Each Monday the farm crew and I take a field walk to look over all the crops and make a list of tasks, ideas, and problems to solve for the week ahead. Yesterday I felt like Ed Sullivan as everywhere we went I was introducing the beetles. We have been invaded by this pest family, and while it happens every year at some point, this year they seem to have all gotten off the boat at the same time. In the potatoes we have colorado potato beetles which eat the leaves of the plants almost as quickly as they can reproduce. In the zucchini, cukes, melons and winter squash the cucumber beetle has moved in they eat everything, leaves, flowers and fruit. And in the Brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, arugula, bok choi, etc.) we have the flea beetle. Small and fast these guy take many small bites out or each leaf, leaving what looks like shotgun damage.
It appears the warm spring has left us a healthy overwintering population of these guys. We hope that our crop rotation, some well-timed organic controls and our friendly on-farm army of beneficial insects will keep John, Paul, George, and Ringo from taking over the whole place.
Goodbye to strawberries and hello to cabbage! While we sometimes wish strawberries would last all summer, they wouldn’t taste as good and we couldn’t savor that June excitement if they kept going and going. Cabbage on the other hand, that’s a crop to build some solid, long-term enthusiasm about. These “one-meal” heads have become a mainstay for us the past few years. They’re tender and mild, great for cole slaw, stir fry or braising. Look on the website for some good starter recipes if you are coming up blank… Don’t fall behind with the cabbage, we have savoy heads coming right along as well! And as with all the produce please let us know if you’d like additional ideas and recipes!
Bitter and Sweet
In addition to some lovely lettuce heads we also have three additional greens to toss into your next salad. Radicchio, endive and escarole are all members of the chicory family and can offer some new texture and a bit of bitter richness to the standard tossed salad. They do well with stronger dressings (balsamic vinaigrette) that are tossed together with all of your ingredients. My favorite is radicchio. I love the color!
Upic Field Opens this week!
This is the official opening week of our Upic field with snow and snap peas as well as a few herbs. We are asking that you limit your pea picking to 1 pint this week to ensure that everyone can enjoy this crop. We will have pint boxes in the field. If you are new to the CSA and the upic field here’s how it works…
Here’s the skinny on how Upic works. We prepare, plant, and weed this ½ acres plot just for you, the members of the farm. Growing there you will find green beans, herbs, flowers, and most notably this week, peas. These are crops that are particularly rewarding to harvest and can add a lot of value to your share as they often are great accompaniments to the “field crops” we harvest and wash for you each week.
The important thing to understand about this field is that it belongs to everyone who has a share in the farm. There are 250 shares this year and we try very hard to plan each planting so that everyone will be able to enjoy every crop. The idea is that all of these crops are compliments to the field crops and not necessarily staples in and of themselves. While we would love to be able to plant enough Upic basil for everyone to make pesto for the winter or sow enough beans to share with your neighbors, it’s just not possible in the space we have to work with. Those of you that split shares, we ask that you be particularly aware of your picking quantities.
With the exception of these first couple weeks we will not suggest amounts for you to take from the upic field. The idea is that we all take our share and consciously leave behind enough for everyone else. The upic field has always been our grand experiment in community spirit and in thirteen years of CSA growing all over the Northeast we have never been disappointed.
What’s in the share this week…
Seth & Maura