Thursday, April 18, 2013

And So It Goes

"Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder, 'Why, why, why?' Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land; Man got to tell himself he understand."
And a farmer needs to seed, plant, weed, and harvest. Some things just got to be.

Seeding has continued, as it will throughout the season. To bring you up to date, here is the final segment of seeding to date.

 March 21- 25 varieties of herbs. A future post will list the various herbs that will be available at market.
March 21- Two varieties of leeks; two flats.
March 21- Black Magic Kale. This is a new variety of Tuscan kale. It has very dark, crinkled leaves which have rich flavor. Makes excellent kale chips; four flats.

March 29/30- Tomatoes, hot peppers, sweet peppers, and eggplants. As with the herbs, a future post will provide additional information about the varieties that were seeded. There were over 60 varieties of tomatoes, 15 varieties of hot peppers, 6 varieties of eggplant, and 10 varieties of sweet peppers. There are also a few varieties of specialty peppers.

April 4- Basil (Italian Large Leaf, Thai, Red Rubin, and Mrs. Burns’ Lemon).

April 4- Ficoide Glaciale. Huh? What? You read that right- Ficoide Glaciale. This plant is nearly unknown in the United States. If known, it might be familiar to some as the “ice plant”. It has fleshy, lightly acidic leaves that are covered with shimmering silvery dots, giving them a frosty appearance. The leaves are crunchy and refreshing in salads, and may also be cooked like spinach.

April 6- Peas

April 13- Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry- David has grown these the past couple of years, so they shouldn’t be a total mystery. Here is a description from Slow Food USA Ark of Taste- “This heirloom is not actually a cherry, but rather a small ground tomato. The fruits were recorded in horticultural literature as early as 1837 in Pennsylvania and are still common today at roadside stands in late summer. This outstanding Polish variety is prized for its clean flavor.  This tomato has pineapple and vanilla flavor.  Because of their high pectin count, they can be used for preserves, pies, over ice cream or in fresh fruit salads”.

Poha Berry- These will be a new offering this season. It is also known as Cape Gooseberry. The Poha Berry is a popular fruit berry in Hawaii. The berry is sweet/tart with smooth, waxy orange skin. The berries are often made in a jam. They are also a treat in salads.

Okra- David grew okra for the first time two years ago. Last year things didn’t work out, but this year okra will be back. When buying fresh okra, look for young pods free of bruised, tender but not soft,and no more than four inches long. They can be stored in the refrigerator in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel in a perforated plastic bag for two to three days.

Tomatillo- It is related to the cape gooseberry. Fruit should be firm and bright green. It should also be firm. A staple of Mexican cuisine.

4/14- Crosnes. Ok. First Ficoide Glaciale and now this? What is this? First, it is pronounced crones, despite the spelling. It is an Asian member of the mint family, known for its edible and unusual-shaped tubers. Described as looking like a string of mutant, spiral pearls. Usually about two inches in length, about ½ inch in diameter. They have a crunchy texture and earthy flavor. Similar to a Jerusalem artichoke in taste- Crosne offers a vague, nutty sweetness. They will be available in late fall.

4/14- Yacon (Peruvian Ground Apple). Oh boy, something else you’ve probably never heard of. And what is this? Well, it is grown for its crisp, sweet tasting tuberous roots, similar to a jicama. It has a slightly sweet resinous and floral flavor, similar to violet. While it is mainly used for its tubers, the leaves can be made into a tea.

4/14- Britton Shiso: Green leaves with red undersides. Can be used as part of a salad mix. The larger leaves can be used as sushi wraps. David has grown, and will be growing this season, both red and green shiso. Shiso has a slight lemon/mint flavoring. Apart from adding to a salad or as a sushi wrap, shiso can be used, among various ways, to make a shiso mojito, as flavoring in rice, and to make as a soup.

One of David’s pleasures in farming is to grow items that are off the beaten path. In his passion for farming, David tries to walk both roads of a diverging path- he grows traditional and nontraditional items for the joy of it.

A couple of quick notes- on 4/17 and 4/18 many plants were moved out of the greenhouse to the tables in front of the greenhouse. This will allow the plants to ‘harden’, to acclimate to being out of doors in anticipation of planting sometime late next week or early the week after.
On 4/16, 4/17, and 4/18 David spent a lot of time on the tractor using his spader to start preparing the soil for planting. Freshly turned soil is a beautiful sight.

Eat healthy. Support local farmers. Support organic farming. Support sustainable farming. Support labeling of GMO’s.

 Garlic is growing! Garlic is planted in the fall, usually Octoberish. And then it begins to show itself in early spring. This picture was taken 4/14. The garlic greens first began to show themselves a month earlier.

 This is some of the lettuce that was seeded on March 20. This picture was taken April 11.

These are the onions that were planted on March 15. This picture was taken April 11.

This is David using the spader to turn the soil. You can see the before and after difference in the soil.

A general picture of the greenhouse. If you compare with the pictures from the previous post you can get a perspective of how things have grown.

Baby Red Rubin basil.

Here is a picture of the spader. Imagine using a hand held spade working in your garden. Imagine eight of them working simultaneously being turned by an engine.

Here's a close up of the soil after one pass by the spader.

Baby tomatoes.

A couple of books about healthy eating and cooking: 
Mark Bittman- VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good. His basic premise is to follow a vegan diet before 6PM and to eat pretty much what you want in the evening.
Michael Pollan- Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.
"Here, he discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements—fire, water, air, and earth—to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink."

Happy growing, cooking, eating, and drinking to all.


1 comment:

Jack said...

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