Farm News- August 28, 2008

Circle Brook Farm
Circle Brook Farm

Hello Folks,

Another week has passed without rain and it’s begin- ning to make life a bit challenging down here on the farm. As I mentioned previously we are in the midst of a heavy direct seeding and transplanting cycle and both are greatly facilitated by a bit of moisture in the soil. We have been moving the sprinklers around to water in the thousands of brassica (broccoli, cabbage, etc-pay attention!) transplants we put in last week and they have rooted and are beginning to grow. But the soil is so dry that I am unable to plant seed, because the mechanical seeders that I use won’t set the seed properly in dust. I am forced to irrigate the beds I have prepared before planting and then again a day or two later if it hasn’t rained. The winter squash field looks great; we have managed to beat the grasses and they are beginning to set lots of fruit, but the size of the squash will be much larger if we get some rain soon. There are also many varieties of potatoes still growing in the field that could use a little water to fatten them up. Tomatoes are ripening up prodigiously, so expect lots of tomatoes for the next few weeks. Melons have begun ripening in great numbers as well, but unfortunately I am having a terrible problem with the crows. About 2 weeks back they began poking holes in the watermelons, even before they were ripe, and have now destroyed hundreds of fruit of different varieties. We will begin to deliver melons over the next 2 weeks in a rotation amongst the groups as availability allows. There will be a choice among cantaloupes, watermelons, gala melons, honey dews, and a Korean melon called Sun Jewel. These last have an elongated shape like an overgrown cucumber and are yellow with white stripes. They are quite sweet and have a crisp flesh somewhat like a pear. The dark green watermelons are Sugar Babies with red flesh and the striped ones are yellow. We are still heavy on beans so look for a generous helping again this week. Ground cherries have begun falling in large numbers and will make their debut in the share this week. For the uninitiated Ground cherries are in the tomato family, and are closely related to the tomatillo, with a similar paper husk around the fruit, but they are quite sweet and have a unique flavor. They fall off the plant when they are ripe and we gather them off the ground, hence the name. They are also known as Cape gooseberries or Husk tomatoes. Slip them from their paper shell and eat them out of hand or in salads; they make great snacks for kids. The share for this week will be: Potatoes, red onions, string beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, choice of a root vegetable (carrots, beets, or radishes), melons (maybe) and choice of cherry tomatoes or ground cherries. These last 2 items come in a plastic clamshell which I would like to reuse, so if you wish you can return them to the pickup site for recycling.

Thanks and Enjoy!
Farmer John

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