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Posted 5/18/2020 6:56am by David Zemelsky.

The season went around the corner this week.  I can almost tell you the exact moment, too.  In the early morning I took a run.  Long pants, hat, gloves, extra shirt.  It wasn't crazy cold, but it wasn't warm either.  Then later, while working in Hoophouse D (otherwise known as Shiloh, after grandkid number 5), the sun suddenly  came out, the humidity filled the air and it was time to sweat.  Probably around 2:30, maybe Wednesday.   This helped me remember why we start early when it gets warm-hoophouses can really hold and generate heat if the sun is doing overtime work.  Since then, a lot of things happened.  The grass erupted out of the ground and grew several inches in a very short time.  The tomato plants got bigger and more complicated and radishes that were very slowly getting ripe-got ripe.  This all happened while we were all looking in the other direction.  This means that the Summer Marathon of longer days and lots of weeds and lots of food and lots of work will begin.  Once the tomato crop comes in, it almost feels like they're running the show rather than us.  Almost.  Cause ultimately, we've got the handle on all this.

Good moment to give a tomato progress report.  Currently, we've got Sven (Hoophouse named after grandkid number 3) almost totally planted with tomato plants.  Joel, being resourceful, has planted a lot of wonderful things in between the rows.  We're talking radishes, lettuce, beets, and basil.  All of which will be long gone by the time the plants start ripening.  Because of this warm weather, I've been going over each plant and making sure that they're all doing what they need to do.  A video would be very effective here, but perhaps a few words will give you an idea.  If left on its own, a tomato plant will produce a basic bush that can be almost impossible to harvest from.  So we train them to go up a string (binder's twine, to be more precise).  The string is attached to the framework of the hoophouse.  Each plant will have four main branches for the first four vertical feet of growth.  In order to convince the plant that that is what's best for it, I have to prune the suckers and wind the four main branches around the four strings.  And here's the thing; with the warm weather, these plants are putting on vertical growth and suckers.  At a certain height, we'll stop suckering them , but for now, its a constant maintenance in order to keep them in line. 

I love tomato work.  Its about the most favorite on farm job that I know.  Mostly because it feels close to what I imagine mediation to be.  My mind has trained itself to understand what the plant should look like and how to make that happen.  This was never anything to be learned from a book-its a discovery process.   That's probably what attracts me the most to this task- the creativity and discovery that goes along with it.  There are rules that I've created over the years.  These are rules to both follow and know when to let off some slack.  For example, its important to have as few branches near the bottom of the plant.  Free moving air makes for a happy plant, which means removing several of the first lower leaves.  It seems severe, but for sure its what the plant needs.  Its late Sunday night and I'm already looking forward to being able to prune  tomorrow.  Lucky.

The farm is good. The people farming- we all seem happy.  And the vegetables are the happiest.  At least, I think so(on both counts).

Other news.  We're attending two more markets this week.  Durham (Thursday 3-6:30)and Madison (Friday 3-6).  Madison will be running like Cityseed. You'll need to pre order.  There's a choice in the online store for Madison.  Come visit us in Madison if its more convenient.  BUT, its only a pre order situation.  Here's the website for Madison. https://www.madisonctfarmersmarket.com/

Delivery is still an option for several areas. West to Cheshire and the shore and New Haven.  If you're wondering about delivery and not sure if we've got you covered, just write and we'll tell you. 

Remember that ordering deadlines are real.  8AM Wednesday for Wednesday pick up at the shed. 8AM Friday for BOTH Friday and Saturday at the shed.  Big news at the shed-we've put in a nice little frigerator so that the items that will spoil in warmer weather can stay cool and fresh at 40 degrees now.  So, when you come to the shed to look for what's available without a pre order, look in the newly installed frigerator.

Next week, we're going to start a raffle to benefit people who are in this country undocumented, so that we can assist them whereby the government has turned their back on this population, many of whom are working essential jobs.  The prize will be the first pint of sun gold tomatoes.  I know whos going to eat the first sun gold (me), but the first pint will go to some lucky winner.

Quick word-boxes that your order comes in.  Best scenario would be to take your order and flattened the box and leave along with the other ones that are there.  Short of that, if you must take the box home, bring back next week or earlier!

Stay well. Stay safe. And be smart!