The week was kind of a roller coaster, with rapid highs and lows, sudden twists and turns, and questionable safety measures.
The summer’s temps and humidity have been ideal for the propagation of all kinds of fungal blight – early and late blight, tomato and potato blight, leaf and stem blight, Anthracnose and Anthrax. Chunks of our melon rows to what we think was Anthracnose – including our favorites, the Christmas Melons; sad face. Most of the potatoes are looking rather blighty.
The pepper plants are also kind of hard to look at; they are not diseased at all, in fact they are vibrant and green and leafy … but many are flowering not at all, or too little and perhaps even too late, depending on what the weather does. So much went into raising them, keeping them alive through the cold nights, transplanting them, keeping them weeded … and we may only be getting little green annual shrubs for most of the effort. But, que sera, sera!
We’re fortunate, really – things could be far less awesome than they are. At the market, we chatted with a larger-scale tractor-based farmer – he’d just lost 100% of his massive tomato planting to Late Blight – something like fourteen 300-foot rows of plants, dead without producing a single tomato. Yikes.
We’re seeing signs in certain tomato plants that sure look likely to be blight of some type – and with the yesterday’s rain followed by 3 more inches forecast over the next day or two, conditions will be ripe for all the blight-bringing fungal and swimming spores to get frisky. But so far, the tomato plants are a source of joy and beautiful bounty – especially satisfying after last year’s poor tomatular showing.
One of the reasons that we like to grow for a CSA, in spite of the difficulties, is the sheer variety of things it mandates that we grow. It’s great to have all these varied crops in play, because very year, due to factors beyond our abilities to predict or control, some things will flourish and others will flounder and fail.
We are getting better at Surfing It as it comes, and at getting back on the waves and riding them with a grin after being knocked down into the rocks.
Toward that end, every year we try to bring our friends together for a “reboot” – some time together with tribe and separated from usual scenes … ideally near and in a river.
This year we had perfect weather for wading into the Saint Croix with pool noodles and floaties and flowing through the trees for 7 miles and 5 hours before coming back ashore at our campsite.
It was refreshing.
We got home and got back to work – with a renewed appreciation for it all … transplanted out some new fall greens, squished caterpillars and worms and beetles and larvae, worked to better keep the devouring deer, rabbits, and racoons out of the field, and progressed in the assembly of the high tunnel, a scaled up version of the Lego structures that our 8-year old WWOOFer had made, digging through boxes for the correct components, carefully joining them according to directions, and step by step bringing a whole together from a collection of parts.
(Grown-up farmer Legos are just bigger and more likely to maim you … and the directions are a whole lot more confusing.)
Today the beginning of a 2-day rainfall began just as we finished harvesting the last of the crops, before we had things divided up and boxed.
We enjoyed weather-appropriate music while we worked with Kristin’s parents & Neighbor Marcie, and thanks to their help we finished early, in spite of the necessity of finding new ways to operate in the downpour.
Week 11 Box:
- Peppers – a mix of those hot and sweet peppers that have actually felt like making some things for us to eat! ones that are shaped like cayenne peppers or jalepeno they’re probably hot – if they’re bell pepper shape they’re probably not. Everything else is a mystery to be explored.
- Potatoes – Adirondack Red variety ... it’s cooling off, maybe make some soup! “Nothin’ wrong with roasted potatoes.” – Kristin
- Tomatoes – The wave is on! Sooooo may ways to use these … especially with basil! Tomato soup? Sauce? Bruschetta? We tried to only include ripe or very-nearly ripe tomatoes in your box this week – even if they’re yellow or orange or green, they should be ready to eat as soon as you want to. Heirlooms come in an array of ripened colors … so, like the peppers, taste, experiment, enjoy! Please do let us know if you have questions or strong feelings about any of the types!
- Tomatillos – Won’t be any next week (maybe later though) … if you still have some from previous weeks, find a good recipe that uses lots – a sauce, salsa, soup, etc – and use them all up together?
- Broccoli florets aka Baby Broccoli
- Italian Basil
- Corn – Sweet corn, hopefully – although there is a possibility that you may get a strange hybrid that cross-pollinated with one of the other types of corn we’re growing this year! (We staggered plantings to avoid this very thing, but then the first planting of sweet corn failed to germinate, and we had to do a second round 10 days too late … so they tasseled (corn’s version of flowering) at the same time as the flour corn. If you do open one to find “Indian corn” kernels, enjoy; surprise! Perhaps cut it off the cob and make cornbread or put it in soup …
- Cucumbers – The cucumber plants are increasingly calling it quits for the season – soon, cool refreshing cukes on a hot summer’s day will be only a memory, one to cherish in the winterbleak … for now, eat your cukes. And like ’em. :)
- An Onion or two – According to Neighbor Marcie, the onion is, if not exactly the pièce de ré·sis·tance, the final piece to complete the week’s box and tie the other parts all together into a m*th@rfu¢k!ng nexus of potential recipes. QUOTE! (OK so she didn’t actually say that last part. I’ve been in the car for an hour and a half …)
- Green Beans (Neighbor Marcie Variety – large boxes only)