Sneaking Closer to Summer

Some of these days this week have really felt like it. The crew is showing up in shorts most days. And speaking of the crew, we have two new great crew members, Michael and Sophie, and we are really excited that they are joining us, Clark, Cassie, and Logan on the farm. We have needed their help! Many hands make light work, as they say. Though, for farming, maybe the saying should be: many hands keep you from falling so far behind on the to-do list. 

This week we have been able to catch up (almost completely!) on our transplanting, and we have been able to get quite a bit of weeding done as well. Next week it will be time to prune and trellis the tomatoes again, and urge them to send all their energy into those green fruits hanging on the vine. 

Speaking of tomato trellising, I would like to share two pictures from last week that did not make it to the blog: the first is a tomato before trellising and pruning - the white twine is what we clip the little white clips to, which we then when clip around the main tomato stem underneath a strong leaf (see the second photo). 

We have a couple of (fairly) easy meal ideas to share: lettuce salad with violas, and deviled duck eggs! The salad is as easy as pouring several bags of our lettuce mix into a bowl and then scattering the violas on top. I also usually add some chopped up herbs, like sage, chives, oregano, etc) and serve with some vinaigrette. 

For the duck eggs, substitute the duck eggs for chicken eggs in your favorite deviled egg recipe. Because the eggs are so fresh, we recommend sprinkling a teaspoon of baking soda in the water you use to boil them. It will make the eggs easier to peel. They will be extra rich and creamy! (Especially if you use homemade duck egg mayo - just saying!)

See you at market!

-Ailish

Flying Colors

Spring is quickly flowing into summer. We have been busier than we can think about; our to-do lists are multiple pages long. Fortunately, we have a new employee starting next week, and we have some likely prospects for more help in the near future as well.

In the meantime, we and the crew are doing the best we can to stay on top of everything and bring you fresh, tasty produce every week. This week, aside from harvesting and transplanting, we have spent a lot of time pruning and trellising tomatoes. The reason we do it is to channel the plants' energy into producing more fruit faster. How we do it is: we cut off "suckers," which are the stems that grow in the little crotch about every non-fruiting branch, and leave only the main stem, which we call a leader. 

Each of those suckers can grow into a main stem, which is a lot of extra leaf matter drawing energy away from the fruit on the leader. When we prune the suckers off, we force the plant to direct its energy into the leader and into the fruits already growing on it. And yes! We have fruit already! Here are some golf-ball sized heirlooms (that will grow to be bigger than baseballs):

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Edible flowers are starting up again this week. We are easing in with violets and pansies, and we will soon have marigolds, calendula, bachelor's buttons, and more! Sprinkle them on salads, decorate cakes and cupcakes, even infuse some vodka (I am trying out some violet-infused vodka right now!). 

See you at market!

-Ailish

Thinking Ahead

We hope you all have some fun R&R planned for this Fourth of July weekend. We will still be at the Brunswick Farmers' Market on Friday and the Crystal Spring Farmers' Market on Saturday. We hope to see you there!

July has been ushered in with more rain! Crops are growing well, since they are getting a chance to dry out between deluges, but the soil is so soft from the rain there are some places in our fields that we can't go at the moment. We are in the middle of getting a lot of fall crops in the ground - things like parsnips and brussels sprouts have been in for weeks, but we are just planting rutabagas this week. We are hoping for some sunny, dry beach weather to let us into those places again.

Last week we unexpectedly came into some ginger seed. We tried hard early this spring to get ginger seed (actually ginger rhizome - they look just like what you would buy in the store) from several different sources with no result. Ginger seed was in very high demand this year. We know we have talked to a few customers who were disappointed - as were we - because the fresh, organic ginger is such a treat!

Happily, our friend Ian of Stonecipher Farm in Bowdoinham had extra ginger seed after he planted his out, so we bought those from him last week. On Friday, we then tore apart two thirds of our propagation greenhouse (which doesn't have a floor, just landscape fabric over soil), to make room for the ginger. I have posted a before-during-after sequence of photos below. We went from three rows of tables to one, pulled off two rows of landscape fabric, broadforked, made furrows (that's Kev making furrows in the middle picture below), put down some fertilizer, planted the sprouted ginger rhizomes, and closed the furrows so that the rhizomes were at least 2 inches below the soil surface. 

With luck and TLC, we will have fresh ginger ready in about Octobeer. Ginger are needy plants, and we'll do our best to keep them satisfied. 

Lots of edible flowers are coming in now. Above we have calendula, sunflowers, and cornflowers/bachelor buttons from left to right. We will be bringing small bunches of edible flowers - just what you'd need for a recipe (like Calendula Cornbread Muffins from Mother Earth News) - all summer long.

See you at market, and happy Fourth!

Ailish