Farming Trifecta!

Not a lot of time for a newsletter so lets make this succinct.

We need more employees, fewer deer, and less rain.

If anyone is interested in getting out of the house for a couple of hour per week let me know.  We could certainly use the help!  After this week we will be down to three people (from the original six).  After next week we are down to two.  Booming economies make finding farm workers difficult.  Spread the word!

The deer are eating our watermelons.  We never had this problem before.  Sure we had crows eating the melon.  Absolutely we had deer eating other plants.  But never deer eating melons.  I’m not sure what changed in their dietary needs but it will severely impact our melon production.

All this rain is too much.  Plus the forecast calls for more!  You’d think rain would be good for farming and it is.  But with the constant rain and constant moisture the diseases have an easy time taking hold and spreading quickly.  I’m sure all this rain is good for some crop, I just don’t know which one it is.

What will we have this week?  Ok, this week we will have the Bodacious corn.  We thought it would be last week but it just wasn’t maturing.  The cool days, which are great for many reasons, are not so good for sweet corn.  They like it hot!  So it took longer than usual to mature.  But it is finally here and tastes great!  We’ll also have a pile of tomatoes, eggplants, summer squash, some broccoli (yes broccoli in mid August!), cauliflower (see below), cabbage, potatoes (if we can harvest them with the waterlogged soil), a few carrots, fennel, onions, a few beans (we are between plantings right now), and a few other things I don’t recall.

We have FruitShare, CheeseShare, EggShare, IceCreamShare and FlowerShare this week.

A quick note on cauliflower.  I think the cauliflower tastes great this year.  Store bought cauliflower is usually quite white compared to ours.  We don’t wrap the leaves to blanch the heads.  We found that enclosing the heads leads to greater disease pressure.  Store bought cauliflower is wrapped to protect it from bruising and dehydration.  We don’t have a way to wrap cauliflower.  So it can get occasionally bruised and discolored.  And with all the rain and damp weather we’ve had it can get a bit a black stuff on it.  But it tastes great!  So my recommendation is to give it a try and use it soon after you pick it up.  And to help you use it here is a great recipe I made the other day.

Grilled Spicy Cauliflower (recipe derived from Grilled Spicy Cauliflower on Serious Eats)

 

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (we thought this was too salty)
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head Cauliflower chopped into bite size pieces
  • Olive oil

Mix spice ingredients together.  Coat cauliflower in olive oil and spice mixture (we used about half the amount from this recipe) then put into heavy aluminum foil; leave foil open.  Put cauliflower on a hot grill.  Cook, flipping occasionally, until slightly charred.  Close up the aluminum foil to trap steam.  Steam cauliflower until tender.  It is quite delicious and you don’t even notice the cauliflower wasn’t blanched!

That is all for now.  Feel free to send in questions, comments, suggestions, etc.

 

 

What's For Dinner?

I can’t seem to think of much to say this week so here are a bunch of recipes.  But first a couple of announcements.

We are looking for help for the rest of the season.  Part time.  Full time.  We can be flexible.  If you want to only help wash produce and not work out in the hot sun and the cold wind we can make that work.  Work only on the day you pick up your produce?  Sure, we can do that!  Any and all ideas will be considered.  Let me know if you or someone you know is interested!

What will we have this week?  Well I’m glad you asked!  We’ll have a lot of tomatoes: 4-6 lbs!  We’ll have a lot of cucumbers!  We’ll have a lot of squash!  New this week are green peppers!  We’ll have carrots, cabbage, eggplant, sweet corn (Bodacious!), onions, beets, fennel, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, tomatillos,

MeatShare arrived on Friday.  FlowerShare is this week as well.  No other shares that I can think of this week.

Here are a few recipe ideas to use up all of this week’s produce!

Easy Coleslaw

Here is a delicious coleslaw recipe that’s quick and easy and delicious.  It’s a great way to use up cabbage!

Ingredients

1 small head or 1/2 large head of cabbage shredded
2-4 carrots grated
1 small onion thinly sliced
2-3 T lemon juice
1-2 T vinegar
1/2 c milk
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/3 c sugar

Mix lemon juice, vinegar, milk, mayonnaise and sugar in a bowl.  Mix cabbage, carrots and onions in a large bowl.  Pour liquid mixture over cabbage mixture.  Mix to combine.  Tastes great after sitting in the fridge overnight though can certainly be eaten immediately.

If you are looking to use up tomatoes and cucumbers there is nothing better than Vuola’s Greek Salad!

Got some eggplant you need to use up?  How about Eggplant with Kalamata Olives?

