July Farm News

I like to write a little summary about the farm each month; a few highlights to help you feel a bit more connected to the land and the farmers who grow your CSA share. But July got away from me and I just didn’t get to it. July was a busy, roller coaster ride kind of month.

In early July, Rob and I identified Late Blight (LB) on our tomatoes. There had already been one confirmed report of LB in the farming community in eastern Massachusetts this year and we knew it was only a matter of time before it would arrive at Moraine Farm. The LB was on our second tomato planting, our main crop of heirloom tomatoes. Dread, dread, dread: In 2009, organic growers in the northeast, including me, lost entire tomato crops to LB in a matter of weeks. It was hard to stomach the thought of a tomato-less summer.

I sent a sample of blighted tomato leaves and stems to the University of Massachusetts extension lab. The lab report said “no late blight detected”. I contacted them, insisted there’d been a mistake, said I’d send another sample the next day. “No need,” the lab director told me, “If there was late blight on that sample, I would have found it.” Well, let me tell you, I was one happy farmer — really happy.

Okay, so that’s it for what didn’t happen in July. Now, for some news about what did happen.

Critter Report: I’m happy to say that not one veggie inside our electric fence has been eaten by deer, though we do see the deer gazing longingly at the sweet potatos. The wild turkeys have discovered that Moraine Farm green lettuce is delicious. We’ve a muskrat in the pond, red-tailed hawks that soar over the fields looking for dinner, a chipmunk living in the red barn (it nibbled a tomato stored there), and heron and egrets that stand at the edge of the pond.

Crops Veggies are growing well with a few exceptions. You already know about the unfortunate deaths of our watermelon and cantaloupe. You may have noticed a lack of green beans — it’s not that we haven’t planted them, it’s just that we’ve not had success growing them.  I think we’re finally on the right track. The pole beans in the pick-your-own field are looking good, as are the four beds of bush beans planted nearby. We’ve got lovely crops of potatoes, eggplants, carrots, beets, onions, Swiss chard, basil, parsely, cilantro, fennel, zucchini and cucumbers. Our fall broccoli is planted, along with fall kale, collard greens, escarole, radicchio and fall carrots. Bok choy (red, green and baby) is slated to go into the ground next week. Oh, and did I mention that the cherry tomatoes begging to be picked and that we started harvesting slicing tomatoes in July!

Farm Crew  We’re pleased with the quality and quantity of produce we’re growing and harvesting; a little tired of the weeds; grateful for the rain.

Single-Item Shares and More: This year we have milk, cheese and apples shares available to shareholders. To order these single-item shares, just complete this on-line subscription form and bring your payment to the CSA pick up. Maple syrup, Baer’s Best Beans and Moraine Farm grown flowers are available for shareholders to purchase in the CSA store.

As if that isn’t enough, this Saturday, August 4, 9:00-11:30 is our monthly volunteer work morning. Lots to do, including digging potatoes! Should be great fun for people of all ages. We’ll have some greenhouse seeding to do for those of you who prefer less strenuous volunteer work. Sign up here to let us know you’re coming and if you’ve any special needs.

See you on the farm soon!

Gretta

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