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July 24, 2016

This Week's Share

The peppers are ready! We grow tons of peppers of many different types. First to come on the scene are our purple and lime bells and our frying peppers. The bells are snappy as can be, try them in a salad. The frying peppers  are delicious caramelized with some of our onions. In the future, the hots will come in, plus tons of beautiful colored peppers.

Now is the time when our summer squash and cukes will start to slow down. By August sometime even with the drought, we will see downy mildew come in and do them in. Get them while you can.

Lettuce in general is no fan of the heat. Despite the nonstop irrigating, we may see a slow down of the cutting lettuce for a little bit. We still have some fantastic head lettuce out there.

Recipe of the Week: 

Roasted summer vegetables

Ingredients: 
  • A mix of summer squash, zucchini, eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes, 1/4" slices
  • sliced onions
  • coarsely chopped garlic
  • dried oregano and thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
Directions: 

Toss all the vegetables with enough oil to coat well plus some herbs and salt and pepper. Roast those babies in the overn at 450 until browned.

Credit: 
Kerry

Irrigation blues; the drought edition

Employee of the week! Our irrigation pump.
Employee of the week! Our irrigation pump.

Dear Friends,

Did you know it’s dry out there? I know we sound like a broken record, but the drought is weighing so heavily on us now, its hard to think about anything else to talk about. By our recollection, it’s as dry as it’s been since we started farming here in Salem. We haven’t had significant rain fall in what feels like weeks and we’re starting to really feel it. We had to do an emergency bulk carrot harvest this week as we noticed the crisp orange roots begin to wilt and turn to rubber. With temperatures in the 90’s and no rain in sight, we are starting to feel like if a crop is close to being ready it’s better out than in. On that note, we’re planning on moving into our onion harvests a little earlier than usual. The onions are looking pretty great and at this point the less we have to water the better.

The eggplant and peppers have been loving the heat. They are starting to go gangbusters out there, producing some early harvests of beautiful crops. The melons and field tomatoes have also been enjoying the desert like conditions and are getting really close to being ready. It’s always exciting to see the first blush of color in the cherry tomatoes, the first full size melons in the watermelon patch. Before we know it, we will be breaking out the bins and watching with delight as watermelon and cantaloupe fly through the air on their way to our share room.

We have shifted to a near 24 hour irrigation schedule. Irrigating almost feels futile right now. We put water in the ground and by the next day its gone. We are keeping the plants alive, so its clearly working.  I accidentally left the potatoes on for a full 24 hours and it didn't even matter. It feels like a whack a mole game. We get one area watered and immediately another crop needs to be addressed right away. Miss its window, and we'll start to see stressed crops.  Irrigation is tiring and time consuming and nobody likes to do it and can make for some grouchy farmers. When I get the irrigation blues, I try to remember to be grateful for the water we do have, with out it our vegetables would be shriveled and dead by now.

It’s been so dry we have had to put some of our summer cover cropping plans on hold for the time being. Typically when our early, spring crops are done we will harrow them in and then seed something like buckwheat or oats and peas. This crops, known as cover crops, accomplish many different things. They hold the soil and the nutrients in place for one. Legumes like field peas, clover or harry vetch also trap nitrogen from the air and add it to the soil. Flowering summer cover crops like buckwheat attract bees and other beneficial insects. This year however, its been so dry and dusty I haven’t wanted to go through and turn old crops in to seed cover crops until it looks like we’re going to get a bit of moisture. We irrigate things like carrots and beets that we are seeding in the middle of this drought but watering in an acre or two of cover crop is just impractical. In the meanwhile, rather than let our soil blow away, we’ve just been letting the finished crops and native cover crops(or weeds as they’re commonly referred to) do the job for us. This is a less than ideal solution, but it is a solution none the less and so long as we keep things mowed it’s not the worst thing in the world.

Well that’s it for this week. All prayers for rain, rain dances and icey pops for the crew would be gratefully appreciated. Hang your laundry outside and leave your car windows open, maybe we can tempt the weather gods.

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

Your Farmers,

Max and Kerry

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