2020 CSA Newsletter #5

Holy smokes, was it HOT last week!! We made it through, but it was definitely a struggle at times. The intense heat and no rain (what we got on Wednesday barely registered) made for some unhappy vegetables in the field. About 85% of our first planting of cucumbers just withered and died. I made the decision to till under that planting and we direct seeded a succession on Monday. So instead of having cukes peter out at the end of August, we will hopefully have them through September and maybe into October. One of our lettuce plantings that was going to be ready soon mostly bolted (started to flower) or was munched on by woodchucks. Now if you’ve been with the TC3 Farm CSA for a while, you’ll remember that woodchucks are my ultimate nemesis. Think Bill Murray in Caddyshack. I don’t want to jinx myself but they haven’t been as bad as they were a few years back when I disposed of 14! in one week. But still, they caused enough damage to some of the lettuce and cabbage that I am definitely on notice. When it gets this hot, they tend to wander a little further into the field in search of anything with some moisture and our crops suffer.

The hoophouse and greenhouse crops, on the other hand, are loving this heat. And because we water them 3 times a week (our field crops are not irrigated) their growth exploded over the week. A downside to the growth was that we needed to put the petal to the metal and finish tying up the beefsteak and cherry tomatoes in our big hoophouse. There are about 480 plants in that house, compared to the 225 heirloom tomatoes. Last Thursday I started dropping string at 6:30 am. After 2 outfit changes, myself and one intern were able to get all the tomatoes tied up. We brought a thermometer into the hoophouse and it read 115 degrees! But it needed to be done because a lot of the plants had fallen over and it would have been a real challenge to work with them this week. We’re starting to see green peppers in the pepper house but we’ll wait patiently until they turn color to maximize sweetness and the eggplant in the greenhouse are starting to form little fruit.

Here’s this week’s installment of Meet the Interns!

Everyone, meet Cheryl:

  • Favorite Vegetable: Arugula
  • Favorite Farm Task: Pruning
  • What attracted you to the SFFS program at TC3: The entire course program has such interesting classes like Agroecology, Botany, Soil Science, Integrated Pest Management, and the Food System seminars, on top of the wonderful farm internship.
  • What’s next for you after finishing at TC3: I plan to continue my on farm work at Ithaca Organics and Sterling Sunset Farm but will also apply for some dream jobs (CCE/NRCS) and to some schools to further my education. The Sustainability program at Well’s college is of interest to me as well as Landscape Architecture at SUNY ESF, or even Agroforestry through Cornell.
  • Anything else we should know about you: I recently came into possession of an antique wet plate camera and have taken a workshop with the originator of the wet plate photography revival himself, John Coffer. I’m gathering supplies and hope to be taking tintype photos by the fall!

Cheryl is completing her final farming internship this semester and is on track to graduate in December. She came to the farm with a wealth of experience after farming in California for a number of years and has been a wonderful addition to the team.

This week’s share is featuring black currants. We planted them back in the spring of 2017 and last year was our first year of harvesting. I enjoy dehydrating them because the flavor really concentrates but you could easily whip up a batch of muffins or jam. We’ll be finishing the harvest of them in the morning, so I’m not exactly sure of the yield yet but 1 pint is equivalent to 2 cups.

Have a great week!