Farm News – September 10, 2015

Circle Brook Farm
Circle Brook Farm

Hello Everyone, Happy Labor Day! I hope you have all enjoyed your long weekend and have put your veggies to good use for your parties and barbeques. Of course here on the farm it’s just another day and we labor away. We don’t get long weekends or even weekends – the crops won’t wait! I’m just saying — not complaining — we get our time off in the winter! I will complain (as I am wont to do) about the weather: dry, dry, dry. The rain predicted for last week evaporated before it got here. There is more predicted for this Thursday (100% probability at present). Hopefully the weatherman has got it right this time; it does happen occasionally.

We have a small surprise for you this week. I planted something I have not sown in many years: sweet corn. I have not mentioned it before because it was uncertain whether we would get a decent crop. Some of the members saw the planting when they came out to help with the onion harvest but I swore them to secrecy. There are many reasons why I don’t plant corn but the main one is that I am usually surrounded by plantings of field corn that are GMO. Corn is a wind-pollinated crop and since we eat the seed, it crosses with my sweet corn and contaminates it (and then Monsanto might sue me for stealing their genes — lol, sort of).

I now own one of the fields where corn has been planted for many years. When I realized that the other field had been planted in soybeans I ordered some seed. I actually planted 3 varieties but only one germinated well. Organic sweet corn is very much in demand because much of the sweet corn being grown is also GMO. Much of it also has the seed coated with a systemic pesticide of a class called neonicotinoids, which are implicated in the decimation of both honey and native bee populations. Systemic pesticides are absorbed by the plants roots and are then passed to every part of the plant, including the part you eat. These systemic toxins are now widely used on a variety of vegetable crops, something that apparently many people don’t know when they say they “don’t buy organic, they just wash their veggies well”. Neonicotinoids have been banned in Europe but thus far our EPA has lacked the temerity to stand up to the chemical companies and actually protect the environment and public health. I’ll jump down off the soapbox now; it’s only that I just read an article in Rolling Stone about this and there is still steam coming out of my ears (or my whatever).

I don’t usually give cabbage 2 weeks in a row but we have Napa (Chinese) cabbage that just won’t wait. Besides I’m sure that most of you made a big batch of cole slaw for your holiday festivities, right? We are also going to cheat a little and send kohlrabi as the root vegetable of the week, when everybody knows that it is actually a modified stem (lol). We will also be sending a lot of beans. We have so many at the moment we can’t get them all picked and will have to leave them in the field. I tried unsuccessfully to find food pantry organizations that could send volunteers so that we could donate the excess. Remember beans are easy to freeze: blanch for 1 minute in steam or boiling water, plunge into ice water, then dry and place in zip-lock bags and into the freezer. Also try to come out to the farm during the next couple of weeks to help us with the bean bonanza!

The share for this week will be: Lettuce, tomatoes peppers, eggplant, garlic, sweet corn, Napa cabbage, choice of arugula or Swiss chard, beans and more beans, kohlrabi and choice of an herb (basil, parsley, garlic chives, and summer savory). Some groups may receive zucchini and some cucumbers -as supply allows. For extras there will be mustard greens, purslane, okra, tomatillos and hot peppers.

The fruit share for this week will be Devoe pears and nectarines.

Enjoy!   Farmer John

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