Farm News – July 25, 2013

Circle Brook Farm
Circle Brook Farm

Hello Everyone, So we survived last week’s heat wave and it appears that we may be through the worst of the heat for this season. On Saturday we received a quarter inch of rain in a tremendous downpour that lasted about 15 minutes. This was helpful for speeding germination of a field that I recently planted in cukes, beans, beets, and summer squash. Our soils dry out fairly quickly, so even after all the rain in June we are already in need of precipitation. We have a decent chance of receiving some rain from scattered thunderstorms over the next two days.

The heat has been beneficial to the melons and the solaneceous crops (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), but has taken a toll on the greens and the final spring planting of broccoli. Broccoli makes ugly, deformed heads in this kind of heat and the flavor is strong and not very palatable, in short it’s not worth harvesting.

The kale too is looking quite sad, between the dryness and heat and the insect damage. We are irrigating it and trying to control the pests, so hopefully we will be able to begin cutting kale again in a week or two. What’s left of the spring planted brassica crops is cabbage, red and savoy. We will ship the red next week and the savoy 2 weeks after that.

We have some nice beets, mostly a variety called Cylindra which makes elongated roots, easy to slice into uniform rounds. The heat has fried the leaves, so we will be delivering them without tops. Greens in general will be scarce now for a few weeks. We will be starting to plant arugula, spinach, and other greens as the weather allows during the coming weeks, but they need 5-6 weeks to grow. In the meantime, chard is our best hope for greens and that will need a week or two to recover from the heat.

We have abundant amounts of a wild succulent plant called purslane that thrives in this weather. It is high in anti-oxidants, notably in Omega-3. It has a mild flavor and is good mixed into salads.

Melons are just beginning to ripen so some groups may receive them this week and others next. The earliest type is a Korean melon, which look like a yellow, overgrown cucumber. They are very sweet and have a crisp flesh, somewhat like a pear.

Eggplant is coming in heavy so expect lots this week. We are also seeing a lot of tomatillos, most commonly used for the Mexican salsa verde. We will send these as an extra this week and in weeks to come.

Beans will continue to be distributed in small quantities, until the next planting begins to produce in a couple of weeks.

Tomatoes have started to ripen sporadically; there may be a few in this week’s share and more for next week. In two weeks I expect a bountiful tomato harvest to begin.

Thanks to those who came out to pick beans on Sunday! Next Sunday’s volunteer day will be to help with the onion harvest and not bean picking as originally planned.

The share for this week will be: Lettuce (romaine or red leaf), beets, summer squash, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, red torpedo onions, beans, Yukon gold potatoes, purslane, basil, and choice of a second herb. Maybe melons and possibly tomatoes.

Enjoy! Farmer John

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