Friday, August 5, 2011

Halfway there!

Welcome to the halfway point. And here at the farm it couldn't be more apparent. About this time every year there is a marked shift at the farm, in the garden and generally in the air. You'll notice in your share that we've really made a transition into the full summer and into the fall crops. Also, I had to wear a winter hat for about an hour this morning until it warmed up at about 4:45am. And the sun isn't rising quite as early as it has been and after August 1 that's more apparent. This is when I start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And also a stressful time because literally everything needs to be done as we weed, harvest and get ready for fall/winter crops!
Speaking of fall crops. This year I'm harvesting my garlic earlier than ever in order to stay ahead of it and have a nicer harvest. I started on Tuesday with Elephant Garlic. I have a love affair with Garlic that nearly rivals my love of tomatoes (well, almost). I love garlic for the variety, the flavor, the smell, the way it tickles all the senses really. I also love it for it's complicated simplicity if that makes any sense at all. Watching it change throughout the year is wonderful and if done right it's one of the lowest maintenance crops there is. And this year, I did it right! I haven't touched the garlic patch since I planted and mulched it last October. And now it's paying off with a great harvest.
Here is the Elephant garlic hanging in my newly constructed garlic drying table. Pretty simple with just pallets, a few nails and some chicken wire from the sugar snap trellis.

And here is some garlic that was harvested this morning. This is Chesnok Red and it's an amazingly beautiful garlic. It's also quite tasty with just a tiny bit of heat and a wonderful garlic aroma. You will find one head of Chesnok Red in your share this week.
And this week sees the first of the 'big' tomatoes. The large tomatoe(s) in your share are from the hoop houses. As you can see from this photo there are a lot more yet to ripen. The numbers will only increase from here forward!

Here are the tomatoes in mid harvest. I've been searching for a basket that would be able to hold my delicate tomatoes without putting divots or blemishes in the heirlooms. Searching without success! So this winter I started designing my own. As you can see it's made from cedar (cut and milled here at the farm) and two perpendicular layers of snow fence. I tested it on the hybrids today just to see if it could stand up to the weight. So far so good. Hopefully it will work!

And here the are in all their glory in the milk house before being packed into your shares for the week.

Don't forget the Sun Gold Cherry if it were possible. They are so delicious! I commented to Brittany today as we broke for a quick lunch that I sometimes don't realize how thirsty I am until I chomp into a Sun Gold. So juicy and sweet!

Voici!!! New Potatoes! I'll have to check my records but I'm going out on a limb to say this is the earliest I've ever put potatoes in the shares. You'll find a plastic bag with a mix of white (King Harry) and red (Caribe) potatoes. I'm a huge fan of the Caribe for red potatoes. I've been searching for years for something to replace the Red Norland, which is OK but I want spectacular. Caribe is certainly on the list! I love the beautiful color and the flavor is wonderful too! Plus, this crop is from seed I saved myself last year. Originally the stock came from Wood Prairie farm in northern Maine. I purchase all my potato seed stock there unless I save it myself (which I do increasingly with all seed varieties each year.

Also today, I pulled the last of the scallions from the garden. These would be great chopped up and sauteed with the potatoes in a bit of garlic, olive oil or butter and salt and pepper. They would also be a good addition for our egg share members. I hear breakfast for supper coming on.

Also, I cut the first of our Fernleaf Dill for the shares this week. This would also make a nice addition to the New Potatoes that are in your share. Boiled potatoes with butter, salt and pepper is a wonderful summer treat. The dill would also be a nice addition to your cucumbers, of which there are two kinds, in your share. Remember the long ones aren't gone by but rather are trellised vertically and are meant to get long and large. They are great because cutting one and peeling one can get you up to two regular cucumbers worth of meal! We've been eating cucumber sandwiches with local artisan bread from 'Good Bread' and cream cheese from Bagel Central in Bangor.

You won't find this particular variety of zucchini in your share as it's just a trial this year and I only have 4 plants, but I can't resist photographing these wonderful specimens. I love them.

Finally, some of the goings on at the farm. Here is a quick shot of some of the turkeys this morning. I'm running them in the vineyard to control the grass and weeds. They're doing a great job. And they're getting big.

I also moved the pullets outside on Wednesday. This is the last shot of them in their cozy barn house. Now they're out in their mobile laying coop enjoying the fresh air. Another week or so and I'll let them out onto pasture!

Finally, I saw this moth on a radish flower and thought it would make a great photo. I won't show you all the blurry shots of radishes and the ground before I could focus the camera properly. I'm just glad he didn't fly away before I could figure out the lens.

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