Or here is another idea:

Eggplant in Hoisin Sauce

1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 small to medium eggplants, cut into small chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, white and light green parts only, very thinly sliced, plus more for garnish or just use onions
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger from a 1 1/2 inch piece (or just use powdered ginger)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (oops, I didn’t use these)

In a small bowl wisk together hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar.  In a large pan or wok heat oil over high heat, add eggplant and onions; cook until eggplant is soft.  Add hoisin sauce mixture to pan and stir until eggplant is coated.  In a small bowl wisk cornstarch and 3T water until dissolved.  Add to pan and stir until sauce is thickened.  Serve with rice.

Have beets, tomatoes and cherry tomatoes?  Try this delicious recipe from Martha Stewart!  It even has video instructions.  I boiled the beets since I didn’t want to heat up the oven.

In a Thai kind of mood and are wondering what yo do with cauliflower, beans, carrots, and potatoesCauliflower and Potato Curry is one of my favorites!  If you don’t have all of the veggies feel free to skip the ones missing.  It will still taste great!

As always, do not hesitate to send in questions, comments, suggestions, jokes or recipes!

It's All Good

Easterly Corn

It seems like every week I talk about all the bad things happening here on the farm.  Things breaking.  Weather not cooperating.  Pests being pesky.  Someone made an off-the-cuff remark that it always sounded so glum but they were still happy with all the great stuff they were getting.  So to change things up this week I am only going to talk about all good news from the farm this week!  So sit back, grab a cold drink and be prepared to read some happy news!

I was able to start my generator no problem this past Wednesday when we lost power due to the high winds from the storm.  The generator hasn’t run in at least a couple years.  Great news!

Nobody got lost last week.  The high wind made all the plants point in an easterly direction, which made it quite ease for us to figure out which direction was east.

The first planting of corn produced small ears so it won’t fill you up with useless calories.  Plus we have it on good authority that it is mighty tasty.  The raccoons, the deer and the corn earworms all said so.  And you’ll get a lot of it!

The Japanese beetles are the worst not as bad as they could be this year.

The flea beetles are the worst not as bad as they could be this year.  Now we won’t have to eat fall broccoli.

We shouldn’t be completely overrun with zucchini this season.  One bed of the three zucchini beds isn’t producing very well.  Yay!

Smaller garlic bulbs always taste better.  All that delicious garlic flavor packed into a miniature package!

We didn’t lose any topsoil this week!  Without all these weeds we’d lose a ton of topsoil when we get these deluges of rain like we did Wednesday morning!  Let’s all be thankful for weeds!

Temps in the 80’s.  Dew points in the 60’s.  No breeze.  Perfect sweating weather!

What will we have this week?  We’ll have sweet corn, potatoes, fennel, eggplant, kohlrabi, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, onions, green beans, yellow beans, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, basil, parsley, and probably some other things I forgot.  The good news is that for our delivery members you won’t get all these things so you won’t be overwhelmed!  These are just the many things from which we choose what goes into your box!

We have Colorado peaches this week.  If you ordered them they will be at your chosen pick-up location.  Please be sure to look for them.

We also have FruitShare, CheeseShare, EggShare and FlowerShare.

I think everyone has picked up their SeafoodShare and SalmonShare but if not we have those leftover from last week.

As always, send in your questions, comments, jokes and great news when you get a chance!

 

 

 

 

 

Transitioning

Last week I asked everyone to leave their car windows open, plan outdoor activities, etc. to try to get us some rain.  It worked quite well.  Thank you!  Now we’re good.  So close up the windows and go back to your usual indoor activities.

One quick announcement then on to farm news. We are looking for help starting the middle of August.  We currently have college and high school students working here.  For some reason they think it is in their best interest to head back to school instead of hanging with us here on the farm.  So if you know anyone who would like to farm for a few months send them our way!

Farm News

This week marks what I feel is the transition between the early, spring crops and the seemingly more popular summer crops. This week we add those vegetables that almost everybody loves: veggies like carrots, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet corn (most likely later in the week).  We could throw in potatoes as well but we’re planning on digging the first of those next week.  When people say they like vegetables these are the ones they likely are talking about.  Of course as we transition to new vegetables we need to train our new staff on how to tell when something is ready to harvest, how to harvest it, how to wash it and which items to cull.  This is one of the great challenges in this type of farming.  We do more training than Great Northern Railroad!

This is also the time we dig up the garlic.   I don’t know why I didn’t remember this last week when I asked for help with the dearth of rain but every year we seem to get rain right before it is time to dig garlic.  I really didn’t need the help.  It was inevitable that it was going to rain.  Almost time to dig garlic = rain!

