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Posted 6/1/2017 7:29am by David Zemelsky.


The picture above gives you a feeling about how amazing it is to see a farm early in the morning.  Hope you like it.  Taken at 6:15AM today.

Things are pulling me out of bed.  Things, such as "miles to go before I sleep" type things.  Growing tomato plants would be a good example.  At this time of year, they're putting on plant growth at an almost unthinkable pace.  Many of them have been in the ground in the hoop house since the end of March. We grow tomatoes only in the hoop house because we can better control their climate.  For one thing, they never get rained on.  Tomatoes hate to get their "jackets" wet.  It will cause diseases. They get water on a regular basis from drip tape.  Too much water from above can also cause disease to the roots. At this time the plants are about five feet tall.  My job is to keep them growing vertically and keep the aisles clear.  A well behaved tomato plant is one that  is not too vegetative. Vegetative? That would mean a good balance between blossom production and leaf growth.  Basically, a tomato plant wants to grow in all directions at once.  And fast.  The main trunk of the plant has suckers that start in the crotch of each branch.  My job is to remove all but the top sucker and keep the plant clinging to the binder's twine that I've offered it to climb up.  In this way, a plant can easily grow to 15 or more feet tall.  In practice, there are more plants than I can keep track of realistically.  Therefore, suckers get away from me unnoticed from time to time and turn into a big fat branch.  Now, not everyone prunes like this.  Studies show that you don't get more fruit if you do this.  What you do get is a healthier plant and bigger and better fruit.  It makes sense, if you think about it.  Tomato plants love to have air circulating around them.  If the whole plant is dense with branches, then the air has a more difficult time circulating around.  The sides of the hoop house are kept rolled up all the time now and the doors at either end are propped open.  When will they be ready?  I'm estimating that we'll be offering  tomatoes before the month of June is up.  Let's see how accurate that turns out.

Here's Joel working on the tomato plants.  This picture should give you an idea about the height of these plants right now.

A word about woodchucks.  Joel caught one two days ago in the Hav-a-heart Trap.  Woodchucks are funny because they will walk into the trao when there isn't even any food to lure them in.  Come to think of it, skunks and squirrels are the same way.  Springing a skunk from a trap is a whole other story that we won't get into right now.  I'll leave it to your imagination. The woodchuck was small and had been having way too good a time in the cucumbers.  Once one catches a chuck, then comes the deliema-how to deal with it.  If you have been reading my letters from last year, you'll know that some extreme measures were taken then.  But int he end, I took Chuck and drove her/him to a remote (not near another garden) location and let it go.  At first stunned to be so lucky, it just stood there.  I encouraged it with a nudge from the cage and it ambled off.  I hope it leads a full and unemcumbered (wrong spelling) somewhere far away from anyone's garden.

Store News:  There's a way for you to order online that I hope to get set up soon.  It turns out that those things that "pull me out of bed" also keep me from doing a few basic other things, such as setting up the online store.  So I am being hopeful that we can do this.  It will help me keep everyone's order straight and prevent a lot of errors. (I just use graph paper now, which has its limits.

Tomatoes:  It is still high season to plant.  Heck, we haven't planted all the tomatoes yet either.  I am going to repeat the descriptors from last week below.

Riesentraube-a wonderful cherry tomato, originally from Germany.  I've never grown these guys, but their reputation for pleasing people is impressive.  Here's a link so you can see what they look like.http://www.seedsavers.org/riesentraube-tomato

Wapsipinicon-probably one of the most surprising tasting tomatoes-ever.  They have small fruits and produce a ton of tomatoes on each plant.  They have a sickly yellow color, which is in direct contrast to the amazing taste.  Think "edible perfume" because there are so many  levels of flavor here. Here is a link to what they look like:http://www.rareseeds.com/wapsipinicon-peach/

Mortgage Lifter.  This is an impressive tomato (actually, I haven't met a tomato that doesn't impress me!) because of a few things. First, the taste is terrific.  Its got an active taste that makes you feel grateful.  It is also a productive plant with extra large fruit.  Here's a link to see what it looks like. http://www.rareseeds.com/mortgage-lifter-tomato/

