CSA Newsletter #11

The fall semester has begun at Tompkins Cortland and classes begin next week. I'm hopeful that the good stretch of weather continues. The amount of precipitation has be pretty good, day time temperatures are normal but one thing that I have noticed is chillier than earlier overnight temperatures. Let's hope this is a blip and those night time temps will jump back up a few degrees. We went camping/hiking in the southern Adirondacks over the weekend and even saw some color change in some leaves. That was wild!

In between semesters tends to be a quiet time for me, giving me a chance to regroup and recharge for the fall. But this past week there was a buzz around the farm. On Monday, CSA member Angelica, brought out a group of 30 or so Ithaca College freshmen to tour the farm as part of their Jumpstart program. That was a great way to start the week. Thanks for letting us highlight what we do here at the TC3 Farm and Tompkins Cortland, Angelica! We then had a group of teens from Project LEAD back on the farm for a couple of days. They gave us a huge lift by getting a bunch of beds weeded ahead of some fall plantings and got a start on the strawberry weeding (one of the big fall projects). Summer intern Alison missed the farm so much, she even came out for some hours. Having the extra hands helped me get some planting done. I was able to seed 4 beds that should start to be ready in about 3 weeks or so. I was finally able to take a new small farm tool for its inaugural spin. We purchased a seedbed roller that simultaneously breaks up any clumps in the soil and marks rows for planting. This farm tool really helps small farmers increase efficiency on  their operations and after some minor adjustments, I could see the benefits for us. I'm excited to use it for transplanting in the field next season. I'll be able to add little dibbles at an adjustable spacing for seedlings. Once folks get acclimated, the seedbed roller and hand transplanter are really going to speed things up for us.

If last week was the shift to tomatoes, this week is officially tomato-time. The heirlooms are starting to peak. This week would be a great week to make a roasted heirloom tomato sauce because in addition to what's in the choice, there are lots of seconds too. The cherries aren't peaking yet but they sure are popping. In the cherry tomato choice, you will find boxes of mixed, orange only and red only. The beefsteaks and sauce tomatoes are slowly bringing up the rear. The hot peppers are still doing what hot peppers do and this week, there will be two more new varieties. One of them is my absolute favorite. I've heard that folks have been enjoying the roulette habaneros. Well this week there will be a heatless orange habanero called habanada, which was bred over at Cornell by Michael Mazourek. Speaking of hot peppers, there will be a special item in the share this week. Because there is a food preservation course that I teach at the college, I'm always thinking of different products that we can teach the students and try out. Since there are so many hot peppers, I'm looking at more than just hot sauce. This year I'll be experimenting with different dehydrated pepper products and this week, I will have the first available for y'all in the share. I'm calling it Tri-blend Cayenne Powder. It's made with, you guessed it, three different dehydrated cayenne peppers. I'm not sure how much will be available but I am also making more for next week. If you try some, please feel free to give some feedback. There will also be basil, the shishito/okra choice in the share and our friends over at Main Street Farms are helping us out with some greens this week. There will be romaine lettuce from them.

Have a great week!

-Farmer Todd