Farm News- June 28, 2012

Circle Brook Farm
Circle Brook Farm

Hi Folks,

It’s been hot and dry here on the farm; not a good combination. The storms that passed through on Friday dropped only about a quarter inch of rain. They began with strong winds and hail, which fortunately abated quickly. I was not at the farm at the time, but retuning from an errand. When I asked my crew leader if there was any damage, he replied that no, it stung a bit being pelted by hail, but that everyone was OK. I half- jokingly told him that I was asking about the crops and that he and the workers would heal more rapidly than the plants. The real damage was done by the 3 days of scorching heat. Bolting is occurring in many different crops (see last week’s update for an explanation if you haven’t been keeping up with your required reading). On Saturday we had to harvest thousands of escarole, endive, and lettuces or lose them. The coolers are now jammed full of tubs filled with these crops. Another effect of extreme heat on lettuce is called tip burn, and we have experienced this on several varieties of red leaf lettuce, that were beautiful and almost ready to harvest. The Boston lettuce that should have been ready in 2- 3 weeks has made small deformed heads and will certainly bolt very soon as will another planting of Romaine that has formed full heads. If time permits we will ship 2 varieties of lettuce this week as well as escarole or endive (frissee), so clean out the refrigerator and get ready to eat the BIG salad! One of the lettuces is a variety called Forellenschlus, which I am told means “trout back”. It is a red speckled romaine, with a fairly tight head of thin tender leaves. We still have tons (not literally) of radishes, so they will be the root vegetable of the week. For those of you not fond of the radishes “bite”, I remind you that cooking will mitigate this effect. We won’t have radishes again until the fall.

If you are like me and unlike one of our former presidents, you love broccoli. For this reason I sow thousands of plants and many different varieties, with varying days to maturity. We also succession plant over about a month long period in the spring in order to have 3 to 4 weeks of broccoli harvest during the early summer. At present almost every variety and planting is beginning to head, so what was expected to be a month long harvest window will probably be condensed into 2 weeks. We will also be sending you the ultimate vegetable curve ball in the (baseball shaped) form of kohlrabi. It can be eaten raw grated to make a slaw (kohlslaw) or added to your BIG salad. It will store for many weeks in the cooler if you remove the leaves so that it will not get soft. We also have some nice arugula as well as another Asian mustard called Komatsuna as this week’s entry in the greens category. The allium of the week will be some very nice scallions.

I would like to thank the plethora of pea pickers that came out this past Sunday to help with the harvesting. The peas are beginning to come in heavily right now and the assistance was much appreciated. It was also a fun experience for children of all ages and a chance to visit the farm. We will be repeating this opportunity next Sunday July 1, at 10 AM.

The share for this week will be:
Forellenschlus romaine, choice of escarole or endive, kohlrabi, broccoli, peas or fava beans, radishes, choice of arugula or other mustard green, scallions, and choice of dill or cilantro.

Farmer John

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