Tuesday, June 24, 2014

déjà vu

We've been taking carrots to the Farmers' Market the past couple of weeks and I pulled this one from the ground Friday morning and immediately felt a sense of  deja vu.
Wonder why? See this post from February 2014.

We're taking at least one week off from the Potter County Farmers' Market as we planned for the lull between the early produce and the regular and more plentiful mid-summer selections.
We do, however, have a beautiful supply of leafy head lettuce and would be happy to make arrangements for anyone who wishes to order and purchase some. There are 3 varieties currently ready and in a couple of weeks, I'll have a new variety of green leafy head lettuce ready to sell as well.
As far as the tomatoes go, I'm optimistic that I'll see some hints of ripeness very soon. I'm excited to share some new heirloom varieties this summer including a selection of multi-colored cherry tomatoes.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Growth Check

The Potter County Farmers' Market has been up and running for four weeks now. We've had all kinds of weather - as expected - and we've seen many familiar faces. Market hours are 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. on Fridays. This early in the season it pays to come in the first few hours on market day because quantities are limited!
This year our Farmers' Market growers are collaborating with Cole Memorial Hospital to offer our wares at the hospital on the first and third Mondays of the month. While our farm didn't participate this week, we've signed up for later in the season when the tomatoes and peppers are at their best!
It's a challenge to have fresh produce ready in May and June when you live in Potter County. Each week I've been harvesting and packing leafy head lettuce to transport to the Farmers' Market.
Three varieties of leafy head lettuce

I start the lettuce in 50-cell flats under the lights in the greenhouse and transplant into the high tunnel when the plants get too big for the containers. Tomorrow I will be cutting from the third bed I've planted this year.
Rinsed, bagged & stored in cooler to preserve freshness
 This week (Friday, June 20) we'll have lettuce, carrots, some fresh herbs, Swiss Chard (from our friends at Card Creek Trading Post) and a limited quantity of new potatoes!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Great Tomato Race

When you grow tomatoes and first start to see the yellow blossoms, the question almost asks itself – which tomato will ripen first?
Black Sea Man
This year we have 24 varieties of mostly heirloom organic tomatoes growing in the high tunnel. When I shop for tomato seed, I rely on tried-and-true growing experience and taste. But I also look at the number of days it takes for the tomato plant to begin producing fruit.
In the days before the high tunnel, we were limited to tomatoes with a very short growing season (50 - 65 days). Now we have the luxury of planting tomatoes with growing spans of 85+ days. 
It's fun to watch the daily progress in the high tunnel as I make my way down the aisles, diligently cutting away the suckers on the indeterminate plants climbing their strings. Already the Black Trifele has taken on its signature triangular shape. I also recognize the Red Pears even though they're diminutive. Indigo Rose  (a Farmers' Market favorite) boasts dark leaves and stems and the marble-sized new fruit have deep purple shoulders.
Last year, the great tomato race was won by Stupice with Silvery Fir Tree, Moskovich and Sweetie Cherry following close behind. All those varieties are making a return appearance this year.
For 2014, I fully expect Black Sea Man (pictured above) to take the prize. This particular plant is loaded with fruit already!
Here's a peek in the high tunnel in a photo taken Tuesday, June 3.