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What Arlo Said

Posted 11/11/2019 9:47am by David Zemelsky.

Two weeks ago, I said that I was going to tell you about growing carrots the following week.  Well, the weather turned very cold last week, so it seemed more relevant to write about how plants survive the extreme cold.  I should have been talking about carrots because that's what I previously said I was going to talk about.  Arlo once said to a receptive audience, "We can't always be doing what we're suppose to be doing."  So, with that in mind, here's our story about carrots.

First off, you should all know that I love carrots passionately.  A good crunchy sweet carrot is one of those things that helps me realize how awesome vegetables can really be.  It just reminds me how connected we all are to the life source that keeps the planet turning round and round.  I do not take this passion lightly.  My other name is "The Carrot Scientist", a part of who I am that is dedicated to making sure that real delicious, and nutritious carrots are available to you in as many months as possible.  One way to have carrots at odd times is to root cellar them.  Currently, we don't have a root cellar.  But what we do have is hoop houses both low and high.  And within them lies the magic.

Our goal is to have new carrots available by Mother's Day (Just in case you want to give some to that important Mother figure in your life for Mother's Day!).  To do that we actually plant the carrots now.  Yes, now.  The date that we pick is very specific.  If you plant them too early, they'll go to seed and only produce hard, fibrous roots that are inedible.  And if you plant them too late, the seedlings will be too fragile to withstand the harshness of Winter.  A formula has emerged that seems to work.  We find out when the days become longer than 10 hours and count back 12 weeks.  That is our date. 

Prep work is pretty intense.  An identified bed is broad forked and fortified with both compost and organic fertilizer weeks before our date.  Weeds are encouraged to grow so that they can be destroyed before planting.  Carrots do not like weeks at all.

This season, Joel is trying pelleted seed in our four point seeder.  Pelleted seed has an organically approved shell around the seed so that once wet, it will stay wet and make for better germination. As the seed grows, the shell melts away. That's the theory, anyway.  The four point seeder is a beautifully engineered little gem that has a hopper for the seeds and a brush holding the seeds from falling out all at once.  The brush sweeps the seed, one at a time into a machined scooped out hole that rotates in such a way as to drop the seed down a short chute.  One pulls the seeder so that the result is several parallel lines of seeds spaced out from each other the correct amount.  After seeding, the ground is gently rolled to make sure that the seed is in contact with the earth.  Then water, to soak both the ground and the pelleted seed.  After that, we'll build a small tunnel over the bed to keep it warm and encourage good germination.   We expect to see emerging carrot seedlings within 6 weeks. 

After that, our job is to keep the weeds down and make sure that the bed doesn't dry out.  The tiny seedlings stay at a very small size all Winter until we reach the a 10 hour length of day, which is somewhere near the end of January.  At that point, growth begins in earnest.  Maturity is around mid May.  Its quite a heroic journey.  I love this.  And I love the carrots that are a result of our hard efforts.

We've had a favorable response to our CSA a la Star Light.  You're part is to send us $100 and we'll give you credit at the store and/or the Farmer's Market for $120.  That is a 20% savings, which we think is pretty cool.

This week, like last week, we've an exciting array of fresh greens for both salad and side dishes.   If you see something that you like, email us back by Thursday 8AM and your order will be waiting for you in the shed after 2PM on Thursday.  If you come after dark, bring a flashlight or use your smart phone.

Salad Greens- with mizuna, a variety of lettuces, baby kale $6/bag

Arugula-  $6/bag

Baby Kale- for salad or an elegant side dish, lightly wilted $6/bag

Spinach- green green and full of iron and goodness- $6/bag

Pea Tendrils- again, they're best now.  For  pea tendril pesto and Asian cooking $6/bag

Carrots-  $5/bunch

Radishes-French Breakfast, Rover, Watermelon (a big favorite) and Lobo $4/bunch

Hakeuri and Namasaki (a deep purple) Turnips-  What's most amazing about both of these kinds of turnips is that they are even better to eat raw, sliced up for salads.  Roasting works well, too $4/bunch

Bok Choi- $3.50/bunch

We're concentrating on a few things that would be great to cook, namely braising greens.  Last week we introduced two braising green collections.  One has mustards, bok choi, a carrot, kale, and a few Asian greens.  All you do is lightly rinse the greens and braise in a pan briefly.  $10/bag.  The second one is a soup mix, with turnip,carrot,celeriac, radish, onion, potato, kale. Again $10.

Big Kale, Swiss Chard, Collards- $4/bunch

Peruvian and French Fingerling Potatoes-newly dug! $5/lb

Ginger- our ginger is so aromatic and delicious!  Nothing at all like you'd find at the supermarket $5/piece

Parsnips- $4/bunch

Turmeric- it turns out that everyone wants turmeric for inflamation, general health and a grand tea  $6/piece

Parsley and Cilantro- more beautiful than I can describe.  Both herbs can kick up any dish at least 4 notches $2/bunch

Beets- $4/lb

Garlic- $3.50/head  If you want to plant your own garlic, this is a perfect choice.

Peppers- $5/lb

Hot Peppers-$5/lb