This week we have baby lettuce, baby bok choi, pea shoots, scallions, green curly kale, baby kale, baby chard, bunched chard, rhubarb, parsley, French filet green beans, zucchini, summer squash, salad turnips, new potatoes, radish, sweet snap peas, basil, beets, garlic scapes, cucumbers, cabbage, kohlrabi, and the first tomatoes! The first harvest is always small, so please limit yourself to only one item’s worth of tomatoes this week. Very soon there will be plenty of tomatoes to fulfill all your dreams, but for now stick with one pound so everyone who wants some can get some. Thanks!
Special Note: Some folks have asked if we are open on Thursday since it is a holiday! Yes! We are open on July 4th: Please feel free to pick up your veggies on Thursday. If you want to celebrate the holiday for us, just call Sanders, Leahy, and Welch to ask them to put pressure on shutting down the child detention centers on our southern border. In the spirit of Independence Day, everyone deserves to be safe, well fed, clean, cared for, and with their family.
You can pick up your share at the farm on Thursdays and Fridays from 8 am to 7 pm. (Veggies will be displayed in the cooler to pick out.) Walk into the barn, check off your name on the right, and turn left to find all your veggies in the cooler. You can pick up your share from the Rutland Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm. You can pick up your share at the Ludlow Farmers’ Market on the Okemo Mountain School Lawn between 4 pm and 7 pm. Please do not come before 4 pm: The market has challenging neighbors and the entire market’s permit will be revoked if products leave the market before 4 pm.
Knowledge and experience is a gift and a burden. In our early years of farming if a crop didn’t work, we often didn’t know exactly why. Were the nutrients off? Was there a pest or disease we weren’t familiar with? Does this crop not like these growing conditions? Better luck next year, was often my feeling. But now we have becomes intimately familiar with many of the issues that can challenge crops, and sometimes they feel especially daunting, causing stress that we would not have felt when we didn’t know as much. This is the second year (that we know of) that we are dealing with botryitis in our high tunnel tomatoes. It expresses itself as a particularly aggressive gray mold that causes aborted flowers on tomatoes, leading to significant yield reduction in the plants. There aren’t great organic controls, and it is caused by cool, wet, humid conditions. This cool, wet spring allowed botryitis to flourish in one of our tunnels, and most of the plants are infected. We watch sadly as many of the flowers that should be tomatoes later in the season die and fall off. Last year when we witnessed this aborted flower phenomenon we thought it was from temperatures that were too high in the tunnel a couple times so we didn’t know to be on the lookout for it this spring. Now we know. The good news is that the other tunnel of tomatoes is not showing any signs of disease, and we are growing nearly twice as many tomatoes as last year so hopefully between those two facts we will still have a bumper crop of delicious heirlooms this year. Sometimes I remember with fondness the days when we didn’t understand plant pathogens, and we could look at these plants and go “Weird. Why are all these flowers falling off? Oh well!” instead of thinking “Ah! Botryitis! Short of removing every infected flower on over 1000 plants, there is no way to eradicate this gray mold that will significantly shrink our tomato output in a month, and I have no idea how it will affect future year’s crops unless I finally get good at grafting tomatoes and spend even more time and money on growing a tropical plant in Vermont!” Knowledge can be draining. But watching a toddler delight in a fresh sliced tomato is all worth it, so never fear, we are going to battle with botryitis, and there will be tomatoes this year!
In better news, we had a super fun weeding party last week and got more weeding done than we had planned. Thanks to everyone who came out! Many of us also found it super fun, so we will try to do these monthly to provide more opportunities to farm a bit and then eat and play together. We rescued lacinato kale, green curly kale, broccoli, zucchini, summer squash, and started the peppers! Team work makes the dream work.
This week our team was able to get the outdoor tomatoes trellised, as well as the ground cherries. Ryan is creating a super cool ground cherry trellis that has blossomed out of his own brain, and I am excited to see where it takes us with ground cherry production in the future. We will snap some some pictures of the trellis system throughout the season to share it with other farmers if it works as well as we think it will. It’s a large V-shape trellis that will keep the bushes off the ground and allow the berries to fall through the metal mesh, making for much easier and cleaner picking. Stay tuned!
Meanwhile we are catching up on other weeding projects and sneaking in moments to keep trellising tomatoes.
Hope you have a lovely week!
-The ESF Team: Kara, Ryan, Sam, Sam, Taylor, Dan, and Cindy
Simple Cucumber Salad
This is a divine side dish, but often is my main dish!
2 cucumbers, thinly sliced, peels on
2 scallions, thinly sliced (I used the entire thing, green and white parts)
1/2 bag of pea shoots, finely chopped
1 TBSP toasted sesame oil
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp maple syrup
1 TBSP lime juice
optional sesame seeds
Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl and let sit for a few minutes to have the cucumbers soak up the flavor. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a day or so. I re-purpose it in sandwiches or on salads after the first day.