2020 Newsletter #2

Before I dive into the nuts and bolts of all the farm happenings in the past week, I wanted to take a moment to reflect and acknowledge the BIPOC community in this country. It’s been an introspective period for me these past few weeks, even a struggle at times. Although I’ve been on a journey for the past 20 years doing equity and anti-racism work, I still need to look closely at the privilege being a white male in this country has afforded me throughout my life. Especially when it comes to farming and the broken food system in this country. I first started farming because I wanted to have a positive impact on my community by growing high quality fruits and vegetables. After a few years, my knowledge of farming on Haudenosaunee territory grew (pun unintended). I also started to notice something about most of the customers who were buying certified organic fruits and veggies from us at the Farmer’s Market. They were mostly white. Not all have it, but everyone in this country deserves access to fresh local produce and fruit. For the past 10 years, I’ve been doing a lot of work locally in our food system. But after the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the many other black and brown people of our country, I realized that I can and will do more beyond racial equity in our food system. I unequivocally say Black Lives Matter and I see you.

I’m going to save my weather post for next week and just give you a recap of what’s been happening on the farm. We finished getting the last beds in the greenhouse and hoophouses planted. Some of the early crops that we got in are really starting to look great. The heirloom tomatoes have started to put on some serious growth in the last 2 weeks. The eggplant has finally acclimated and is starting to take off. We also grow baby ginger and as of today, it’s the best looking crop we’ve ever had. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will be a good harvest in the fall. If the sun keeps on shining, the first basil harvest should be in a few weeks. Out in the field, we finished the arduous task of planting 1400 feet of potatoes. Besides our tillage, we are a human powered farm. That means 1400 holes were dug for the potatoes!

This segues nicely into the next part of the newsletter. I don’t know why I haven’t done this before, but this is “Meet the Interns”. The students work so hard every time that they are out here working. I wanted to give you a chance to know the folks growing your food. First up will be hosting the pickup tomorrow. Everyone learn a little bit about Curtis:

  • Favorite Vegetable: Cucumber
  • Favorite Farm Task: Overall, I really don’t have one single favorite farm task but some favorite ones include either harvesting or transplanting.
  • What attracted you to the SFFS program at TC3: ack in high school my favorite classes were molecular biology and ecology. Specifically with ecology something that deals with either climate change or farming.
  • What’s next for you after finishing at TC3: I’m set to graduate in December in General studies at which point I with probably be going for second degree.
  • Anything else we should know about you: This is my first summer with the TC3 Farm but I have volunteered at Youth Farm Project in Ithaca for four summers and I also find manual labor to be very fulfilling (a sense of being part of something bigger than me) and relaxing.

Curtis has been a great addition to the farm this summer!

Let’s get into some details about the share this week. For those of you getting any of the greens (minus the spinach and lettuce), they are still perfectly fine for salads but can easily be sauteed. You’ll notice some tiny holes peppering the greens. These are caused by tiny flea beetles. Flea beetles are these little black buggers that love crops in the brassica family. They fly very short distances that look like jumps, hence the name. Since we don’t use any sprays on the farm for insect control they can be hard to manage at times, especially when it’s hot out. We have an insect netting that we cover the crops with but timing (brassicas germinate quickly) and not having too many holes in your cover that are big enough for the beetles to get through are crucial. We were a little late with the covers. It’s strictly cosmetic. You’ll notice the greens on the radishes (another brassica) are in much nicer condition because we timed that one right. Those getting garlic greens will notice a more significant bulb on the bottom this week. We planted one bed of a new variety last year and it really didn’t stack up to the other variety we grow. It was about 1/3 – 1/2 the size. Instead of being disappointed at the main harvest time, especially with how dry it’s been, I decided to clear them out. The salad radishes really took off in size in the past week. It’s a variety called White Icicle but there is nothing cold about them. They’ll have the greens attached, which can totally be added to a sautee. Finally, the strawberries are going to be picked in the am, so I’m not sure how much there will be. We grow 3 different varieties and when I looked today, it seems like we’ll be harvesting from 2 of them. They are tasty but a little small this year. Since they are a perennial, we usually get a good weeding in in late April. But that was something that kept getting bumped down the list with just me on the farm in the spring.

Have a great week!