Friday, July 13, 2012

What's growing this week...

We harvested the first of our green beans this week. Yellow beans aren't far behind.

We're seeing a lot of deer damage to our beans. See all those sticks pointing straight up? They should have flowers and/or beans on them. The deer aren't killing the plants but they are reducing and delaying the harvest.

Beets are looking great! We will most likely harvest and distribute next week.
We've planted a lot of broccoli. We distributed our first of it this week. It will likely continue next week (and beyond).

Broccoli is interesting because plant produces one large primary head. On this one, where you see the grayish cut, the primary head has been harvested. Then, we get more shoots, which are smaller. Some people prefer the smaller shoots because their stems are not as thick.

Cheddar cauliflower seems to be coming along well -- so far. Cauliflower is temperamental, which is why a lot of local CSAs don't grow it. It prefers consistently cool temperatures, which is why almost three fourths of commercial cauliflower is grown in the coastal valleys of California. The other disadvantage is that one plant produces only one head, unlike broccoli. We are giving it our best shot, though, because we know a lot of people like it.

Concord grapes look beautiful so far. Because these vines have not been pruned for years, we are not sure how productive they'll be and how much we'll be able to offer our CSA members.

Because of the heat, this should be a good year for melons. We re growing smaller "Sugar Baby" melons. The smaller melons are the most practical ones to grow in our climate because melons need lots of long, hot days to grow. We usually  don't have as many of those days as the bigger melons need. This year has been very different, though! We wish we knew that back during the cold month of April!

We've seen some deer nibbles on our melons, but a bigger concern is crows. Some growers encounter serious trouble with crows in watermelons, and not much can be done in terms of control. They wait until they are just ready to be harvested and then start pecking away. We have seen some crows in the field -- we're just hoping they aren't savvy ones!
We're starting to see baby peppers. We're still weeks from being able to harvest them.
Pattypan squash -- two colors of them -- look good, and should be ready next week.

Summer squash and zucchini will continue next week.
We've planted sunflowers for our members to enjoy. We have just one in bloom right now. It looks a little lonely.
A lot of people have been asking about tomatoes. We understand -- we love them too! They are coming along but are still a few weeks away from being ripe.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Shares, weeks 1-5

WHEW!!! We've survived four weeks of harvesting and distribution, and we've entered week five. It's hard to believe that we're almost a quarter of the way through the CSA. We're getting a lot of positive feedback and constructive suggestions, and we've already made a number of adjustments along the way. Here's a quick recap of weeks one through five.

Week 1 was, as expected, a fairly small harvest as we're just beginning to harvest. It included some beautiful tender lettuces, kale, mizuna, radishes, spinach and rainbow Swiss chard. Some hungry deer made our sugar snap peas a bit later than expected, but everyone got a handful -- enough to nibble on the way home!
Week 2: Everyone was excited to see plentiful snow peas! They are definitely popular among our members. We also harvested our first arugula and red Russian kale. In addition, we had various lettuces, mizuna, radishes, spinach and spring onions. We swapped with another local farmer who uses a high tunnel farming technique to get some early zucchini and squash. We also started to cut some herbs and wildflowers. People with cats especially enjoyed the catnip!

Week 3 brought our first harvest of kohlrabi! It was a first-time veggie for a lot of members. Early-season greens continued; to avoid palate fatigue, we allowed members to weigh (1.75 pounds -- that's a lot of greens) their choice of greens from arugula, tatsoi, mizuna, kale and red kale. Leaf lettuce greens continued, as did snap and snow peas.
In week 4, we continued to offer a choice of greens, including arugula, tatsoi, mizuna, kale and red kale. Leaf lettuce continued, as did sugar snap peas, snow peas, kohlrabi and radishes. We also offered yellow squash, which was not harvested in time to make our picture.

Week 5 began the transition to some of our popular summer crops -- broccoli, green beans and cabbage! We also had zucchini, yellow squash and the tail end of snow peas. We had three kinds of lettuce to choose from (2 heads total). Our choices of cooking greens continued, with a choice from arugula, tatsoi, mizuna, kale, red Russian kale, and Swiss chard. Our herbs really came on this week, with several available for cutting.