Farm News – July 3, 2013

Circle Brook Farm
Circle Brook Farm

Hi Folks,
I suppose I don’t need to tell you that it’s been raining a lot. The wet conditions have been a boon to many of the early crops, the lettuce and other greens, the peas, and especially the brassica crops which require lots of moisture. We had the most beautiful spring spinach crop ever.

The challenge for us has been keeping up with the planting schedule and keeping the weeds under control. With muddy field conditions we are unable to prepare the ground for planting, and if beds have been prepared and then become muddy I cannot seed. We then need to rototill the beds a second time since weeds have begun to sprout. Yesterday I spent a marathon day on my seeding tractor planting pumpkins and winter squash. It is already a bit late for some of the longer season varieties and so I am relieved to have put in about 70% of this crop. I still need to plant cucumbers, more beans, beets and carrots to name just a few of the crops that need to go in soon.

In terms of weed control, the issue is that we often cannot get through the fields to do mechanical cultivation with a tractor and even when we can, the weeds frequently reroot after we make a pass. This means prodigious amounts of hand weeding and in some cases using a small rototiller in between the rows to more thoroughly chop up the vegetation. We are gaining ground (so to speak) in the battle against the weeds, but my crew is putting in long hours and having to put off other important tasks. We have several more volunteer days coming up and any help we can get would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to those who came out to pick peas these past 2 Sundays. This Sunday it will be the garlic harvest.

We are still heavy on lettuce due to imminent bolting of several varieties, so we will again be sending 2 heads. We also had to cut all the escarole or lose it last week. We will offer escarole as a choice with radicchio this week. Next week there will be radicchio for all members. Cucumbers have begun to abound, so there will be cukes for as many groups as supply allows and as always, if not this week then next. The same will be true for cauliflower – some groups will receive it this week and some next.

The broccoli is bountiful and beautiful – broccoli all around! Arugula and tatsoi are coming to an end now until the fall. We still have some and we will give them as a choice with purslane. Purslane is a succulent green which grows wild in our fields. It is rich in omega-3 and other antioxidants and is good eaten raw mixed into salads. It is a plant that is used all around the world by many different cultures, sometimes cooked. It has a mucilaginous quality, similar to okra when cooked. Our beet crop has still not quite sized up, so we offer salad turnips as the root vegetable one last time until the fall. Sugar snap peas are also plentiful and we expect to have a pound per person.

The share for this week will be: 2 varieties of lettuce, choice of radicchio or escarole, salad turnips, peas, summer squash, broccoli, choice of arugula, tatsoi, or purslane, Swiss chard, choice of cilantro or dill, scallions and possibly cucumbers and cauliflower.

Enjoy! Farmer John

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