Hello CSA Members!
This is our kickoff week for the 2021 CSA Season! We'll be delivering lots of food to our CSA Members this week, so be sure to pick up your Harvest Basket and/or Salad Share!
(If you need a refresher on the when/where/how of your pickup, all that info is always on our website at https://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/valley-flora-pick-locations. Scroll down for specifics on each site.)
What's in the Harvest Basket this week?
- Arugula - 1/2 lb bagged
- Head Lettuce
- Spring Onions
- Tokyo Bekana Mustard Greens - lime green heads with white ribs, deliciously mild and lettucey (not a spicy mustard)
- Pea Shoots - great on salads, lightly sauteed, or tossed into smoothies
- Spring turnips
- Cherry Tomato Plant
On Rotation (this means that some locations will receive it this week and others next week):
Cherry Tomato Plants!
If you're a Harvest Basket member, you'll be taking a cherry tomato plant home this week in addition to your produce! We don't grow cherry tomatoes for the CSA, but we provide you with our all-time favorite variety, SunOrange, to grow in your own garden or pot. It's an improved Sungold the produces tons of tangerine-orange fruits from August through the fall. The flavor is exquisite - tropical/tangy/sweet. For best results, plant your tomato as deep as possible in a warm, protected location (it's ok to bury the stem and some of the bottom leaves; the plant will sprout new roots underground and add to it's root mass). If you're planting it in a pot, use at least a 5 gallon container. Give it a balanced organic fertilizer (Nutririch 4-3-2 is great at the recommended rate) and water deeply. You'll need to provide some kind of trellis or support because this variet is an indeterminate, which means it'll climb, and climb, and climb. Prune excess leaves as it grows, leaving all fruiting/flowering stems. With a litte TLC it should be yielding fruit for you by August. These little cherry bombs are fantastic snackers, are awesome sliced up in salads, and also make the best dried tomatoes I've ever eaten - like little candies.
Too Much Sun!
That's a rare thing for a farmer to say, but this spring it's been true. We would gladly trade some of these sunny days for more rain, and some of our crops agree. It has been a tricky spring for certain cool season veggies that we typically rely on in our early crop mix. In the past month we've lost whole plantings of radishes, turnips and pac choi due to excess heat, we had to till under a bed of greenhouse carrots because they bolted prematurely, and we're seeing more flea beetle damage on things like this week's Tokyo Bekana, the kale and our broccoli plants. Flea beetles show up on the farm once it gets warm and dry and they love to feast on Brassicas, pocking them up with lots of tiny holes. Normally we don't see them until later in May but they arrived in April this year. Our artichoke season was also abrupt - it started late and ended early - because of the weather.
Climate change poses some interesting challenges for us farmers. For instance, should we be planning for this kind of spring from now on and change our planting dates and crop mix accordingly? Or is that a bad strategy, since next spring could be crazy cold and wet? We've all learned that what's going on is not just "global warming," but "global weirding." And "weirding" is a lot harder to cope with when your whole gig relies on the weather and some ability to predict that weather...
As always, I'm grateful for our diversity, which has been the backbone survival strategy on our farm since the get-go: grow a little bit of everything, so that if something croaks there's still plenty of food to fill those Harvest Baskets. I hope you enjoy your first taste of the 2021 CSA season this week!