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Letter from Farmer John July 23, 2007

Hi Everyone,This past week brought continued mild temperatures and another inch of much needed rain. The rain was not as helpful as it might have been, because it all fell in a little over an hour, and much of it ran off before the ground could soak it up. Soil shrinks and tightens up when it gets dry and thus resists re-hydration. In the process of digging the garlic I was able to see just how dry the soil is down deep. We were able to finish harvesting the garlic last Thursday afternoon with the help of a wonderful implement called an under cutter blade. This is a 5ft. long blade which is pulled by a tractor and slides just under the garlic lifting and loosening the soil, allowing the garlic to be easily pulled by hand. We were able to harvest all 4000’ row feet in about 5 hours; a task that would have taken 2 days using pitch forks. The crop looks good and the average head size decent- not as small as I had feared due to the dry spring. We are continuing to harvest cauliflower and have been able to do a better job with blanching the heads. I expect there will be enough for everyone again this week, if not it will be offered as a choice with broccoli or kohlrabi. As promised and predicted green beans have begun producing profusely, so they will replace the peas in the lineup this week. We have also begun harvesting cucumbers and a few peppers. The first cukes are a Kirby or pickling type, a small yellow skinned variety and an Indian type called Poona Kheera, which start out yellow and turns a rusty brown (a bit ugly frankly, but they taste good!) These will be followed in the coming weeks with regular and the long English types. Carrots are almost ready but I would like to give them another week to size up and take advantage of the recent rains. We will offer beets as the root vegetable again this week. The deer continue to cause be a great deal of grief in my tomato plots. They have eaten most of the first fruit of the early varieties. It will most likely be another 2 weeks before I have enough tomatoes to distribute.

The share for this week will be: Beans, peppers, cauliflower, cucumbers, garlic, red leaf or Boston lettuce, Swiss chard, summer squash, beets, and choice of an herb.

Enjoy! Farmer John

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