CSA Newsletter #10

We are back. Sorry for the technology issues that we had last week. Isn't it funny that these issues always arise at the most inconvenient times?

It's been a tale of two seasons recently. First, we had a preview of fall with beautiful daytime temps and unseasonably cool nights. Then, it's been hot, hot, hot (and sweaty)! The saving grace is that it's been mostly dry, which has allowed us to finally get some significant work done in the fields. I was able to prep a bunch of beds for fall plantings and we didn't waste any time getting plants in the ground. Even though we are a bit behind, we were able to get fall plantings of kale, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, collards and rutabaga in the ground. I actually was starting to get a little stressed because we hit our longest dry spell in a while and the temperature was starting to rise after we planted last week. But the rain we got on Sunday gave all those little babies the boost they needed. And I know this may sound crazy but I'm actually hoping for some more rain this week because on Monday we started planting the 1200 strawberry plants for next season. I think that may have been the roughest day for the interns all summer. It was oppressively hot and planting strawberries is an arduous task. We get bare root plants that have roots that are 5-7 inches long and they need to be placed a certain way in the ground to assure that they will establish themselves before the winter. Since the strawberries are a 3 year crop for us, I decided to lay down landscape fabric to help with the weed pressure that we face yearly. In the past we cut holes in the fabric by hand and this year we used a little torch to burn holes and boy, did that ever speed up the process. We ended up getting 600 in the ground on Monday and hopefully we will be able to get the rest in by the end of the week.

In addition to all the field work last week, we continued all of our tomato maintenance. They have really taken off. Most of the cherry tomatoes in the greenhouse are approaching 6 feet and they're still climbing. Seeding continued for some fall spinach and we started to prep the areas where the late fall/winter hoophouse plantings will go.

I also had the managers from Dilmun Hill Student Organic Farm at Cornell over for a visit and tour of the farm. This has been an ongoing relationship that was on pause last year because of COVID, so I was happy to have them out. We even came up with some ideas to collaborate more in the future, which is always exciting. The other big news that is more degree related but connected to the farm, is that we submitted a grant to create a two-way study abroad exchange with a partner institution in the Dominican Republic. Even though you may not know them, a huge shout out goes to Merryn and Karen in the College's Global Department, who did the brunt of the leg work of taking all the ideas from two institutions and consolidating them into a concise proposal. My awesome colleagues Amanda and Sue, who are the co-chairs of the Sustainable Farming program and our colleagues in the DR, all played a big role in putting this together. I know I am definitely biased, but I think we put together a great proposal! If all goes well, myself and Amanda will be heading to the DR in January with a group of students to study sustainable agriculture and food systems and a group of students from the DR will be coming to Dryden next June. Regardless of what happens, we still created some collaborations that will work even if we don't get the grant. But we want the grant, so send all of those positive vibes our way.

Let's talk about this week's share. The big addition this week are the first tomatoes for the CSA! Heirloom and cherry tomatoes will be combined together but in a couple of weeks, y'all will be swimming in maters. This time of the year, I love sliced heirlooms with a little salt on some toasted bread. If you haven't stopped into Dedrick's yet, I highly recommend the rosemary multigrain loaf that they sell. There will also be a mix of bell and frying peppers, the return of shishito peppers and hot peppers. There will be a small amount of basil this week, as well as rainbow chard, garlic, mint and baby kohlrabi. These little cuties are super tender and are great peeled, sliced and tossed in a salad. Green tomatoes will be in the share again, as well. To help speed the ripening process, we thin the clusters of beefsteaks to 3 fruit per. As I've mentioned previously, tomato plants have a limited amount of energy for all of the growing and ripening that they do over a season. This is just one way we can help out with that.

Have a great week,

Farmer Todd