Summer Squash galore
plus one or two bonuses!
August is here and with it the best of the summer crops: Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Peppers, and beyond. But farming is subject to so many variables, with the good stuff we have run into some classic challenges and successes…
- Eggplants are coming, but not in large numbers. Remember back to the flea-beetle attacks of early June… this is where we pay the price and pray that we’ll be able to give people at least one or two out of our single 200′ bed. The other two beds were completely ravaged one night in June and never recovered.
- Cucumbers. One 200′ bed is going gangbusters, the other 2 200′ beds are experiencing a certain… malaise. Not sure why these two identical beds, very close to each other, would be reacting so differently, but I suspect it has something to do with crop rotation and/or timing of rains in June.
- Eggs- the saga goes on- we’re not losing hens like we were earlier in the season, but they are in their mid-summer lull… Sorry to all of you who are deferring. We’re keeping the list and going to stretch the distribution out into the fall as long as we have to to make it right. And we’re looking into getting eggs from other island stands for you, which was a suggestion last saturday from one of you, but I don’t have a guarantee yet for this week.
- Value. We want to give everyone a great value for their investment, and I feel that by and large, we have. But I have struggled to communicate several facts, one is that some weeks you will get more than your $30/$15, other weeks it *might* be less. We try valiantly to avoid this in a normal year, this year has been exceptionally challenging because I have been trying to float a ship that was in danger of going down when I took over in May.
Given the frustrations and variable nature of this type of farming, we are doing the best we can. Each and every one of our plants is babied to get the most out of it. But you can’t just wave the wand presto overnight to make more food, and we’re sorry if that isn’t satisfactory to you… part of CSA is sharing the risks of farming (which includes pests, weather, labor issues, and so much more.) If this is unappealing then perhaps CSA isn’t a good fit for you. Though it is increasingly popular all across the country, it definitely isn’t right for everyone.
The quality and quantity of the food is really number one, but I sometimes wonder how to put a value on the other things we’re doing with your hard-earned dough, like re-knitting a fractured food community, supporting a stressed-out local infrastructure of seed breeders, tool makers and tractor-repairers, giving people a joyful experience right in their own neighborhood, and educating a new generation on the basics of how to grow and prepare food. If you have any ideas on how to share that with people, and how to think about its value, I’d love to hear them.
- As a farm, we exist. I didn’t tell you this in the spring, but there was a time when I wasn’t sure we would make it through this season. Cropping, weeding, and tillage systems were out of whack and we didn’t have the right tools or approaches in the mix. We were in danger of getting overstretched and swallowed by weeds. Instead, we pulled it back from the brink and I finally feel we are making progress toward being a truly great farm. Thanks for your patience and support in this!
- We have tomatoes. 2 out of the last 4 seasons many of the East End’s tomato plants (including ours) have been wiped out by Late Blight, the same disease that caused the Irish potato famine. This year seems to be different. The plants are healthy and as the month rolls along we’ll have them in increasing quantities!
- We planted Carrots and Beets for the fall harvest, plus lettuce and salad greens! These foods never taste very good in the mid-summer, but when planted now they should be outstanding in late September/October.
- Flowers and tiny fruit on our melons and winter squash!
So as we enter August a big thanks to you and best wishes as you plan your menus this weekend.
Bennett & The Sylvester Manor Farm Crew
PS. Come kick up your heels at our contradance this weekend! It’s on our lawn by the windmill this time, $10 to dance into the night to old-time Georgia fiddle tunes? What a deal! What fun! 7pm Saturday Night @ Windmill Field…