Farm News – July 17, 2014

Circle Brook Farm
Circle Brook Farm

Hi Folks, As most of you know, and with the kind support of many loyal members who prepaid for the 2014 season, I was able to buy a beautiful 80 acre property in Andover last November. The property has been known as Circle Brook Farm and I have chosen to keep this moniker. Starbrite Farm has now become Circle Brook Farm. I have formed an LLC and have opened a bank account with this name. I will be continuing to rent land from the adjacent property-Good Hand Farm, as I transition the additional 50 or so tillable acres to organic. I hope to soon begin establishing an orchard and planting a variety of berry and other small fruits. Very soon we will begin hosting regular farm visit events and I hope that many of you will have the chance to visit and enjoy this beautiful place and learn about how your food is grown.

It’s been raining quite a bit lately; not typical for July. I suppose these days it doesn’t pay to use words like normal or typical with regard to the weather. Wet conditions and warm temperatures favor fungal diseases and we are seeing the effect on some crops, such as the basil which has developed a “rust” which turns the leaves brown and the black. I am worried about the tomato crop which is very susceptible to a variety of diseases. So far they look okay and we are trying to keep ahead of the plague by removing lower diseased branches and spraying with various organic preventatives, such as kelp, garlic and some natural oils. I hope to have the first few tomatoes in shares in 2 weeks.

With the help of several families who came out on Sunday, we have brought in the garlic and shallot crop. I was anxious to get it all harvested ahead of this next round of storms, so my crew worked a long day for a Sunday, when they usually have off or work only a few hours. It is a bit of a disappointing harvest this year with most of the bulbs on the small side, due to a late start after the long winter. We will be hanging it up to dry and cure in the barn during the rainy periods this week. We will be sending small bunches of fresh shallots in this week’s shares.

We have been harvesting broccoli and cauliflower in great abundance this past week and the coolers are overflowing. Since we have had to cut it in advance of delivery the broccoli may start to yellow quickly, so I recommend consuming it promptly. We are also heavy on cucumber and summer squash. We are harvesting the last of the peas at present, so there will be snow or sugarsnaps one more time. Beans will begin in small quantities next week or the week after. Radicchio has not performed that well this summer. It is always a difficult crop that I plant twice as much of as I think I need, to ensure there will be enough. A large percentage of what we will send will be a green “trevisio” type which I have found to be more dependable than the more common round red varieties. We are also sending daikon this week, a relative of radishes, which like their cousins, probably falls in the category of “red headed step child “ with many of you. This time of year it will be especially fiery. It can be grated and added to salads in small quantities but it can also be cooked in soups or stir fries and will lose it’s bite prepared this way. It will also keep well for many weeks in the fridge.

The share for this week will be: Broccoli, cauliflower, peas (Sugarsnap or snow), cucumbers, squash, lettuce, radicchio, beets, choice of kale or Swiss chard, daikon, shallots and choice of an herb (parsley, mint, thyme, or basil).

Enjoy! Farmer John


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