Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer In The City

"Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty, been down, isn't it a pity, doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city. All Around, people looking half dead, walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head".
The past few weeks have seen temperatures in the Z Food Farm area in the 90's. And dry. (It did finally rain July 13/14.) This year's weather is in stark contrast to last year's weather. Last year, for most of the month of June, it was wet, cool, and breezy. This had a devastating impact on most organic farmers throughout the Northeast; the early onslaught of late blight which wiped out tomato crops of many organic farmers and severely limited the abundance of the harvest for those who did manage to have some. While the current dry conditions in the Z Food Farm area of NJ, and elsewhere, are not great, in fact damaging, for many farmers, David has been able to avoid significant drought related problems. The well at Z Food Farm has, to date, been up to the task of keeping the crops adequately watered. And, from this, David is anticipating a good tomato crop. The first tomatoes are expected by the beginning of August. As with a couple of other varieties of produce, David's tomatoes are a couple of weeks behind where he would like them to be. This delay goes back to the beginning of Z Food Farm when there were weather delays in building the green house and then a delay while waiting for the deer fence to be put up. Still waiting to have their first harvest are carrots and sweet peppers, among others. Despite the delays, there is a great abundance of various crops including- summer squash, cucumbers, Swiss chard, kale, lettuce, salad mix, basil, parsley, radishes, red tropea onions, cipollini onions (both varieties are just wonderful- sweet, delicious and multi-purposed), and beets. The bounty is here. For much of the spring the catch phrase that helped David plug away was, 'getting there'. Now the helpful phrase is, 'getting closer'. Once the tomatoes and potatoes are available David will 'be there'.

Being at the markets has been a wonderful experience. The support of friends old and new at both Lawrenceville and Rittenhouse Square is greatly appreciated. Bringing fresh produce, both the usual and the different, is an essential part of Farmer David's approach to farming. David looks forward to seeing everyone in the weeks to come.

David's dog, Hule, has been at it again. As of July 11 ground hog number five has been dispatched. This one was caught as it was in the process of eating lettuce. It is hoped that this is the one that had been doing the most recent damage to the lettuce bed.

Another word about the recent heat wave. As much as the heat has the potential to be problematic for the crops, the impact on those working the fields can also be severe. There is no shade. There is no relief from the relentlessness of the sun and the heat. To be a farmer, or a farm employee, requires a task commitment regardless of the weather conditions. Weeding, planting, harvesting need to be done; the rhythm of the plants isn't going to wait on whether of not the conditions are convenient for those working the fields. With this in mind, please keep in mind all of the hard work in miserable conditions that are part of the process of bringing you fresh farm produce, especially if you are shopping at your local farmers' market. In this context please know that the produce that David brings to market is invariably brought to market within 24-48 hours of being harvested.

Eat healthy. Eat local. Eat sustainable. Eat organic!

Happy and healthy eating to all.

Here's David embracing the bounty of his labor at the Rittenhouse Square Market. This is from earlier in the market season. At this time there is much more available for market.

This is version 1.0 of the sign that is put up in front of the farm for the Wednesday farm stand. There is a newer sign that will be posted the next time.

This is Z Food Farm Friend, Mary Jo. Her assistance in helping get everything arranged for the first farm stand was invaluable.

In addition to produce, various plants were available for sale.

The summer squash comes in all sorts of sizes and shapes. In regards to the squash, David believes that the smaller the better. At a smaller size the squash is more tender, less seedy, and more tasty. Do a taste test comparison on your own and see how it turns out.

That's all for now. Enjoy your fresh, sustainable produce.

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