, summer squash and cucumbers. As summer rolls along we add in peppers and eggplants. In the afternoons we pick tomatoes or whatever other fruits we haven't gotten to in the morning. In the spring we might harvest from 6am until about 10 or 11 and by early summer it takes us until noon. By the time August rolls around, we need almost the entire day to finish the harvest as we sort the tomatoes in the cool of the farm shop and finish by 5pm. By the end of the day, at the height of the season over 2000 lbs of vegetables are packed and cooled and ready for distribution the following day. Then we wake up the next morning (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) we pick sweet corn at 6am so that it has peak flavor and is ready for our CSA distribution later on that same day.