Dear 2017 CSA Members,
Jack and I are back, and have been for a week, but life was too crowded last week end to get a newsletter out. I hope you are all enjoying this summer. There are some hot days, but gosh, a couple of days ago we were cold when we weren’t working. Looks like we will have more “normal” July weather for a while this week any way. The rain continues. The negative effects aren’t too noticeable as we have good soil drainage in our fields – most places – but we do have a big hole full of water in one of our driveway intersections.
The gypsy moths disappeared as quickly as they came. There are apples out there, but perhaps only sauce quality this year. Some of the peach trees have dropped a lot of fruit, but others are doing well, so we are still hoping for a good crop. This week you will receive either cherries (Monday only) or black raspberries. Our blacks are the best they have been in a few years. They should be followed right away by red raspberries.
It dawned on me that with all of our rain, we are losing some fertility our the other end of the soil. We bought some fish and kelp this week and Lindsay started foliaring and drenching with it right away. The change was amazing. Folks are greening up and growing well. When I go for a walk in the fields to make work plans now I am feeling very hopeful rather than that mix of some happiness and some wanting to turn the other way!
Bed prep is still a challenge in some of our fields as we work with the no till system, though we are slowly getting most of our beds on line now. Solarization with clear plastic (to kill residue) was a snap last year – 24 hours tops to do the job. This year the plastic sits sometimes more than a week. We have three beautiful rogue hoes now – heavy and broad and sharp – and we are learning how to wield them effectively. We got our 10 tractor trailer loads of wood chips last week. They are sitting in the back steaming and patiently waiting for us to use them in many perennial applications and some annual.
This past week we were able to get almost all of our leeks weeded (will finish Monday), our tomatoes weeded, fertilized with some alfalfa meal and mulched, our hoop houses with tomatoes and cukes all mulched, more lettuce, radish, turnips, kale and cabbage planted. We are halfway through the corn – weeding, and checking things off as we – in the case of the brassicas – undersow with clover to give them a slow feed all summer and fall. Brent got some more hay in the barn and off the field for mulch, and Lindsay stalwartly keeps on our fertility each day.
Today 10 young women from a farming program in NJ show up and will work and camp out through Tuesday noon. I have grand plans to weed and clover all of our squash – 8-10 beds, and hill and under clover the potatoes. Hopefully we will get the basil weeded – look for that in your bags this week, and the flat parsley, and the corn finished – that all before Tuesday at noon.
As you can see from the picture, Clare is still hanging around – she may end up giving birth in the field. Our 16 year olds – Luke, Josh and Mario – work like the dickens, and we are feeling very grateful for all of our help in this time of year when there is never enough time!
Food for this week –
Just a reminder to store all of your fresh produce in plastic bags in the refrigerator – they will keep their freshness this way
• Lettuce – 6 and 3 this week as we are a bit lettuce heavy right now
• Chard – I was out last night with a family farm tour and found that it is indeed slugs making holes in our chard – more ashes around the base of the plants is in order this week – one of the down sides of no till (and in a wet year) is slugs. Eat around the holes!
• Dandelions – did I tell you how good they are for both your liver and your gall bladder?
• Parsley – this crop looks and tastes spectacular this year – builds your blood like nobody’s business
• Kale – starting to look almost nice, and will be tasting better too
• Endive (spiky) or chicory (spoon leaves) for a little zing in your salad – also bitter greens like dandelion that support excellent digestion
• Peppermint or spearmint – these mints keep growing up to grass – regular infusions of them to you helps us keep them weede
• Basil – we will be weeding this too, as we pick this week – it looks and tastes wonderful
• Cherries will be picked today by Jack, Doodle, Sam and Anya and I and Monday folks will get them. Black raspberries may fill in, and will be the fruit of choice for Wednesday and Friday
• Peas – snap or shell, or broccoli or cabbage or summer squash – some transitioning in and some transitioning out – you will get something from this list
Free Range Organic Chickens available July 30
Our first batch goes to meet their maker in two weeks. We still have some available to purchase should you want any. They are $6.50/lb. and are absolutely delicious. Read more here, and feel free to email me an order. https://mhof.net/organic-meat/
Recycle your paper and plastic grocery-size bags with us. You can leave them in your CSA bags. We also like rubber bands,. And don’t forget any corrugated cardboard. We can use it.
NOFA Summer Conference coming up August 11-13
I will be pushing this event each week. Here is our latest link for your reading enjoyment.
NOFA is one of the most positive solutions out there for climate change education and advocacy around growing practices that are carbon emissions negative. That is just one of the many topics that will be covered this year.
We had a family gathering last night that ended on the front lawn with trampolining, massages, Parchesi and Frisbee. July at its best! I hope your summer is also full of fun and family and friends.
For The Many Hands Organic Farm staff