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Getting Caught Up

September 2, 2011

There is something to be said for the title of this post, which I found lingering in the “Recent Drafts” section of the blog, just a headline with zero body. Dated July 18. What can I say, it’s been a busy season. Thankfully Teri has kept you all very up to date on what has been happening with the Farmstand renovations, and by now I hope you have had a chance to see some of the excitement for yourself.

This portion of the new farm stand will house some food prep area and refrigerator chests.

The construction crew added a portion of the wooden frame structure to the steel beams this week, so those of you nervous about the box store look, you can relax, we are just building something beautiful over strong bones. The view from Central Ave and Forest Street should only continue to improve from here on, as the post and beam structure that will house the retail stand begins to rise in the next few weeks.

As far as the field goes things have been coming and going so quickly I can hardly remember where we were standing last much less what I’ve tried to draw your attention to. That Summer onion crop has sadly been sold clean away, but it was such a hit we are determined to sow even more next year. Another summer surprise has been the moderate success of okra. Considering most bets were against it I am pleased that our customers have gotten a little more adventurous over the past 30 years.

Mr. Volante's Cornetta peppers are sweet Italian frying peppers and an exclusive of ours. These are ripening on the plant so that we can harvest seeds for next years crop.

The eggplant and pepper crops are in full swing, and not showing too much sign of damage from Tropical Storm Irene. There is a heavy rain storm for every season that damages the pepper crop to some extent and while this was no exception the plants seem to be bouncing back. Right next to them in the field the eggplant are marching on. Some have really enjoyed that shot of moisture while others are more to the waterlogged end.

These tennis ball sized and hued eggplants have proven a hit with at least a few customers.

The few round orange eggplant we planted this year as a trial have found a least one happy customer. Have you had a chance to try them yet? A customer I spoke with this week, originally from Cameroon, tells me they are a luxury item as far as she is concerned.

This lovely Dancer eggplant is one that weathered the storm with flying colors.

Near the pepper and eggplant two late summer crops are giving it a go. The celery once again proves it likes having its feet wet and is hanging on grandly. The Brussels sprouts, which we were at one point thrilled to get off the gravel of the home field, well we are in the wait and see mode. Plenty of crops are continuing to delay the decision of giving up or staying strong.








The tomatoes, which have been a stellar performer this season, especially all those lovely heirlooms, took a pretty strong hit in the storm.

After a week of recovery time we certainly can see the stresses of the weather on them. They will continue to provide for a few more weeks, but it does look like it will be an earlier end of the season than we are accustomed to for them. So get down and stock up  soon.  Anytime post-Labor Day is Sauce Season right? I mean the white shoes are gone, so there is less to stain after all.

These tomatoes were a solid wall of green and red covering this trellis last week, this row in particular had to meet Irene's winds first and many plants were pulled clean off their stakes.

Despite the ugliness of the tomato plants, they are still working, just like Mac is here to sort out the San Marzano plums by ripeness.

Have you given any of the new-to-us varieties a try? Be sure to let us know, your feedback now helps us decide how many of each variety to plant next year.  Any thoughts on the Evergreen or German Red Strawberry? Or is Merlot still a favorite. My loyalties lie with Black Sea Man and Prudens Purple, but I could still be swayed.

Summer Squash took a real beating in the storm, perhaps more than any other crop. So zucchini and other summer squashes will be diminished in quantity over the coming weeks, unless our fall crop picks up the pace. Our last crop of cucumbers are already performing very well and we are actually picking cucumbers everyday right now, perhaps the low to the ground profile of the plants helped them in the wind. So we should have pickles and cucumbers on into September.

Even though the plants are small at this wet end of the field, fall cucumbers are starting to put out decent fruit to get us through the next few weeks.

The corn is what we all care about and I have been dreading bringing it up. Most of our remaining corn crop did in fact blow down during Irene. This isn’t disastrous, but it certainly increases the amount of work that goes into harvesting every morning. Due to the extreme nature of the storm winds much of the corn is laying interlaced among itself in the field and needs to be picked off the ground instead of at waist level.

Many of the younger crops seem to be doing their best to reach back toward the sun so if we stay in a pretty storm free pattern, corn will certainly get easier and continue to ripen well as it straightens itself out.

We have a few new varieties on the way as well so keep an eye out. Montauk will finish soon and Providence will fill in for it. All-white Argent is in the near future, as well as new-comers Primus and Honey Select. As always let us know what you think of these trial varieties.

This corn has made an amazing comeback in five days. You can make out the bend at the base of the plant perhaps. that is how far it has had to move to point skyward again after Irene. This is the corn we would pick in early October if the weather holds that long.

One crop that seems unfazed by weather at all this year is the beans. They just keep providing more and more. Shell and Limas have been coming in strong, as well as plenty of wax and Romano beans. Of course, Volantes is probably the only farm around that keeps green beans separated by variety, and on a given day will have a half-dozen to choose from.

Recent favorites include Provider, Jade, and Lewis. We always try to have Kentucky Wonders, for their uniquely strong flavor. Also this year we have been sampling Boone and Caprice. Six green beans, all different enough to earn a spot on the table. Make sure and find your favorite why the variety is still available.

With Fall semi-officially here this weekend it seems valid to note that winter squash is readily available. Not that you should want it now, but if you did, you could certainly have some. I find it a little premature to consider, but the acorn, delicata, spaghetti, and many other ready squashes are telling me to get over it.

Of course apples are beginning to ripen as well. Many of the early varieties are available and I will try to update that list shortly. More seem to arrive daily so the best way to know is just keep stopping in.

And one last field note for today, the fall broccoli crop has begun to provide heaping amounts. We are picking outrageously large and beautiful heads right now so if you have been holding back on a favorite recipe, the wait is over. That message is for you too local restauranteurs, time to consider updating those menus soon.

Broccoli plants are loving the cool nights.

In the meantime, we are open all weekend Labor day weekend, 9-6 Sat, Sun and Mon. Can’t wait to see you for all your end of summer picnic needs.

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