2021 CSA Newsletter #3
Before I get into this week's farm update, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the significance of Juneteenth now being a Federal Holiday. This is just one step in a long process of recognizing, reconciling and healing in this country, but there is still plenty of work to do. Anyone that knows me, knows that social justice, especially racial justice is part of my daily life and it's integral if we are going to have a just and equitable food system. I started farming 17 years ago because I wanted to have a positive impact on my community by growing the healthiest food possible. It was about 10 years ago or so that I got involved with Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming and I really started to look at the history of agriculture and food systems in this country and truly began to understand the privilege that I had in my chosen profession. I just thought I was a poor white farmer and didn't realize the inequities in land access, training, and funding for farmers of color. It's important to recognize that farmers in this area are farming on Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ (Cayuga) land and close to 98% of folks farming in this area are white. Enslaved black and brown folks built the agricultural economy of the South, which the North greatly benefited from. I think, for me, that is one of the many reasons of the importance of Juneteenth now being a Federal Holiday. I could go on and on about this but if you want more information about things happening locally around racial justice in the food system, check out Groundswell's website (full disclosure: I'm on the Board of Directors and I'll probably mention them at other times this season) and on a larger level, check out Soul Fire Farm's website.
Alright, thanks for indulging me. Now onto our farm update. Last week, we made a big push to finish all of our greenhouse and hoophouse plantings. We use these structures year round for season extension and the summer months are for heat loving crops, especially tomatoes. Anyone who has been a CSA member long enough knows that we grow a lot of tomato varieties and this year is no different. Brace yourselves, this year there are 14 varieties of heirloom, 4 varieties of beefsteak, 2 varieties of paste and 14 varieties of cherry tomatoes! I know, it's a little excessive but I really do try to contain myself when I order seeds for the farm. It's just so hard when the seed catalogs come in winter and the pictures of all the vegetables look so tantalizing. In addition to tomatoes, we are also growing sweet peppers, hot peppers, ginger, basil, eggplant, okra and lemongrass in the hoophouses and greenhouse. If the weather continues to cooperate, the end of July/beginning of August will be a nightshades and friends bonanza!
This week's share will have garlic scapes for the first time. I mentioned in an earlier newsletter about garlic greens and how we plant them. Well, scapes are another edible part of the garlic plant. Garlic scapes grow out of the center of hardneck garlic varieties. They are important to harvest because it signals to the plant to put its remaining energy into bulb formation. They can be used just like garlic in eggs, homefries or on pizza. Just make sure to store them in the refrigerator. You could also make a scape pesto but my two favorite things are to grill them or make quick pickles. If grilling, leave them whole and toss them in some olive oil. Throw them on the grill and turn them until they start to blister. Afterwards, sprinkle with a good coarse salt. Strawberries will also be a part of the choice this week. We'll be picking in the morning, so I'm not sure how many there will be this week but I think they definitely peaked last week. We have 3 different varieties that should ripen successively but that didn't happen. We picked from all 3 varieties. Also, the intense rain that we had yesterday will definitely have an impact. Spinach is done until our fall plantings. It really didn't enjoy this early heat and bolted. But lettuce mix is back along with herbs, carrots, radishes and stir fry mix. If you're still interested in some seedlings they will be available by the greenhouse.
Have a great week!