Week 6 from Valley Flora!

  • Cone Cabbage - the sweetest, most tender variety we grow
  • Broccoli
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Purple and Orange Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Head Lettuce - some of them VERY large (don't be frightened, Coos Bay members!)
  • Strawberries

On Rotation:

  • Basil
  • Cilantro

Early July is, and always has been, one of my favorite fleeting moments on the farm. In a wet year like this, it's the straddle point between spring and summer - when all the world is still lush and green and growing, but also blooming and starting to set fruit. We're still in that moment of pregnant anticipation: tying up tomato plants (which double in height every week), thinning orchard fruit, and hilling potatoes in full bloom (it's more flower field than spud patch right now!). It's like the week before your birthday, which is so much more fun than the day after your birthday. Right now the entire farm is scented by an insane profusion of kiwi blossoms, the songbirds are talking non-stop from dawn to dusk (who needs podcasts at this time of year!?), and you can sense the imminent avalanche of zucchini presaged by countless neon blossoms in the summer squash patch. 

Spring-sown cover crops are head high - so tall and tangled that I can only advance the tractor at a creep as I flail mow, returning all that biomass back to the soil. The oats, flowering vetch, and red clover that I seeded in this field a few months ago are now served up as a feast for all the soil microorganisms below ground, which are the tiny, microscopic engines of our enterprise.

They are to thank for the rich soil organic matter that is underwriting the historic strawberry crop we're experiencing this year. Yesterday while we picked for CSA and our other accounts, we were pulling upwards of 9 flats from every row (3 to 4 is considered a good yield)! The plants are so loaded they look more like broody hens sitting on clutches of shiny, red eggs. If you want to special order strawberries by the flat, I am starting to put names on my list. I can't promise when we'll have them for you, but will contact folks as they become available. Email us your name, pickup location, phone number (ideally a number I can text), and the quantity of flats you'd like. Flats are comprised of 12 dry pints and are $50 each, delivered to your CSA pickup site. In the meantime, you can order them through our farmstand by the pint or full flat.

The cover crops we sow also provide important habitat for all kinds of other creatures on the farm, this one being my all-time favorite...

We've seen an amazing number of baby tree frogs all over the farm this year, spread out across cover-cropped fields as well as fields sown to cash crops. Every time I encounter one it's sheer delight and I stop everything t0 move them out of harm's way. And I'll admit, I talk to them. I like to tell them how glad I am that they're here. They tend to burrow into the head lettuce, which is my realm on Tuesday and Friday harvest mornings, so there's been a lot of me out in the field talking to the romaine this past month. There's a slim chance that one could hide deep in a head of lettuce, get crated and trucked to the barn, run through the wash tub, packed into a CSA tote, and end up in your kitchen - in which case please treat it well or return it to us! Frogs are extremely sensitive to their environment and many species have been driven to the brink of extinction by human impact: toxic chemicals in their waterways, habitat destruction, pollution from all sides. The fact that the farm seems to be serving as a little safe haven for them makes me deeply happy.

And speaking of lettuce, some of the varieties are truly enormous this week. I harvested the largest heads of greenleaf ever to come out of the field yesterday. This has been ideal lettuce growing weather the past couple weeks, so hopefully you can make it an ideal salad-eating week in your home.

Have a great week!