Nonetheless, if you are interested in learning the fine art of garlic digging let me know.  Weather permitting we will be digging garlic on Friday.  If there is enough interest to schedule a time this weekend I would certainly accommodate a lovely round of garlic digging.  Saturdays work better for me but I could do Sunday if necessary.  Let me know if you’d like to help!  It is a dirty job but someone has to do it.

What will we have this week?  Lots of new stuff!  We have carrots.  We have tomatoes.  We have cucumbers.  We have beans.  We have cabbage, squash, onions, eggplant, kohlrabi, kale, chard, fennel, broccoli, and a few beets.

A quick note on tomatoes: We grow quite a few heirloom tomatoes.  They are not necessarily red.  They are not necessarily round.  They may stay green.  They may be knobby.  They may not look like tomatoes you are used to.  But one thing I can say for sure is they will taste better than tomatoes you are used to.  And the key to getting the best flavor is to eat them when they are ripe.  We pick our tomatoes at various stages of ripeness.  We don’t want to pick them too early before they develop their unique flavors.  We don’t want to pick them too late where they are so ripe they need to be eaten right away.  We pick them in between these two stages.  It gives you a chance to spread out the tasty goodness over a few days to a week (if you can wait that long).

So if they aren’t red when ripe, how do I tell when a tomato is ready to eat?  I say let the kids taste it.  If they spit it out wait another day or two.  Actually it is easier than that.  The more the tomato gives to gentle squeezing the riper it is.  Don’t wait until the green is gone.  Many of the tomatoes will have green shoulders (top of the tomato) even when they are dead ripe.  And green zebras always stay green!  So use another of your senses and quit relying on visual cues.  And finally, please be gentle with the tomatoes in the pick-up tent.  Don’t toss them aside looking for the best one.  Your fellow farm member who come after you would appreciate it.

SeafoodShare is this week.  Also SalmonShare will start this Tuesday if it arrives in time.  Otherwise certainly by Wednesday.

FlowerShare is ongoing.

A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall?

[Editor’s Note: This newsletter was written on Monday evening before the rain that was not forecasted last night.  Please be advised.]

Just a reminder that we will take back pint-size clamshells, egg cartons from EggShare, FruitShare boxes and rubber bands.  Please save the rubber bands until you have enough quantity to make it worthwhile.

Farm News

This has been an interesting season so far (like there has ever been an uninteresting season).  On the bright side we seem to be better at handling the typical farm challenges we’ve had in the past.  Things like weeds, pests, irrigation, etc.  The fields look reasonably good.  The crops are doing as well as can be expected given the weather we’ve been given.  So all-in-all farming is going fine.

However we seem to be seeing a lot more one-off type challenges, challenges that aren’t part of everyday farming.  These challenges include things I’ve mentioned before like broken tractors, crashed computers, etc.  This past week we’ve seen a couple more new challenges that we are trying to resolve — a couple drop site issues, and a few unfortunate resale item issues.  These types of challenges we hope don’t happen since they are unanticipated and require attention that wasn’t allocated so they eat into other tasks’ time or personal time.  I guess that is the nature of any small business and isn’t specifically farm related.

Hopefully these side issues can be resolved quickly with little impact.  I do appreciate everyone’s understanding as we solve these problems.  Which brings up an important point: if you have a problem please bring it to my attention.  If you see something, say something.  I can’t resolve it if I don’t know about it.  Sometimes the problems are isolated to one member.  However other times several members are having the same experience.  But since we have so many Minnesotans as members we don’t want to complain so the problem persists or we lose a few members due to something we could have solved if only we knew.  So please when I say at the end of every newsletter “Do not hesitate to send in questions, comments, etc.” I actually mean it and hope you can set aside your Minnesota nature for a bit and let me know there is a problem.  Or let me know that there isn’t a problem and everything is going great.  That can be helpful as well!

Other than these few things, we are spending any extra time we have waiting for it to rain.  As you can see from the above picture, I tried to show how parched the earth is but the cucumber got in the way.  We have had very little rain these last many weeks.  If we had as much rain as forecasted we would be way above average.  But most of the rain has gone to the north or south of us.  So here we sit, waiting for rain.

One fortunate aspect of where we farm is that we have pretty good soil.  It has a lot of organic matter which retains moisture quite well.  So what little rainfall we’ve had is still helpful.  But to paraphrase the legendary urban farmer Johnny Cochran, “If it don’t rain, you can’t retain.”  We need the rain!  So leave the car windows down.  Wash you vehicles and schedule an outdoor wedding.  We need all the help we can get! [Editor’s Note: Thank you all for leaving your car windows open last night].

