Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Share items for August 28

Yes we are happy about the rain. Glad at least a few of you are too. Thanks to those who have sent rain empathy messages!

Share items for August 25,28:

3 ears corn

2 red tomatoes

2 large heirloom tomatoes (great white, Cherokee purple, mortgage lifter, brandywine)

1 medium heirloom tomato

2 small garlic

2 red, yellow, or green peppers

1 bag mesclun

1 bag arugula

1 bunch/plant basil

Possible: .5 pint cherry tomatoes. If they are not there it means they’re not in the share

Fruit share: 1 Garden of Eve grown organic watermelon, AND 6 peaches white or yellow, AND either 6 nectarines OR 6 pears (depending on location)

Flower share: zinnias, larkspur, sunflowers, celosia, etc.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Watering on the Farm

Rain, Rain, Come Back To Us by Chris Kaplan-Walbrecht

This summer has had two parts for us – a drought in June and July, then 2 weeks of normal rains, and now another drought period. Do you have houseplants? You know what happens when you forget to water them. It’s the same for us – except we have 40 acres of plants, probably over a million plants all growing at the same time. If it doesn’t rain for long enough, no matter how many resources we’ve put into seeding them, transplanting them, and caring for them – they will die. And watering is a LOT of work on a farm.

Watering plants at Garden of Eve farm is done in many different ways based on crop type, potential for disease pressure, transplanted or direct seeded. We’d like to get rain once a week, equal to one inch of water on the ground. We hope for gentle rains that also waters cover crops which are things like clover, wheat, buckwheat, peas, vetch, and many others. These crops need water too but we don’t have the time or money to provide the water at the rate they need during dry times. If we don’t get those rains, we have to put down one inch on our crops, using our irrigation.

We use drip irrigation tape under the plant roots that provides water where the plant needs it and mulches cover the wet zone so weeds have difficulty growing through it. This is the perfect year for most of these crops. They like water and heat. Dry leaves on these plants usually mean less disease. Drip irrigation is a great match for these crops and that’s why you are receiving large amounts of tomatoes, peppers and melons this year.

Overhead watering is used at Garden of Eve Farm to get water on cooler weather crops like lettuce, beets, carrots, kale, broccoli, and cabbage. These crops prefer to grow in the cooler spring and fall. We are planting seed and transplants now for fall harvest. Growing and starting them requires first that transplants be started in the greenhouse until they are big enough to plant out. In the greenhouse it’s easier for us to provide water and sometimes shade in a wind, insect and disease free environment.

But once they are planted out in the field, keeping these little guys alive is a big challenge. Especially this year due to the hot and dry conditions. The flea beetle is one of our worst enemies and this year it has been extremely bad. Smaller than a pin head, this bug thrives in these dry conditions and its favorite food is arugula, cabbage, Kale, broccoli and turnips. They hop around and then feed on the leaves poking holes until the leaf is completely eaten. That is why arugula, bok choi, and many others in the “brassica” plant family often have holes in the leaves when they come to you. We aren’t happy about this, but we do our best to prevent it and sometimes even that is not good enough. Some people say, the extra air from the holes in the leaves makes them low-calorie greens!

Keeping the soil and leaves cool and wet helps but there is no organic approved spray that controls or reduces flea beetles’ population. Covering these crops with fabric sheets called “row cover” provides a barrier if placed immediately after planting. Finding time to manage these tasks of planting, watering, covering and then uncovering to weed and cultivate is a challenge during time of tomato harvest. Watering these plants requires an overhead source in our system. This is done with aluminum pipe with sprinklers we lay by hand (they are very heavy!) and then moved (also by hand) to the next location after 2 hours of watering.

Preparing the fields for planting is also challenging without rain or water. Since we use cover crops to loosen soil and build organic matter we first need to mow them down and mix it in the soil so it can decay. If there is no rain, the micro organisms in the soil can’t do their work of breaking down the dead leaves of the cover crops we have tilled under. If the cover crop doesn’t decay, this can delay planting. Even once the field is ready to plant into, we usually try to encourage the weed seeds to germinate before we plant, so we can get rid of them. This requires water too.

Of course, dry conditions are good for a few things. Dryness is good for preventing the fungal diseases that struck down so many crops last year, including the tomato blight. Some weeds grow slower without water… but some don’t! It’s good for farmers market sales on Saturdays. That’s about it though. The bottom line is, we’re growing living things, and they need water!

