FARM BLOG

CSA 2010 - Week #26

What's in the Box - November 23, 24 & 25 - FINAL WEEK OF THE SEASON!

Click on a crop below for recipes and storage information.

VEGETABLE SHARE

Potatoes - 2 lbs
Sweet Potatoes - 5 lbs
Carrots - 3 lbs
Red Kale - 1 bunch
Rutabaga - 1-2 pieces
Watermelon Radish - 1-3 pieces
Cilantro - 1/8 lb bag
Kohlrabi - 1 piece
Butternut Squash - 1 piece
Broccoli - 1-2 pieces

Notes on the Thanksgiving share

This is the final week of the CSA season!  There are many pounds of vegetables in your box this week that you can store for the next few weeks, or months, if you store them properly.  Please remember that sweet potatoes should NOT be stored in the fridge!  They must be kept in a cool (55-60F) dark spot.  Most other root crops (carrots, rutabaga, watermelon radish, etc.) should be stored in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge.  We hope you've enjoyed the CSA season with us and don't forget to renew your share!  (See below.)  Happy Thanksgiving to all! 

A Letter from your Farmer

Well...it's Thanksgiving at last!  We realize this is sad news for most of you because our weekly harvest and distribution ends with this delivery.  For us and all our workers it is the beginning of a much-needed rest period as we head into winter.  During these last few days I start to feel very relaxed!  Although it is a very busy few days this week, our intense work is close to ending and it feels really good.  

I have been unable to find time to write a farmer update so far this year, although I've been wanting to share with you my thoughts on the season from a farmer's perspective.  This is the first year of farming with a BABY!  Many of you have children so I don't need to embellish much more here. In brief, whatever spare time Maggie and I had previously, no longer exists.  And sleep has became a whole new (nearly non-existent) experience.  I am just very happy our baby was born in January!  He is a wonderful little boy, and will soon be a wonderful little farmer.  It will help when he can walk around the farm...coming very soon!

The 2010 farming season was as opposite from 2009 as it could possibly be.  

2009 was cool and wet. It rained endlessly in June and July, disease was rampant and very destructive, and we rarely had to irrigate until mid August.  It was challenging just getting crops planted. What I didn't realize at the time was how many of the crops (leafy greens and cool loving plants) grew really well with the ample water and very little effort on our part.  Of course at the same time, it was not great for many crops (tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, peppers, sweet potatoes,etc).  

2010 was an extremely demanding year for us.  Some time in mid-May it got hot and dry and just never let up until mid to late September. We have never irrigated so much!  Still we were not able to get to all parts of the farm at the right time to make all the crops happy.  We've  invested a lot in irrigation equipment over the past few years and are prepared and capable of handling any extended drought, but it just becomes an issue of time.  Just as an example:  Generally we irrigate a field for about 3 hours - equal to roughly an inch of water. In most situations this is sufficient for a week or more depending on the size of the crop.  As early as mid-June we started irrigating 4, 5, even 6 hours at time and this was disappearing quickly. When things really get going like this I often have to run the pumps in the evening as well, usually shutting them of at 10 or 11 before going to bed.  For the first time ever this year, I fell asleep without turning the pump off and woke up at 5 am and jumped out of bed when I realized what I'd done.  Amazingly, after 12 hours of irrigating- the equivalent of 4 inches of rain- there was no run off and barely any standing water in the wheel tracks of the beds. That's how dry it was in the end of June!  And it got a lot worse.  Many of you who live in western Long Island and in Queens don't realize that almost all of the rain and storms that come through the city don't go much further east.  They almost always miss us out on the East End.  In addition, the soil here generally does not hold large amounts of water for very long.  Luckily, the aquifer is right underneath our feet and the water is free except for fuel and equipment.  Here are some interesting irrigation tidbits: to irrigate an acre with 1 inch of water is 29,000 (approx) gallons.  We have 2 wells: 1 can pump 500 gallons a minute and the other 300 gpm.  Lots of water!

On top of the drought  we had the heat.  Most of you probably remember this, it hasn't been that long yet.  Some crops really love the heat. Sweet potatoes for example.  This you can tell from your weekly boxes!  Crops like celeriac do not like the heat and if you can't water them as much as they like they just turn brown, and thats that.  Crop is finished.  Probably not too many of you care about celeriac, though. :) Our greenhouse, where we start our transplants all through the summer, was well over 100 degrees much of the time, making it very difficult to germinate lettuce and brassica crops for the fall.  Besides the plants, the people also begin to wither!  It definitely is an extra burden on the people who harvest and weed the crops. Just imagine bending up and down, reaching through sharp spiny leaves to harvest zucchini on a completely still 99 degree afternoon for 6 hours.  No shade. No AC.  No fun.  Anyone who eats food harvested by human hands should always keep this in mind and be grateful, myself included.

Then we had the plague of Colorado potato beetles.  The one organically approved insecticide that has worked for a few years up until last year, is no longer able to control the mighty Long Island potato beetle.  Apparently, Long Island has some of the toughest, most adaptable potato beetles anywhere. Not good for organic potato growing on L.I.! We are told there will be something new for next year.  Let's hope so.  So when the 50- 60 percent of the beetles that survived our spraying finished off our later potatoes, they marched across the farm road in search of food.  They found a beautiful, healthy, young eggplant crop of almost an acre.  2-3 weeks later nothing but twigs remained. We hand picked what beetles we could and sprayed, but nothing could really be done.  So, there were no eggplants this year.  It was an amazing scene. There were a couple of days when potato beetles would fly all over the car as you drove up the farm road, and there were many tens of thousands (maybe even millions!) walking on the ground. 

...I have more to share, but Maggie says I'm going on too long for a newsletter.  So if you're interested in reading more, check our Farmer Blog in December for more of my thoughts on 2010, news from the farm over the winter, and what you can look forward to next season. 

Until then, we wish you and your family a happy, healthy holiday season! 

- Farmer Matt
(For all of us at the Golden Earthworm Farm - Farmer James, Maggie, Holly & babyfarmer Galen)

Renew your Membership for 2011! - RENEW NOW!

We are not expanding our membership for 2011 because we have run out of land to grow on!  This means that demand for CSA shares for 2011 will be high and we want all current members to have the opportunity to reserve their place if they wish to join us again next season. After January 1, 2011 we will open up the membership to new applications and we expect to sell out very quickly.  This year we had over 100 members on a waiting list and many of those were past members, so don't let that be you!!!!  PLEASE RENEW TODAY!!!

CSA Memberships also make wonderful holiday gifts!  We can send out a beautiful gift certificate card to the recipient.  Please contact us for more information.  info@goldenearthworm.com

Explore our website

We welcome you to explore our website to learn more about our farm and the wonderful things you can do with your weekly share. You may find our PRODUCE STORAGE TIPS page useful in figuring out how to maximize the life of your veggies, and our RECIPE section to search for ways to cook up your box! And maybe you need help identifying a particular mystery vegetable? Try our CROP GUIDE.  

If you would like to place a special order, or if there is a problem with your box, please contact Holly at holly@goldenearthworm.com  All other inquiries should be directed to our general CSA mailbox at info@goldenearthworm.com.

THIS WEEK'S THANKSGIVING RECIPE SUGGESTIONS

Pureed Rutabaga with Pan-Fried Leeks
Lemon Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Butternut Squash with Shallots & Sage
Roasted Kohlrabi

**I think THIS RECIPE is destined for our family's Thanksgiving table this year too!

More recipes for all the week's produce can be found here on our RECIPES page.