July 16

Wow, this is great weather and it makes everybody feel about 10 years younger! We are hustling  about trying to clean up the aftermath of strawberry season and get ready to “renovate” the  berry beds for next year, as we try to carry them for 2-3  picking seasons before we turn them under and plant to another crop. Ray was delighted to see those of you who turned out Sunday for the gleaning hours and we hope you were able to scrounge up enough berries for that last meal before they officially go away. As you know,  we are in the middle of raspberry season and it looks like we will start picking blueberries on this weekend. Peas are finished, but we are beginning to  pick beans so even though some crops “go away” others suddenly appear and take time to harvest so it seems that we  always have a tough time getting caught up on the field work and projects. This week’s worry is the onions being too weedy, and the new strawberry bed needs to be hoed and the blossoms taken off.

We had a couple of complaints at the drop off Tuesday night concerning the lack of  tomatoes in the boxes, and the complaint was that if we had them at the farmstand, then they should be available in the box. Although I feel this is old ground I will try to clarify it once again. The tomatoes that we have and  will be picking through the first  week of August come out of our greenhouses. They  are grown entirely in the confines of a controlled environment from seed to finish, and there are not a lot of them.  Our greenhouse tomatoes are sown in January and transplanted into the ground in  heated greenhouses by mid March. We had two greenhouses planted up before we were ever approached by the Grantham group in early April. Because there is a lot of expense incurred in producing these tomatoes( i.e. capital cost of the structure, propane to heat the houses, plastic to cover the houses, etc.) we don’t produce very many of them. Occasionally, when we have extra boxes, we have sold them to Mike at Rumbrook.   We also have commitments to the Hanover-Lebanon Coops.  We currently are supplementing tomato supplies at our own farm stand with tomatoes that I was lucky enough to get from a friend in Westminster,Vermont.  What we clearly stated at the organizational meeting in April is that the tomatoes for the CSA will come from the field, and if we have an extra abundance of greenhouse tomatoes prior to the field tomatoes’ ripening, then you will be the lucky recipients.  If the membership really wants us to provide greenhouse tomatoes out of season (and this time of year is clearly out of season for anything but a greenhouse tomato)  then we can have that  discussion in December.

The melons in the field are about the size of hardballs (at least some of the earlier varieties are) and they are big enough to attract the interest of deer and woodchucks,  who seem to like them as much as we do, although they don’t wait until the melons ripen. Anyway, they are coming along as are the pumpkins and winter squash. Our expectation is that  our own corn will start to be coming in about the second week of  August. Going back to melons: because we  had sown the crop prior to our organizational meeting we may well be short on melons, and at the meeting I had stated that perhaps we could halve them and wrap them. The State of NH Health Department will not allow us to do that at our farm stand without a certified inspected commercial kitchen, but because I thought the CSA was more casual that they would allow us to cut and wrap.  I have since talked to the  health department and they frown on that as well. So, a way around this might be for us to bring a quantity of melons to the drop and have you guys divide them up off to the side. Let me know if you have any ideas. And enjoy the great summer weather in the meantime.