Sunday, June 24, 2012

Catalpa Ridge News–Volume 17 No 3–Week of June 25th

Busy Week ....

We had a busy week this week and accomplished quite a few tasks. The round field that we reported last week that hadn't been fenced-in was finally fenced on Saturday. The entire crew worked hard to accomplish this. Sunday was harvest day with Ali, Lisa & Dory concentrating on the harvest and Renee did some much needed seeding of collards, Chinese cabbage, Yard-long beans, lettuce, chicory and escarole. Meanwhile, John brush-hogged the harvested fava green beds to get them ready for our next planting.

One of our CSA members from Mahwah, Rich C, visited the farm to videotape what happens during a typical day at the farm. At Catalpa Ridge there is no typical day in the truest sense and we always seem to be in flux. One plan for the day may totally change within the hour to another plan. But, by the end of the day we usually are on schedule for our "list" of things to do. For future visits he wants to capture the harvest and then what happens during delivery & pickup. This will give others insight into the happenings of a CSA farm.

Franklin Greenhouse Report:The direct seeded Oriental greens in Franklin are up in 3 daOnionsCuringys. As we harvested the onions out of the beds, new veggies are being planted. In Franklin we transplanted husk cherries. Renee is working on the Micro-greens and this year we have tried a new system to utilize bench space in the greenhouse that is not used during the late spring & summer months. Unfortunately, this system appears to be more labor intensive and it is taking too long to harvest the micro-greens. We probably will rethink the process and may go back to our old way to improve turnaround time. The Franklin greenhouse is now about 90% replanted after the onion harvest.

From the Fields: We harvested the fava beans and it was all was done in one day. The yield is off from last year, which was disappointing. Instead of having two deliveries of fava beans, everyone will only get the one delivery this week. The summer squash is almost ready to be harvested and we look to have some available in next week's delivery. All the field crops enjoyed the rain that we received. The summer onions in the back field are looking great as are the cucumber, pepper, tomato and eggplants. The garlic is almost ready to be harvested, and we may actually have an earlier than normal harvest. Usually it is harvested after the 4th of July. The potato crop is looking ok, but not great. Yields appear down, but we won't know until the harvest actually is over. We have Red Norland & Yukon Gold varieties to harvest. We were unable to get our usual Blue potato seed to plant this year, due to the bad year last year. The wet weather throughout the season last year, contributed to blight problems on potatoes.

Weather Report:   We had a series of severe thunderstorms throughout the area late afternoon on Friday. High winds & hail were scattered across most of Sussex County with many trees downed as well. Fortunately, the hail did not fall over the farm. Both Farmer Rich & I had many detours in order to get home due to the downed trees, some flooding and the sheer joy of driving through a pretty intense hail storm. On the positive side - at least it cooled things off! All in all, about ½" of rain fell at the farm.

Animal report: It has been a quiet week in animal land without any incidents to speak of. There are about 20+ rabbits, all outside the fence, just waiting for a chance to break in. Obviously, they are enjoying the habitat that the brush along the borders of the fences is providing them.

Week of June 25th - Pick of the Week: click on the links below or to the right to bring you to the delivery specific to your pick-up location. Deliveries will be of similar variety & poundage, but may contain different items at anytime during the season. Occasionally, some crops are ready to harvest but not enough to deliver to all our drop-off locations. What we do is start to filter them in each week to a different drop-off until there is enough to delivery to everyone.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Catalpa Ridge News–Volume 17 No 2–Week of June 18th

New Field awaits…

Our new field is still not complete. We have had a series of setbacks during the week that delayed its finish. We had trouble with our water line to the fields so this took precedence over finishing the field. Then after harvesting on Sunday we accidentally cut the drip tape, which always seems to happen, so our afternoon was spent fixing the drip tape problem instead of putting up fencing.

Franklin Greenhouse Report: The plantings are coming along nicely, though a bit delayed. The microgreens in the Franklin Greenhouse have been harvested for some of the drop-off locations for this week. Next week we hope to have microgreens available for the other drop-offs. Seeded this week in Franklin were oriental greens and we transplanted some chard transplants.

All the onions have been pulled are in curing in the greenhouse. They should make it into next week’s delivery. The beds that they were harvested from are being reworked and we plan on planting eggplant, pickling cucumbers, oriental greens and probably some tomatoes in these beds.

GreenhouseTomatoes<<<<<The greenhouse tomato plants are doing well with tomatoes ripening up daily.

From the Fields: The garlic crop as well as the fava beans appears to be coming along on the early side this year. The crew planted eggplant, tomatillos and peppers during the week. We have many transplants just waiting to go into the new field. Many herbs varieties that include dill and cilantro are to be planted as well as more tomatoes, peppers and eggplant once the fence is up. Another planting of lettuce is also on the schedule for the week.

We lost some turnips as they bolted, which is a disappointment.

Weather Report:  We fortunately had a few days without rain and the wet fields enjoyed a drying out period. The plants under the plastic are dry believe it or not, so the drip irrigation was started. Hot weather is slated for the end of the week so we need to be alert to our beds wrapped in plastic to ensure that the drip irrigation systems are all working.

Animal report: The groundhogs decided to leave the kale alone this week and we have secured the fencing around the field that they had broken into. The family of rabbits is still enjoying the clover and just loves the weeds, which is a little embarrassing.RainbowCarrots

Rainbow Carrots are in your delivery today. This carrot seed mix produces a "rainbow" of carrots, from salmon-orange, yellow to white with an occasional deep red. Each has their own unique flavor!

