CSA Newsletter #13

August tends to be a hectic month on the farm because there is a gap between when the summer semester ends and the fall semester begins. It is usually just me for those couple of weeks and I'm doing triage and just getting done what I can. This August has been a little different, though. I've had a few interns that needed some extra time to complete required hours and I've had a student worker all summer. Curtis is a student in the Sustainable Farming program but completed his summer internship last year while he was deciding if he wanted to join the program. He is as reliable and steady as they come and is up for any task that he is presented with. I'm so appreciative of his hard work and he is a prime example of why I love working with students at Tompkins Cortland. I feel so lucky to work with students in a non-traditional way, by working along side them for over 300 hours during their time at the College. One of the things that really gives me joy is to watch the confidence grow in these students. Not only with the work that they do but with how they interact with others and Curtis is no exception. The fall semester started on Monday (shout out to all my TC3 colleagues) and he is with me along with a couple of the summer interns and a few new student interns. 

I love it when I have old and new interns together because it gives the older interns a chance to build leadership skills working with the new ones. When folks start in the fall, they get thrown right into the fire. The season has been rolling along and it's all work, all the time for the rest of the CSA season. I'm lucky to have 3 interns this semester who are doing their third and final internship this fall. Even though they've all been on the farm together for one day so far, I feel like it's going to be a great group to work with the next few months. After going over first day information and a brief walk around the farm, the interns got to work harvesting for tomorrow's pickup. Tomorrow they will be doing the finishing touches of the CSA prep and hopefully get a little bit of field work done. 

After a couple of sunny days, we were able to get a little transplanting and bed prep done towards the end of last week. Most of the crops escaped the torrential rains we had with minimal damage. I could tell there was some flooding in some areas but all in all, the fall crops are looking good. It shouldn't be too much longer before the kale is ready and the rest of the fall brassicas will follow shortly after. Most of the remaining strawberries were planted. I'm hopeful to get the last 100 in the ground before the week is over. What's great about planting new June-bearing strawberries is the chance to get a handful of berries in the off-season. Out of the first 600 that were planted a few weeks ago, most have a couple of flowers. Hopefully, we have enough time left in the season to give the interns a little treat.

The share this week is still all about tomatoes. The heirlooms continue to crank and the beefsteaks, cherries and sauce tomatoes continue to increase their production weekly. I dehydrated my first batch of cherry tomatoes over the weekend. If you have a dehydrator, this is something that I highly recommend doing. I just halve them and check them (usually 24-30 hours) to be fairly crisp, but not completely. I store them in mason jars with some olive oil and use them all winter long in crock pot dishes. They also make great holiday gifts! Now starts the time of the season to get creative with heirloom tomatoes. Once the weather breaks a bit, we start thinking about how we can cook with them. One of our favorites is a heirloom tomato tart. This week the first sweet peppers will be in the share. There will be a mix of red, yellow and orange bells, along with some red and yellow Italian fryers. There will also be hot peppers, green peppers and shishito peppers. I'm not sure how many more weeks there will be of shishito peppers. I'm starting to notice a disease that is affecting them most in our pepper house. I will want to clear out the most severely affected plants in the next week or two to try and limit the spread to the rest of the hoophouse. There will also be kohlrabi, chard, basil and garlic a part of this week's choice.

Have a great week!

Farmer Todd