Striped German: My favorite for flavor and looks.  If you look on our website and see our grandson about to eat a tomato-that's a striped german.  It has a ripple of bright red going through a light orange flesh. Heirloom. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/heirloom-tomatoes/striped-german-organic-tomato-seed-2372.html

Juliet-these are my Desert Island tomatoes.  The only one, if I had to choose just one to take to a desert island.  Great for both cooking and eating raw (a rare combo). Small, red rugby shaped fruit.  And a real producer. Look here for image.http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/paste-tomatoes/juliet-f1-tomato-seed-707.html

Sun Gold- perhaps the most popular tomato ever.  Small, orange fruit. Productive. And sweet. Did I say sweet?  Don't buy these if you can't stand sweet.View image here:http://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/tomatoes/cherry-tomatoes/sun-gold-f1-tomato-seed-770.html

Black Cherry-another cherry variety like sun gold.  The fruit is just a little bit bigger than sun gold and the color is kind of a musky purple,red.  Savory and sweet at the same time.  The taste is very complex.  Sometimes, I say that if sungold is grammer school, then black cherry is graduate school.http://www.seedsavers.org/black-cherry-organic-tomato?gclid=CPOExZ6t1tMCFc-EswodqWoGGA

Paul Robeson- a cult classic in the world of heirloom.  This is a black russian variety.  The color is exactly the color you'd want to see on your tomato plant, but not on your living room walls!  Its taste is probably why people prefer heirlooms to regular tomatoes.  Also, if you've never checked out Paul Robeson himself.  This would be a great time.  A true Renaissance Man who was never recognized for all his many talents.  One of my real heroes in life. View image here:https://www.totallytomato.com/P/00540/Paul+Robeson+Tomato

Pepper plants-after literally weeks of being small, they're finally starting to take off.  Not sure what they've been waiting for.  These are bell peppers with strong red, yellow and orange colors.  Peppers are easy to grow-just give them good sun, but also some kind of a shade over once they start producing fruit.  Otherwise, they tend to burn. $5/plant

Herbs-sage, flat leafed parsley, and german winter thyme.  All of these can become permanent parts of your outdoor garden $5/pot

Compact Genevese Basil- wonderful addition to all herb gardens.  Will last the season.  Bred to stay small for growing in a smaller pot

Dwarf Sunflower-  perhaps the cutest and most desireable  plant to get in a pot.  They stay small for growing in a pot, but can also be planted outdoors. $5/pot

Braising Greens- $6/bag. Hot/spicy, crunchy-everything you've always wanted in a cooked green.  These greens will add a whole new dimension to late minute cooking solutions.

Kale- $4 bunch.  This is now the beginning of the kale season.  If you haven't had a kale in a while, try now.  Carey Savona, the Executive Chef at Heirloom in New Haven has offered me a kale recipe.  I'll repeat it after listing all the other offerings

Green,curly kale above

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Wonderful Lettuce Heads-$3/head. Sweet, crunchy

Above, lettuce head

Spring Garlic- $2.50 each. These are a spring treat.  A wonderful flavor of garlic utilizing the whole plant.

Arugula- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils are back, too. $6/bag. We made pea tendril pesto and put it on left over pizza earlier this week.  Remarkable.

Beet Greens- a real fine experience.  Can be eaten raw or lightly stir fried. $4/bunch

French Breakfast Radishes-  young, crunchy, slightly hot and glorious to eat.  A French custom is to put them on buttered toast and enjoy.

Swiss Chard- for cooking any wonderful spring dish $4/bunch

OK.  Here's Carey's recipe. Very simple. Wash and saute kale with garlic, shallots, olive oil,chilies, black pepper and good Sicilian anchovies and crushed walnuts.  Let it simmer a bit and then add a touch of red wine vinegar and alittle hoey.  This is great as a side or atop grilled toasts or even cold on toast.  It's a super food times 3.  NOTE: according to Carey, the anchovies must be Sicilian!  Carey loves lacinato kale.  So, if you want lacinato as opposed to curly green kale, please let me know when you order.

Email me back with your request by 9AM Friday (June 2nd) Come get your order after 2pm that day. Self service. There's a payment jar. Cash preferred, but if you have to, checks are ok, too.  If you arrive at 2 and I'm not quite there, don't worry I'll be right up!

We hope you have a great weekend.