A few research points; carrots, originally grew in a variety of colors, with hues including white, pale yellow, purple, red and black. There are actually temple drawings in Egypt depicting the carrot in hieroglyphs circa 2,000 B.C. as a purple root vegetable said to have healing powers. In the 1500’s the Dutch Royal Family adopted the orange carrot as a royal symbol for The House of Orange. Dutch agricultural scientists and growers used a mutant yellow carrot seed from North Africa to develop an orange carrot that was less bitter than the current varieties of the period. This is the standard color of the carrot that we find around the world today. 

Week of June 18th - Pick of the Week: click on the links below or to the right to bring you to the delivery specific to your pick-up location. Deliveries will be of similar variety & poundage, but may contain different items at anytime during the season. Occasionally, some crops are ready to harvest but not enough to deliver to all our drop-off locations. What we do is start to filter them in each week to a different drop-off until there is enough to delivery to everyone.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Catalpa Ridge News–Volume 17 No 1–Week of June 11th

Déjà Rhu !

It’s déjà vu all over again, except this year we’ll calling it déjà rhu. Wet, wet, and more wet, similar to last year, but a few weeks later, though we have Rhubarb right on time!! Recent wet weather has impacted some of the fields, not liking the excessive rains that happen to fall in one day. We had 5” of rain in 8 days, similar to the start of the season last year. As of this newsletter we have gone almost 48 hours without rain! Some of our spots are just too wet with some plants exhibiting stunted growth. Luckily no plant losses of any significance have been noted.

News from the Farm: A lot of plantings were done very early. All fields are planted, except for a new field which is 100_0307ready to plant; it just needs to be fenced. This is our old “round” field. We extended it and double its size. The beds have been made and we laid down the plastic. We are just waiting for time to install the fencing, which is no small chore.

Transplanting is on schedule, though we got behind on the seeding. Our projects this week is to catch up. Transplanting that will be done during this week include a whole gamut of herbs, additional varieties of tomatoes, and peppers as well five different varieties of eggplant. This week we will be seeding lettuce and spinach. Also in the Franklin Greenhouse, Renee has seeded microgreens for deliveries in the weeks to come.

The tomatoes in this week’s delivery are from North State Growers whom we developed a relationship last year for early season tomatoes & cucumbers. Len grows them in greenhouses utilizing unique trellising. The cucumbers will be available soon. Len has similar growing practices to ours and does not spray or use any chemicals. Like us, he uses beneficial insects to control the ones we don’t want. We plan on planting our tomatoes in the lower greenhouse, though we will not have the unique trellising. We are worried about the weather, so we are hoping that this move will help prevent some of the diseases that are common to tomatoes during a wet season.

Thank you for supporting our farm. It is only through the continued support of our members that our farm continues to be sustainable and we continue the practice of farming. We welcome back many of you who have been supporting us for most of our 17 years of CSA deliveries as well as welcome many new members this year. It is also important to acknowledge the efforts of the coordinators at all our drop-off locations. Without drop-off locations that are fully supported the CSA concept is lost. We should all participate in the sense of “community” by helping out, sharing recipes and giving support to each other.

We like to grow many interesting veggies, some of which you may have never tried before. We encourage you to try-it, you’ll like it!! We always provide you with recipes and have our Harvest Identifier online as well.

Remember you are eating seasonally, so the early spring deliveries will be mostly greens and lighter with perhaps 5-7 different items. As the weeks progress, there will also be more variety and the deliveries will become heavier. In the newsletter each week I include recipes for the items that are being delivered. If you have some recipes you would like to share, we can post them on the blog for others to try.

Community supported farm members soon become connected to each other as the weeks go by. We welcome you all and look forward to working with all of you.

Meet the Crew – Lisa returns for her 4th year, Ali her 3rd and Dory her 2nd. Renee who manages our greenhouse in Franklin is back for her 3rd year.. We can’t forget John, who keeps all our machines running and helps with tilling and wrapping the beds with plastic and was instrumental in setting up the irrigation system. They are all doing an amazing job in getting together the delivery and trying to catch up on the season for future weeks.

What’s Up & Growing:

Here is an overview of what is up & growing on the Farm:

Potatoes – 2 varieties

Leeks

Onions

Sunchokes

Lettuce 5-6 varieties

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Chicory

Collards

Fava Beans

Red Cabbage

Kale

Tomatoes 10+ varieties, more to be planted

Summer Squash 4 varieties

Peppers 10+ varieties, more to be planted

Chard

Garlic

Cucumbers – 4 varieties

Chives

Garlic Chives

Basil

Potatoes – 2 varieties

Leeks

Onions

Sunchokes

Lettuce 5-6 varieties

Broccoli

And in the Franklin Greenhouse we have the following up & growing:

Texas Super Sweets

Carrots- Rainbow variety

Stevia

Rosemary

Summer Spinach

Basil

Salad Burnet

Ginger

Weather Report: As in years past, we anticipate a perfect year, only to have the weather play a role in what we can & can’t do. We had May in March and March in April and now April in June with all the recent rain. We had to have Matt deliver some hay so that we could work in the new field, as it was too muddy to work and the hay allowed us to work reasonably without getting stuck in the mud.

Animal report: The animals are on a rampage, one groundhog in particular has been enjoying the kale. Another likes the chicory and we have a family of rabbits that are quite content eating the clover instead of your veggies.

Week of June 11th - Pick of the Week: click on the links below or to the right to bring you to the delivery specific to your pick-up location. Deliveries will be of similar variety & poundage, but may contain different items at anytime during the season. Occasionally, some crops are ready to harvest but not enough to deliver to all our drop-off locations. What we do is start to filter them in each week to a different drop-off until there is enough to delivery to everyone.