CSA Newsletter Box 4-July 14

by jennifer on July 14, 2010

In order to inspire me to write this newsletter I took a quick walk around the fields today.  Here are a few things I noticed….The green beans are showing small little pods and may be ready in two weeks or less….  The buckwheat and sudangrass (summer cover crops to help keep the soil healthy) are sprouting and looking like it will be a lush planting in a few weeks….  Although the summer squash was attacked by insects, rain and cold, they seem to be producing a few fruits here and there which means in a week or two from now we should have enough to put in the CSA boxes. … The potatoes are fairly weed-free and continue to flower, I think I will dig some tomorrow when Jen gets back from Oklahoma, to see how close they are to being harvested (my guess is one more week to wait)…. The pickling cukes have almost turned the corner and seem ready to start producing.  We are currently taking orders for them.  Call us for details on sizes and prices.  It is highly advised for folks to place orders for pickling cukes, we have become a bit known for our cukes and sometimes we get more orders than cukes…. I am still a bit worried about our onion patch.  Although they have sized up significantly since the warmer weather I am unsure if they can make up for all the lost days of warmth and sun that usually accompany June…only time will tell.  Worst case scenario (other than a disease moving in and wiping out the crop completely) is that we harvest smaller onions than usual and try to grow bigger ones again next year….  The carrots are still a bit smaller than usual for this time of year, but they taste great and are finally plentiful…. Winter squash could be another problem that will be hard to replace come fall.  The roots of at least half of the plants have been chewed down and those plants will probably never recover enough to contribute to the harvest.  These tiny centipedes called symphylans, love cool wet weather and like I said will eat the roots off plants.  They do it just enough so the plant lives but doesn’t grow very much.  It seems like they do it on purpose so they can keep eating the roots as the plants try to grow throughout the season.  Anyway, the symphylans have been quite happy this spring/early summer, hopefully this warmer weather will drive them deeper into the soil and away from the root zones of other tasty crops…The broccoli/cabbage/cauliflower (brassica) patches are making a comeback.  The first patch had me depressed for the better part of a month.  They were literally sitting in standing water every time it rained (which was often).  I had finally made peace with the idea that the whole patch would need to be tilled into the soil when lo and behold it started producing some broccoli and kohlrabi.  And if that is not miracle enough (at least in my eyes) the cabbage will probably be ready by the end of July or early August, how ‘bout that.  Another exciting thing going on in the brassica patches is “flower islands”, we have planted little “islands“ of  marigolds, zinnias, flax, and a few other flowers in the beds.  These flowers (hopefully) will attract beneficial insects to the islands and into the patch to help combat some of the “bad” insects that bother/ injure the produce.   We are really hoping this has a positive effect on the health of the farm and if nothing else it will be pretty to look at…. The last planting of, umm, don’t laugh, watermelons got planted this week.  We know it seems crazy to plant melons so late in the season, and we know even if they bear fruit they won’t be ripe until the weather cools down again.  Yes, we know all this and yet we still planted them.  Why?  Because we are determined to try and even though it seems a bit pointless and we have had to pay people to do it and we will possibly never recover the money spent on planting them, it would be far worse for our morale not to try.  I would have to walk past that spot almost every day “where the melons were supposed to be” and feel the pain and anguish of the spring rains all over again (I know it is a bit dramatic, but it is too close to reality to not write it that way).  So this late summer if you somehow find a beautiful, yellow-fleshed watermelon in your CSA share, enjoy it as much as you can and know that sometimes things are worth doing even if it seems a bit on the “crazy” side.… The other warm weather crops, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are really starting to grow and becoming the plants we are used to seeing in July (you know green leaves instead of yellow and the tomato plants have small fruits on them that are just starting to change color a tiny, tiny bit)… We had big plans this winter and spring to really put a lot of effort and energy into growing out seeds.  Again, the weather has set us back a month or so and we will plug away at it.  Our goal of having seeds available next spring at the market for sale seems a bit wishful at this point, but we are confident that the crops/seeds we do grow this year will inspire us for future years (Think about it, if we have good/decent success this year, then future seasons could be a breeze)…. Well, I’ve been at this newsletter writing business today longer than I care to admit (typing is not my forte).  But before I sign off, I would like to thank each of you for signing up with Rising River Farm.  I know there are many great farmers doing CSA’s in this region and it is an honor that you chose us.  It is very rewarding for us to provide your family’s vegetables this summer/fall and it is a commitment that we take to heart.  We strive each week to show you this commitment by producing quality produce each week.  If ever there is something not meeting up to the standard that you expect from Rising River Farm, please contact us and let us know your concerns.  Even though hearing complaints is not our favorite part of having a CSA, it is often very helpful in making decisions for future harvests that season and years to come.    Thank you again and enjoy the summer,  Jim(Ok, now that I have finished the newsletter I can play my mandolin.  My motivating force behind the writing of this newsletter was that I could not touch my mandolin [I did glance at it once or twice] until this newsletter was finished.)A couple quick notes from Jen:Cookbook-sorry, you’ll have to wait one more week. This out-of-town-thing threw me off.We had a box mix-up last week at the NRB drop site. Please make sure you only take the share with YOUR name. If you have a friend pick up your share for you make sure they are very clear about that. If you ever show up and there is not a box for you, talk to the site host and the farm as soon as possible so we can get you your share.  We go to the Olympia Farmers’ Market every Thursday morning so the sooner we know about the mix up the easier it will be for us to resolve the problem. Thanks!This week’s box contents:CarrotsRadishesBeetsChardDill, cilantro, and parsley – rotating each week among the sitesGreen onionKohlrabiShell, snow, and sugar snap peas – rotating each weekGarlicLettuce

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