Fresh Earth Farms - CSA

Fresh Earth Farms Newsletter 8-24-2010

Heirloom Tomatoes from Fresh Earth Farms

Again, not a lot of time so here are the highlights!

It is tomato season.  The plants are producing madly.  But they are also being pursued by a disease called septoria leaf spot (SLS).  SLS causes the leaves to die from the bottom up.  We noticed it a few weeks ago on the New Girl tomatoes.  It has since spread to some of the other varieties nearby.  It mainly affects the leaves but can also affect the fruit, often without any noticeable symptoms until the fruit fully ripens.  We’ve found that a perfectly good looking tomato that has SLS will develop sunken spots as it ripens off the plant.  The spots grow until the tomato no longer looks appetizing.  If caught early the tomato is still edible.

SLS is transmitted during periods of wet weather.  We have seen it before when we put tomato transplants out in the spring to harden-off before we transplant them.  The wet spring weather creates a wonderful environment for it to thrive.  This season we’ve had so many weeks of wet weather that it is surprising that we have any tomato plants left at all.  But we do, and boy are they producing.  On Monday we harvested 475 pounds of tomatoes.  That was after we harvested 200+ pounds on the previous Friday.  Looking at the trellises sagging under the weight of unripe tomatoes I suspect this will continue for a couple more weeks then start tapering off as the days get shorter, the nights cooler and the SLS spreads to more plants.

This past week was the end of the sweet corn.  I was hoping to get two weeks of harvests out of the last planting but it just didn’t produce as well as the other varieties.  Not sure why.  Could be the knock down of the corn earlier in the season had a greater affect on this last planting than the others.  Or it could be something else.  That is the thing about farming. It’s like children.  You think you got them figured out then …

We still have a lot of potatoes.  I suspect we will have potatoes this week, skip a week, then potatoes until the end of the season.  Hope everyone likes potatoes.  This week’s variety is still mostly Nicola with Yellow Finn making its debut.  Yellow Finns are bumpier and feel more solid to me – quite dense.  They would be good in any dish where you want the potato to retain its shape (e.g. soup, potato salad, etc.)

Can’t be a newsletter without a bit of weather talk.  We have been in a bit of a rain slump as of late.  Most of the plants will do fine without irrigation for another week or so.  We have very moisture retentive soil.  However we have started irrigating the new transplants and newly seeded fall crops.  If we could get one nice gentle inch of rain we’d be set for a while.

So what is on tap this week?  Tomatoes, beans, tomatoes, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, and a few odds and ends.  And probably more tomatoes.  Make sure you try some of the heirloom tomatoes.  The flavors vary considerably and should not be missed.  Some of the tomatoes ripen to green – specifically Evergreen and Green Zebra (see the picture above).  Don’t wait for these to turn another color.  Eat them when they turn slightly soft.

One last thing: I canned 14 pints of heirloom salsa using the tomatoes in the picture above.  Unfortunately I forgot to taste it before canning it.  I hope it tastes is as good as it looks.

No FruitShare this week.  The next FruitShare will be Colorado peaches on Wednesday September 1st

Same as FruitShare though with cheese and not peaches.

Next MeatShare is Friday September 3rd.

There is always EggShare.

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