2023 CSA Newsletter #13

Last week was a whirlwind, folks. I thought the energy on campus the week before was impressive. After a week of classes, it was definitely amplified. In addition to having students on the farm for their farming internships, I have the pleasure of teaching other classes in the Farm to Bistro program at the College. This semester I have students in a Sustainable Farming and Food Systems Capstone course, where students get to work on an independent project in the local food system that they develop. Students usually take this course in their final semester at Tompkins Cortland and is a culmination of all of the farming and food systems courses they have taken. I am excited to see what this cohort of students comes up with. I am also co-teaching a few courses this semester with my colleague and friend Chef Amanda. These courses are filled with mostly Farming and Culinary Arts students with a sprinkling of students from other programs. We really enjoy approaching these courses through the lens of agriculture production and the culinary world and how intertwined these two career paths are to each other. 

Work on the farm in the fall gets juggled around courses and farm tours once the semester starts but we still manage to get jobs done. Last week was no different. In addition to prepping for the CSA, we were able to work on preparing a bed for a final planting of the season and to fertilize the fall kale and collards. We also had to change the pest protection that we were using for those crops. There are many pests that brassicas are susceptible to but two of the main ones are flea beetles and cabbage loopers. What I normally like to do is to use an insect netting that covers each individual bed. I like this method because brassicas don't like it too hot, and this covering is the lightest and airflow gets through keeping the plants a little cooler. The problem that we sometimes run into is that the plants get too big for the insect netting, as was the case with these crops. We needed to go to our backup plan, which is to use a floating row cover. This cover is a bit heavier but can cover a larger area with one sheet, which gives us a little more flexibility. I am a little stressed with the heat this week, but I think the plants will push through since the weather should break by the weekend. 

The CSA share this week is going to have the first kale of the season. We grow three varieties on the TC3 Farm and there will be mixed bags available. There is also going to be a small amount of a mix of Asian greens. This mix of bok choy and tat soi are perfect for light stir fry's but can also be eaten raw at the size they were harvested. I was nervous that they would bolt with this week's heat and wanted to make sure we got at least one harvest of them. There will also be more lettuce mix and scallions this week. Additionally, there will be beefsteak, cherry, heirloom and sauce tomatoes, eggplant, bell and frying peppers, the specialty mix of padrons, havasu and banana peppers (the shishitos are taking a week off), cucumbers and hot peppers. For those of you who really like the heat, the first of the superhots will be in the share this week. They will be labeled and fair warning, handle them with care. This week the basil will be u-pick, if you are interested. At this stage of the season, it is labor intensive for us to harvest. With no classes on Monday, it was just me harvesting and there won't be time for us to get any in the morning before pickup. 

Have a great week!

-Farmer Todd