Bits and pieces. Market season is in full swing. The market at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. The New Amsterdam Market in New York City. The Lawrenceville Farmers' Market and at the farm itself. Though things got off to a slow start due to weather considerations and the general challenges of farming, the availability of produce is picking up with more new items available on a weekly basis. Currently available is Swiss Chard, kale, cippolini onions, summer squash, cucumbers, basil, white and purple scallions, various lettuces, and cabbage. Coming up this week should be radishes, parsley, potatoes, and fresh garlic. Taking a hiatus are spinach, collards, and kohlrabi. It has been rewarding to have f'riends' from last year tell us how happy they are that Z Food Farm is back at old markets. And the response from new 'friends' at last years markets and the New Amsterdam Market (which is new for ZFF this year) is extremely gratifying. Much thanks to all who support David's efforts by buying some of their produce from Z Food Farm.
As always the weather plays a role in the ebb and flow of farming. While there have not been too many rainy days, the days of rain have a) come at inopportune times and b) dumped a lot of rain in a short period of time. This resulted in David falling behind in forming beds in order to plant, thus delaying the planting of certain items. (Putting the tractor on wet ground will compact the soil; compacted soil is not healthy soil.) The rain also resulted in the proliferation of weeds. The weeds overwhelmed the first planting of a couple of items, salad mix being one. This has meant that David has been unable to bring some produce to market. All farmers experience these types of challenges. Those who can adapt and keep pushing forward are those who ultimately succeed. Those who don't, stop. And so it goes.
An article by Mark Bittman ( "The True Cost of Tomatoes") that should be of interest for those who are interested and concerned about how their food is grown and about those who work for certain industrial farms can be found at this link http://opinionator.blogs.
Here is one paragraph from the article- "Most of the big purchasers, like Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, want firm, “slicing” tomatoes, because their destination is a burger or a sandwich, so the tomatoes are picked at what is called “mature green,” which isn’t mature at all but bordering on it. Tomatoes with any color other than green are too ripe to ship, and left to rot; I’ve posted a couple of pictures I took of those on my blog. The green tomatoes are gassed — “de-greened” is the chosen euphemism — to “ripen” them; the plants themselves are often killed with an herbicide to hasten their demise and get ready for the next crop." In addition to exploring the manner in which tomatoes are grown and treated, the article discusses the harsh living conditions of the farm workers. Read this article and think about the tomatoes you eat at local restaurants when local tomatoes are not in season. Speaking of tomatoes, Z Food Farm should have some cherry tomatoes within the next couple of weeks. A couple of varities of 'regular' tomatoes could be ready by the very end of July, with the second week of August being when the main crop of tomatoes start to make their appearance. When all is said and done, David hopes to have upwards of 60 varieties of tomatoes, mostly heirloom, to tantalize your taste buds.
Looking forward the the weeks to come. Good health and happy eating to all.