Hotter and hotter days are catching us, with the sun blazing down on both the farmers and crops. Lily-dog has taken to swimming in the creek to find relief from the heat of the day and the farmers will be breaking out the giant slip’n’slide in no time! We can see the crops growing with each passing hour and with the perfect combination of showers at night and shining sun during the day, plants have been in seventh heaven (as my dad would say). I think we all can agree that the strawberry patches love the weather.
The harvests have been wonderful as well. We’ve been overjoyed to have such bounty this early in the season, which is unusual but welcome nonetheless. Delicious garlic scapes abound of late and the leafy crops are looking fresh and tasty, with lettuces, spicy greens, escarole, and greens from what I call double crops: the beets and radishes. The ground crops have also been beautiful. Light red breakfast radishes and deep purple easter egg radishes, orange and rainbow carrots, purple and golden beets, and of course kohlrabi have had most of us looking up new recipes from the Stearns site and elsewhere. But, that’s part of the fun of a CSA membership, cooking and eating with the seasons!
We’re also gearing up to combat a common pest—the Mexican bean beetle. As with the microscopic nematodes for cabbage maggot, the amazingness of organic farming is at work again. Once we see beetle larvae, we’ll be releasing non-stinging wasps that use the beetle larvae as incubators for their own. As the wasp larvae pupate, the beetle larvae become a brownish mummy casing, allowing the wasps to emerge. The larvae will eat their way through and out of the casing. Sounds kind of horror movie-esque, but nature does the trick.
On a heavier note, the farmers have noticed a disturbing trend of sharers helping themselves to more than the share allots. As a few examples, we personally have seen people taking more than double the amount of strawberries, overheard sharers informing other sharers that they never weigh the crops given out by weight—greens, squashes, scapes, etc., which inevitably means more is being taken, and we’ve seen someone take three bunches of carrots and put two back only once they noticed one of the farmers watching. This type of selfishness leads to the farmers having to harvest under-ripe crops to meet needs, which leads to worse per-week shares and fewer vegetables for later shares. We love the Stearns Farm community, and cherish each of the sharers we have, but we’re asking everyone to please take only the fruits and vegetables that are allotted. Sharers who feel empowered to do so are welcome to remind other sharers as well that they may be taking more than their share. As part of the farm community, we all have a right to ensure the fairness of its members. We’d also ask that if a person or family is having trouble obtaining enough food in general, please come talk to Susan, as we’re more than happy to help make ends meet if we are able to do so.
On a lighter note, thank you to everyone who has helped us catch up on the weeding, planting, and harvesting. We’re just on the side of “caught-up,” which is fantastic and that’s certainly due to our wonderful sharers, work-for-shares, and volunteers.
See you in the fields!
Seth (the Amish looking dude in the straw hat)