Friday, July 2, 2010

July 2 - Summer is in full swing!

I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful weather we've been having. The garden certainly has. Rain every once in a while...sun and heat the rest of the time. Perfect Maine gardening weather. I don't have much to report for new stuff this week since you've had everything that's in the share before at some point this summer. I'll just give a quick run-down in list format and then if anyone has any questions please feel free to contact me. (That's true anytime as you know.) This week's share includes:
Basil - Genovese and Napolitano
Georgia Southern Collard Greens (these are the very large leaves with white-ish stems. See previous posts for description and links to google recipe pages).
Mixed Bunched Chard
Peas - Shell Peas (the dark plump ones), Snap Peas (edible pods), Snow Peas (the flat pods, also edible).
Broccoli - Bangor shares are up in this rotation this week.
Mixed Radish
Beet Greens
Nancy Head Lettuce

I've had some great feedback from many of you and I really appreciate it. As a direct result I've cut back on the lettuce in the share the last two weeks. This week it is only the one kind of head lettuce. Many of you commented that you are just overwhelmed with lettuce. If people would like me to up the amount again I'm happy to do so. We have plenty in the garden.
Peas, peas and more peas. We pulled 85 lbs. of Sugar Snap Peas off the trellis this week. There are so many that we harvested nearly every day this week. Jim even came out to the farm an extra day and harvested peas almost all day Thursday. Thanks a million to Jim!!! Great job!
The Sugar Snaps are easy to tell from the others in your share based solely on quantity. Full shares got 2.5 lbs and half shares received 1.25 lbs each. That's unprecedented for us at Parker Produce. Great planning, planting, weeding, trellising and weather have all contributed to a bumper crop. I hope everyone enjoys them. It's actually a challenge to get them off the vine before they get too large. There are just so many.
If you don't like to eat snap peas when they get large you can still take the peas out of the pods and eat them. It's not as sweet but still makes a nice addition to any meal.
Other than that we've been cranking away at the farm and off. Last weekend Emily, Lizzie and I went down to Litchfield (where I'm from originally) and visited my folks. Lizzie goes absolutely crazy for bubbles and my mother bought a bubble wand that makes massive bubbles. I like it as much as Lizzie. Here she is trying to ensure the bubbles don't float very long before meeting their doom in a silent but dramatic POP!
Also, as part of our apprenticeship program we do several things that are 'extra' to the on-farm experience. This week I took Brittany to Four Season Farm in Harborside Maine, home of Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch. First, if you've never been to Harborside, go! It's amazingly beautiful, quiet and out of the way. Wonderful. Second, if you don't know who Eliot Coleman is you can consider him the guru of small scale beyond organic gardening (though he calls his methods organic). He is an amazing farmer and a great writer. He has written many wonderful books and I base many of my methods, though not all, on his writings and examples. Visiting his farm is an inspiration to someone like me and gives me a glimpse of some of the things that are possible when you have years of experience, research and all the farm-hands you can handle. Below is one of his many greenhouses. This one, as you can tell, is completely dedicated to tomatoes. He uses heat sources to push his tomatoes to produce this early and plants hybrids that are specifically designed to be of the few things he does with which I disagree. Although it was hard to remember why as we were standing in his greenhouse with all those ripe tomatoes.
Finally, I want to give a big shout out to Brittany herself. If you're enjoying your share this year you can thank her very much. Our returning members will recall the previous year's shares and might wonder what happened. They have always been quite good for what I was able to do myself (if I do say so myself) with the exception of last year and its weather. But this year we've begun our apprenticeship program and we really, really lucked out. Brittany is an amazing apprentice and she will make an awesome farmer as soon as she gets her own place. She is a very hard working individual with the necessary drive and personality for the lifestyle. Without her the shares that you've been receiving simply wouldn't be possible. She has helped me keep the weeds in the garden in check, helped me transplant way more than I ever have by myself, helps keep the chickens happy by helping me feed, water and move them and does so much more. So, as we pull into the height of summer and the holiday weekend, hats off to Brittany. She's doing an awesome, awesome, awesome job. And here she is while we toured Eliot Coleman's place. Thanks Brittany!

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