Eve Kaplan-Walbrecht

Garden of Eve Organic Farm

www.GardenOfEveFarm.com

News from the farm:

We are taking a couple of days off at the end of this week and the Saturday distribution will be in the very capable hands of our apprentices and farm crew. That is why we are sending this share list out early, without quantities. If you have last minute questions call the farmstand for share clarification at 631-722-8777 between 10am and 6 pm any day. We also won’t be on email. After the share list (below) there is a treatise from Chris on irrigation, his (not) favorite subject.

Share items for August 18, 21:

corn

red tomatoes

heirloom tomatoes

garlic

purple, white, or green peppers

zucchini OR cucumbers (not sure which yet)

bunch/plant basil

carrots

potatoes

Fruit share: one large Garden of Eve-grown organic melon, and 2 lb white peaches and 2 lb nectarines

Flower share: zinnias, larkspur, sunflowers, celosia, dill, etc.

New this week: note our biodegradable plastic flower sleeves, with handles for ease of carrying! And they are colorfully colored! We hope you like them and that they extend the life of your flowers, and make your life easier.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Share items for August 14th

Share items for August 11, 14:

Note: there was no fennel or peppers in the share last week, for any CSA locations. They were on an early share list, but were not able to be harvested in time to include in the share. The dry weather has pulled much of our resources away from harvesting and planting, to just moving irrigation pipe and trying to water the crops we already have in the ground. It’s been close to another 3 weeks without rain.

On the positive side, the heirloom tomatoes are coming in strong, with (hopefully) no sign of late blight in our area. Now that we are later in the sweet corn season (which started in mid July), the earworms pick up steam and get into a larger percentage of the ears. That is just a fact of life of organic production, as contrasted with conventional farmers who are spraying highly toxic chemicals on their corn every three days or so. We have heard stories of members not taking our organic corn at the CSA distributions because they are afraid of a few small worms – this makes us sad. We work very hard to bring you super sweet corn for you to enjoy, it is a highlight of our season and we hope it is a highlight of yours. Thanks to those of you who have sent encouraging comments on this subject. We are happy when you are happy. So this week we are going through nearly every corn ear before we distribute it, and are snapping off any affected tips, or shucking the corn entirely to make sure it is clean, and then distribute it in bags. So if you get a slightly shorter ear, or even a worm, this is why.

Also, we have noticed that the sungold tomatoes don’t seem to be lasting as long as they usually do- they seem more fragile this year, crushing more easily. We are not sure why. It may have something to do with the heat. In any case, if you get a mixed container, just wash it out at home and discard anything broken, the good ones will still be fine. Please know we don’t ever intend for you to receive anything damaged obviously, we spend hundreds of man-hours each week going through the produce, culling, and packaging it so it arrives at your CSA in good shape. However sometimes our best efforts are thwarted.

Heirloom tomatoes being harvested this week are Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, and Great White. These are three of our favorite varieties. Great White in particular is a little-known, low-acid, very delicious tomato. Yes they are delicate!! If you come near the end of distribution, there will be some which are damaged, split, etc. Again we do our best culling but they do get damaged en route (by each other, in the crates), that is why you can NOT buy them ANYWHERE in stores. If you get a damaged tomato cut it up and roast it it will be delicious. I made a pizza from these last week. Also Emeril has a great “roasted tomato and zucchini gallette” in his new cookbook. With goat cheese and puff pastry! How can you beat that?

6 ears corn

.5 pint sungold cherry tomatoes

3 large mostly heirloom tomatoes

3 small red tomatoes

2 purple, white, or green peppers

1 small head savoy cabbage

1 large bunch/plant basil

1 lb mixed zucchini (green and/or yellow)

1 lb Cucumbers, white and/or green

1 bulb fennel

Fruit share: one large Garden of Eve-grown organic melon, and 10 peaches

Flower share: zinnias, larkspur, sunflowers, celosia, lemon basil, dill, etc.

Farm Trip is This Sunday 8/15/10

Remember the Farm Trip this Sunday, August 15, 11am-1pm!

Tour the Farm

We'll walk the fields, visit the chickens to collect eggs, and taste-test the growing veggies as we go! There are lambs, chickens, bunnies, and turkeys to visit, as well as our 50 acres of fast growing veggies. Our livestock guard dogs are back to work, the honeybees active, and the butterflies going crazy. BBQ lunch (organic hot dog and veggie burger, chips and natural soda or juice) will be available for $10, bring a bag lunch if you prefer; we'll also have sandwiches, snacks and sodas for sale at our Organic Farm Market. Bring lots of water, sun protection and clothes you can get dirty. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members from all locations free, all others $10. farmer@gardenofevefarm.com or 631-722-8777. More info and photos are on our website at www.gardenofevefarm.com .

