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July 17, 2016

This Week's Share

The first of the deep summer crops are starting to make there way into the share. The first of the tomatoes started trickling in last week. These gems are the early ones out of our high tunnel. We have limited space in there, there will be just a few at first, so saver them in a sandwich while we wait for the flood of the field tomatoes to come in.

The eggplants also look like they are getting ready to come in. They will start slowly and pretty soon there will be so many we won't know what to do with them. I am almost sure all the shares will get them, but I didn't want to list them since I'm not 100% sure. This heat ought to bring them on strong though so that is very promising. We grow several varieties. Of the Italian type, we grow white ones, purple and white striped ones and the standard deep purple variety. They are fantastice baked or made into a ratatiouille. We also grow a deep purple and lavendar Asian types. These are long and skinny and wonderful in stir fries.

Recipe of the Week: 

Eggplant tomato stir-fry

Ingredients: 

1-2 Asian eggplants
1 onion
2-3 tomatoes
soy sauce
rice wine vinegar
sesame oil
2 tbs olive oil
a couple cloves of garlic

Directions: 

Chop onions and garlic. Slice eggplants into thin rounds and chop onions into small cubes. Heat oil in a pan or wok. Add onions and garlic and cook stirring until translucent. Add tomatoes and cook until soft. Add eggplants and cook until tender. Season with vinegar and soy sauce. Turn heat off and add sesame oil. Serve over rice.

Credit: 
Kerry's coworker at Brookfield used to make it for breakfast

Yabadabadoooo

Checking out the winter squash. Lucky we switched up how we plant it so it can be irrigated easily.
A sea of winter squash.

Dear Friends,

It finally rained this week. Only for about 2 seconds and not nearly enough, but it did in fact rain. I have witnesses, in case you don’t believe me. To tell you the truth, it’s so dry out there, I barely believe it myself. We had some cloudy days, we heard a few rumbles of thunder, we saw some blobs on the radar. But alas, irrigation was once again the only thing standing between us and some very thirsty crops. If I sound like a broken record, again writing about the drought, it should only go to show how much the dry conditions are weighting on our minds here on the farm. Despite the epic dryness, the farm is actually doing remarkably well.

We spent the week battling weeds, harvesting great produce and getting in our third and final planting of summer squash. July and August are a unique time on the farm, the saying goes ‘if you’re not tired now, you’re not trying’. Well we must be trying (although it’s against the farmer’s code to admit it) because we’re pretty tired. In the spring, when our crew first starts in the spring we sit down with them and go over what they can expect for the year. One of the tools that we use to illustrate the season is a picture of a bell curve. The work load of the year pretty much follows this pattern. We start off slow and than the intensity builds and builds until things peak and than start to slow down. 

Imagine the farm as a big, heavy truck, going up and down a steep hill. The thing is, there’s no engine in this truck. We’re the engine. It’s like one of those cars from the Flinstones.  We’re chugging up to the top of this huge steep hill using our feet (and admittedly a fleet of tractors). It’s the middle of July and we’re getting close to the top. You can almost see over the edge, clear through to the other side. “I have climbed the mountain!” you say to yourself. But heres the thing, just like some of our real life farm trucks, this Flintstone mobile farm season truck metaphor thing doesn’t really have brakes. As you pass the peak and start your descent, there may be less to do but things pretty quickly start to speed up faster and faster. Maybe a little faster than you’re comfortable with.

You only weed what you absolutely have to. You spend 3 and half solid days a week just harvesting. You have to mow your second planting of carrots and beets before you harvest them just so you can find them buried beneath the thicket of pig weed. The share room is abundant and full to the brim. The fields aren’t quite as neat and tidy as we pictured them back in April. Folks, there’s a reason no one gives farm tours in August. All that meticulous planning from the spring has laid a fabulous foundation but your crop plan has been modified, changed, moved and at times totally ignored. There are beets where the onions where supposed to go. The tomatoes are where the squash was supposed to be. None of the pig weed, nutsedge or lambs quarters where in your crop plan at all but they all seem to be happy growing everywhere. The best way I can describe this time of the year is that we basically put our seat belts on, take our hands off the wheel and hope for the best.

Thats one of the beautiful things about farming. Things don’t have to be perfect. Watermelons taste great, even when they grow next to weeds. It doesn’t really matter if the fields are a little rough looking if we’re pulling in high quality crops. We’re in a results driven industry and the results are really the focus here. As a farmer, you can drive yourself absolutely crazy trying to keep a sense of control about a pretty uncontrollable thing.

Yabadabadooooooo!

Hannah, Holly, Chris, Marycia, Tory, Erica and Larry

Your Farmers,

Max and Kerry
 

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