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week 17 updates

Hi all,

Just keep repeating to yourself “we need the rain to help our
vegatables grow, we need the rain to help our vegatables grow.”  Is it
helping?  No me neither.

There will be local honey available for purchase at Sabina’s site (189
Park Street) for $8 per jar.  Limited quantities, but will possibly
get more next week.

We’ve got Cortland and Macoun apples in this week’s fruit share.  The
weather forecast looks good for this Sunday’s apple festival at
Treelicious Orchards (Sunday, October 10th from 11 to 5 pm) and I’ve
posted on the Google group website their flier with details and
directions to the farm for those who are hoping to attend.  I know I
am.

The following weekend, Sunday, October 17th Starbrite Farm will be
hosting it’s fall farm visit from from 11 to 4pm .  It’s a potluck
picnic and farm tour.  After seeing David Schiller’s pictures I want
my children and me to see firsthand where all our wonderful vegetables
come from and to meet Farmer John himself.  This week’s vegetable
share will include:
Red Boston lettuce, kale(broccoli if you got kale last week) choice of
arugula, raab, or other mustard green, cippolini onions, radishes,
string beans, summer squash, peppers, choice of spinach or Swiss
chard, butternut squash and choice of an herb.

Finally, Havenwood Farm delivers today their pastured eggs, poultry,
jams, soaps, and cheeses for all those who ordered them.  In this kind
of weather, a roast chicken in the oven comes real close to heaven.
The soup I make the next day with any of the chicken leftovers and
Farmer John’s fresh vegetables and herbs confirms it.  Throw in an
apple pie from Ginger’s orchards…

Best,
Enid

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Starbrite Farm update # 19

Hello Everyone,

The dry spell has officially ended!  I knew all along, as I complained
about the lack of rain, that at some point it would begin to fall
again and likely in excessive amounts. Be careful what you wish for,
as they say!  I guess it’s too much to ask, to have a balance between
the sunshine and the rain and we have to accept the feast or famine
pattern that has become the norm.

Fortunately the fields here in Andover are very well drained and have
been able to absorb the 7” of water that fell last week with no
flooding. Perhaps the greatest challenge during long rainy stretches
is getting the harvesting done. We have been in the process of
bringing in the winter squash crop, a project that now becomes more
urgent as it will begin to rot in these wet conditions. We normally
clean it and pack it into boxes in the field. Under these
circumstances we have been quickly gathering as much as we can during
the interludes between downpours and bringing into the barn to clean
and pack. This double handling is not very efficient but is the only
way we can forge ahead.

Unfortunately this strategy doesn’t work with the greens and the root
vegetables which must be pulled and bunched in the field, so my
workers must endure working in the light rain and run for cover during
the downpours. We are looking at another rainy period ahead and with
cooler temperatures, so it will be another challenging week.

The downside for you, the consumers, of all this wet weather is dirty
vegetables. The rain splashes soil all over the leaves of the plant
and there is only so much that can be removed by washing after it is
bunched. I guess we all have our crosses to bear!

While fall is typically associated with apples and pumpkins it is also
the season of the Mustard family. This large and diverse group of
plants thrive in the cool, wet conditions common to autumn.  The
family includes the brassicas such as cabbage, cauliflower, kale and
of course broccoli, as well as root crops like radishes and turnips.
The list of varieties of  mustards with tender leaves is extensive and
includes Italian favorites, such as arugula (not a lettuce as some
seem to think) and broccoli raab as well as a plethora of Asian greens
like tatsoi, bok choi, hon tsai tai  and several types which make
small flower buds, similar to broccoli raab. These vegetables will
make up a sizeable portion of the shares during the final third of the
season.

We began cutting broccoli raab last week and I forgot to mention it in
the update. It is one of the trickier crops to grow, as it should be
cut with a flower bud, which turns rapidly into a yellow flower, even
after being cut and in storage. We will be offering it as a choice
along with other tender mustards over the next couple of weeks, so
watch out for it if it is a favorite.

After much deliberation we have decided to host a fall farm visit on
Sunday, October 17 from 11 AM til 4 PM.  I know there are many folks
who would like to visit the farm, but were unable to make it in the
spring. This will be similar to the spring event with a pot luck lunch
and a farm tour. This will be a rain or shine event, unless torrential
rain is predicted, in which case we will postpone until October 24. We
will have pumpkins available for kids to paint or for carving. I
apologize for the short notice and hope that many of you will be able
to attend.  I will send out a flyer with more details shortly.

The share for this week will be: Red Boston lettuce, kale(broccoli if
you got kale last week) choice of arugula, raab, or other mustard
green, cippolini onions, radishes, string beans, summer squash,
peppers, choice of spinach or Swiss chard, butternut squash and choice
of an herb.    Enjoy!   Farmer John

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