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

NOFA-NY Volunteers Needed

Volunteers Needed

NOFA-NY (NorthEastern Organic Farming Association - New York) has a busy late summer and fall season ahead and has a strong need for volunteers during this time. If you or someone you know is available for one of the below events, please contact Matt Robinson at matt@nofany.org or at 585-271-1979.

Community Outreach-NYC

NOFA-NY will be tabling to promote the organization and the NY Locavore Challenge at the following locations during August. Half day or full day volunteers are needed to assist at the table with a NOFA-NY staff person.

Friday, August 20th: Park Slope Food Coop
Saturday, August 21st: Grand Army Plaza Market-Brooklyn
Sunday, August 22nd: Carroll Gardens Market-Brooklyn
Monday, August 23rd: Union Square Market-Manhattan
Tuesday, August 24th: City Hall-Manhattan

*If you know of other market locations in different communities where you could help to promote NOFA-NY please let us know as well!

Captains for NY Locavore Challenge

To get the word out NOFA-NY is looking for Captains to help lead NY State in this challenge. Captains will be responsible for recruiting others to commit to the challenge and helping to distribute resources from NOFA-NY around the state. Find out what’s in it you – click here.

Ready to get started? Email info@nofany.org and express your interest now!

Potluck Hosts

On a single evening in September (Thursday, September 23rd) groups of people will gather over potlucks across the wide state of NY, from Niagara Falls to the tip of Long Island, breaking (local, organic) bread together.

NOFA-NY is hoping you will host a potluck for your friends, neighbors and community members. The statewide potluck is part of the NY Locavore Challenge, so each attendee to a potluck must be registered for one of the NY Locavore Challenges (Day, Week or Month).

If the host is another like-minded non-profit organization, you can also use this event to raise funds for your organization, and keep any funds collected in addition to the Locavore Challenge registration fees. The Day Challenge fee for members for NOFA-NY is $5, and for non-members is $7.

See more information here. Email your interest to lea@nofany.org to become a Potluck Host today!

Empire Farm Days

NOFA-NY at Empire Farm Days: Volunteers Needed for Tabling!

Dates: August 10-12, 2010
Location: Rodman Lott & Son Farms, 2973 State Route 414, Seneca Falls, NY

Empire Farm Days is coming up next week, and NOFA-NY needs your help to spread the organic message! NOFA-NY will have a table set up in the Cornell Building, and we need your help to staff this table. Below is a list of times when we'll need help at the table. Please have a look at the list and then let us know when you can help out by contacting Matt Robinson at matt@nofany.org or by calling (585) 271-1979.

Tuesday: 9:00am – 11:45am, 11:30am – 2:15pm, and 2:00 – 5:00pm
Wednesday: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Thursday: 12:15pm – 4:00pm

For more information & directions to Empire Farm Days, visit their website.

Silent Auction Coordinator

Our 2011 Winter Conference is only 5 ½ months away, which means that it’s time to start thinking about the Silent Auction! NOFA-NY is looking for a volunteer to coordinate donations & bids for the Silent Auction. The Silent Auction Coordinator keeps track of donations prior to the conference, ensures that all items are delivered on time, and then tallies the bids to determine the Silent Auction winners. It’s a great way to contribute to the Winter Conference and help NOFA-NY raise money to support our programming! As a token of NOFA-NY’s thanks, the Silent Auction Coordinator will receive free registration to the entire conference. Please email Matt Robinson if you’re interested in this volunteer opportunity: matt@nofany.org.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Share Items for August 7

Share items for August 4, 7:

corn

sungold cherry tomatoes

tomatoes

2 purple peppers

1 head savoy cabbage

1 large bunch/plant basil

mixed zucchini (green and/or yellow)

Cucumbers, white and/or green

1 pint new potatoes

1 bulb fennel

Fruit share: one large Garden of Eve-grown organic cantaloupe, one organic Garden-of-Eve grown Crenshaw melon, and half-pint organic blackberries

Flower share: hydrangeas (wed), dill flowers, zinnias, larkspur, sunflowers, celosia, etc.