2022 CSA Newsletter #7

Wow! That was a scorcher last week. It definitely made for some challenging work days but we persevered and were blessed with an amazing storm, with a steady soaking of rain Sunday night. Now the following statement hasn't been fact checked, but I believe that in my 18 years of farming, it has rained at some point over Grassroots weekend at least 90% of the time. Due to the heat, we tried to get all of the jobs that needed to be completed in greenhouse and hoophouses done before noon and spent lots of time watering. 

We began the week starting to trellis some of the peppers in the greenhouse. The plants really thrive in that environment and need support in a similar fashion as the tomatoes. It got to a point that dropping string became too hot to be standing on top of a ladder. We'll hopefully get to finish that later this week. The rate that the tomatoes, especially the cherries, are growing continue to amaze Zach and Alison. I must admit that it is impressive. We went from consistently being on our knees pruning, to now being able to stand and prune some of the cherry varieties. The plants are responding too. I think that we're at a total of around two pints of cherry tomatoes and we got to sample the first ripe heirloom tomato on Monday. As I walked through the house this afternoon, I noticed a few more varieties starting to blush. The thinning of green tomatoes from clusters last week definitely impacted the plants. We'll continue getting the clusters thinned until we are in consistent ripening. 

Prepping some beds for fall plantings also began last week. Alison and Zach both got to experience the wonder of the flame weeder. A flame weeder is a torch attached to a propane tank. It allows us eliminate small weeds in an efficient manner. After flaming,  we then broad fork the beds. Broad forking is a low-impact tillage technique that uses human power to turn the soil. It may take a bit longer to do than a walk behind rototiller but it allows us to reach deeper into the soil. It's also a really good workout that can get the heart rate going.

This week's CSA choice will again have potatoes, scallions, and black currants. The okra and shishito peppers are just starting to produce, so they will be with the green tomatoes once again. There will be two new hot pepper varieties this week, a yellow and red cayenne. The rainbow chard is also making a return, as well as some more kale and kohlrabi from Main Street Farms. If you are struggling to think beyond fried green tomatoes, might I suggest making a green tomato chutney. This particular recipe doesn't call for it, but I like to add one diced hot pepper to give it a little zip. It is a favorite of ours that Chef Amanda and I make with students on our Food Preservation class that we teach in the fall.

Have a great week!

-Farmer Todd