19 August 2009

How Did I Get Here?

20 July 2009

Farming Feeding Photography Frenzy



More photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26522397@N04/sets/72157621626120877/.

Every Monday morning, after about an hour of weeding by hand, hula hoe, or harvest knife, we all take a field walk to see what's going on. This is a time to check in on the maturity of various crops spread over the Field, what pests or stressors are kicking in and damaging crops (see the downy mildew cukes in the Flickr photostream in the link above), and what maintenance we're needing to tackle as a group in the coming week - pruning out fire blight from the apple trees, knifeweeding in the kabocha patch, dribbling Ecotrol down the ground squirrel holes to encourage them to take up residence elsewhere, etc.

Today, we spent a lot of time in the potato field. We've been digging up New Potatoes - from the Red Gold variety (thin red skin, yellow waxy flesh) to put in CSA boxes and sell at Cart for about 2 or 3 weeks now. Several have made their way into the kitchen, much to everyone's carb-loving delight. And we'll be seeing more. In addition to the Red Gold, the Yukon Gold, Mountain Rose, and Yellow Finn are all coming in and sizing up. Hopefully, the tomatoes will be following their Solanum bretheren soon - they're sooo behind!

I have been loving the field. I originally thought I would like it the least - and may still place it third overall of the sites - but I genuinely love tromping down the rows to harvest and harvest and harvest some more. Perhaps it's the food lover and cook in me that just takes satisfaction from seeing so much good crop together, especially in a box, harvested by my own hands... On our Tuesday and Friday harvest days, when we all start a half hour earlier in the morning to bring in all those delicate crops that would not harvest well in the afternoon sun, I've filled flats of blueberries, strawberries, buckets of zucchini and squash, cukes, green beans, fennel, lettuce, basil, rosemary, purplette onions (like purple scallions when young), chard, and on and on!

We're just about through with the Santa Rosa plums, which have been dreamy - I've definitely eaten at least 3 in a row, daring plum belly to affect me - and the Satsuma variety with their red flesh and red skin are about to fully ripen. Little gems! Mixed in the plum orchard is just one tree of Howard's Miracle, one of those old varieties with a quaint name and mind-blowing flavor. I tasted one that ripened early, after being let in on the secret stash last week....orange and so sweet. We Fieldies think that folks in the Up Garden are holding out on the peaches that are likely coming in up there, so it's nice to have our own little treat hidden amongst our grounds - and so close to our tents, too.

The blueberries I mentioned before - bloobs, in farm speak - have been prolific. We have about 45 varieties of them, part of an ongoing blueberry study that CASFS is hosting for the Central Coast climate. It's awesome to see so many different kinds, and compare their foliage, berry carrying-capacity, season, and size. Some are the size of a dollar coin, while others remind me of Grape Nut clusters. We're getting $5 a half pint for them at Cart!

More later! Eat well,