CSA Newsletter: Summer 2010- Week 10

 In CSA Newsletter

Community News: Thanks to everyone who came out to our home farm on Sunday and shared a meal with us! The dishes were yummy, the corn sweet as always, and the company wonderful.  Many hardy souls even braved the muddy fields for the tour once bellies were full. It really is a joy to meet our members and share your farm with you! Our only regreat was that Cassie was too sick to spend time with everyone. Here’s to good health to all this week!

From the Fields: We’re all feeling really sad and frustrated this week, as our tomato crop has been hit with late blight. Totally devastating. Late blight is a fungus that is capable of creating total crop loss in the Solanacaea family. This includes tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant. Last year late blight hit Wisconsin for the first time in over 15 years. We were extremely fortunate last year and somehow managed to evade the blight even though every other farm surrounding us had it. Sadly, we are not so lucky this year. We spotted blight on our tomatoes this Monday, and anticipate that in another week or so our plants will be completely rotten with late blight.  After literally hundreds of hours of labor, we will have the shortest tomato season in Primrose history. From seeding the tomatoes, potting them up, constant watering, hardening them off, prepping the ground for them, laying plastic mulch down for them, transplanting them, hooping and covering them to keep them warm, weeding them, trellising them€¦ only to have this.

There is very little that can be done to combat late blight when growing organically. There are a some organically approved fungicides that could be used to try and prevent blight, (copper mainly) but they are limited in effectiveness and need to be applied every 3 to 4 days. We don’t have equipment to do that and don’t think it’s worth putting anything out into the environment that doesn’t have a good record for effectiveness.

While we are extremely upset about this loss, it does force us to reflect on a few things:  the power and unpredictability of the natural world, the importance of growing in diversity; and the strength of the CSA model. Farming is and will always be an inherently risky endeavor. As CSA members, you join in that risk with us. When there’s a bumper crop (think 3 melons in one week!) you share in the bounty; when there’s a crop failure you share in the loss. Your willingness to share the risk with us is what makes this kind of farming possible. We thank you for your support and understanding. We are so sorry that you won’t have more tomatoes this year.

Share News: So what does the blight mean for your share? Well it means we have harvested every last ripe tomato off of the plants to try and keep the blight from spreading to them. We’ve harvested over 3200 pounds of tomatoes in the last two days. Your box will be absolutely full of tomatoes this week. SAVOR THEM! Many of them will have some black spots, but these are usually just skin deep. We expect you will get some tomatoes next week as well, but that may be the end of it. Ideas for using all of these tomatoes? Here are my two favorite: 1)Freeze them! If you have the freezer space, this is way better than canning, as it’s much cooler. Simply core your tomato, and then turn it over and cut an €˜X’ in the bottom. Fill a quart size bag. When ready to use, just drop tomatoes in boiling water and the skins will come right off.  2) Make sauce and freeze it. We take the tomatoes, core them, food process them, and then cook them down as a sauce. Then we pour the sauce into jars or bags and freeze for winter use.

New items this week! Yellow onions! And Sweet Carmen Peppers. These look like a hot pepper, but they are very sweet -often referred to as a frying pepper, because of the thin skin. Most will have a black sun spot on the tip or side; just cut off and enjoy. These are one of our favorites!!!

Enjoy! Sincerely, Mike, Cassie, Zea, and Crew

In the Box:

Basil – *EOs
Jalapeno Pepper
Onion, Yellow
Parsley, Curly ” *EOs
Parsley, Italian – *REGs
Pepper, Red Sweet Carmen
Red Potatoes (3 lbs) – *EOs
Red Summercrisp Lettuce
Tomatoes, Sungold ”
*EOs and various REGs
Tomatoes, Slicing  – Red and Orange
Tomatoes, Heirloom
Tomatoes, Large Red Cherry
Tomatoes, Roma – *REGs
Zucchini, Gold and/or Green
REGs = regular shares only
EOs = everyother shares only


Summer Week 10: Wednesday August 11th -Everyother Week B