Detours!

Rumor has it (I don’t get off the farm much so this may in fact not be true) that Hwy 95/Manning Ave will be closed at Valley Creek starting this week.  If you take Manning Ave from I-94 or points north instead of following the detour signs, take Old Hudson Rd east to Neal Ave.  Turn right and head south.  Neal parallels Manning so follow your usual directions from here.  If you come from Woodbury area use Bailey Ave instead of Valley Creek.  I believe everything Bailey related is open.

What will we have this week? New this week is cabbage!  Get your cabbage recipes out. Also new this week is fennel (just a few though it will grow in quantity over the next couple weeks)!  Below is a great recipe for fennel frond pesto.  Broccoli (with this weird hot/cool/hot/cool/hot/no rain weather it has been quite the challenge growing broccoli!), kohlrabi, summer squash/zucchini, beets, onions (might be switching to bulbing onions), a few garlic scapes for the pesto recipe below, chard (you can use chard for pesto as well!), basil (you can use basil for pesto as well!), a few remaining snap peas, a few remaining snow peas, a few cauliflower, a few eggplant, one cucumber, very few tomatoes, virtually no cherry tomatoes, and probably not beans (though if so it would be late this week).  We can expect these warm season crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and eggplants to ramp up the next week or two.

This week’s recipeFennel frond pesto!

(This recipe is rebroadcast from its original airing on July 14th, 2015).

Hey, I thought you needed basil to make pesto?  Not true!  You can use any green leafy plant to make pesto.  You also don’t need pine nuts.  So what do you need to make pesto?  Well, follow along below:

A bunch of green leafy stuff, like 6 cups or so.  We’ll use fennel fronds for this example.
Some nuts, about ½ cup.  Walnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, whatever you have on hand.
Some hard cheese around a ½ cup.  Parmesan works great, which reminds me you need to grate it.
Some garlic.  A couple cloves or even more fun is to use garlic scapes!
Some olive oil, like ¼ to ½ a cup or more.  I don’t think you should substitute any other oil for the olive oil.  Just doesn’t seem right.

Put all the ingredients except the oil into a food processor and grind away.  Dividing it into two smaller amounts will make it easier.  Scrape down the sides several times between grindings until everything is finely chopped.

With the food processor running, pour in the olive oil until the consistency desired.  For dips and spreads use less oil for a thicker consistency.  For pasta sauce use more oil.  Scrape down the sides occasionally to ensure complete distribution.

Taste and adjust by adding additional amounts of any of the items.  It is hard to over mix the pesto so keep on grinding!

That’s it.  I find this pesto to be tastier than basil pesto.  To me it is sweeter.

This week we have FruitShare, CheeseShare, CoffeeShare, IceCreamShare, EggShare, and FlowerShare.

Cherries arrive this week for those who ordered cherries.

As always, do not hesitate to send in questions, comments, suggestions, jokes, brain teasers, etc.  I really mean it!

Farm Update

Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of time to fill you in on what’s happening on the farm but suffice it to say that for the most part things are progressing as usual, which is to say completely different than any other season.  We’ve got some new bugs that are eating our basil; never had a problem growing basil before.  The eggplants are starting to produce; this is either good news or bad news depending on your perspective.  The recent cooler days have helped the brassicas; the broccoli is looking better than the earlier spring broccoli and the peas are still producing nicely.  The corn is silking.  The beans are flowering as are the cucumbers.  We have small peppers and big tomatoes — both of which are still quite green.  The potatoes have been hilled twice.  The deer have eaten down the edamame, but we covered it up with plastic mesh yesterday so hopefully it will recover and produce this fall.  We could use some rain but not too much at one time.  The cabbage worms (caterpillars) are hatching so stay on the lookout for them in the broccoli.  We sprayed bt (an organic pesticide which is actually bacteria) the other day when the forecast called for no rain for a week just before it rained so I don’t know how effective it was.  We’ll reapply the bt when the forecast no longer calls for rain or no rain since it doesn’t seem to matter what the forecast calls for.  I think that is a pretty good synopsis of farm happenings.

What will we have this week?  Summer squash/zucchini and plenty of it!  Get your zucchini recipes ready.  Plus beets!  We’ll also have green onions, kohlrabi, some lettuce, the remaining bok choi, kale, some chard, snap peas, snow peas, a few remaining garlic scapes, broccoli, plus a variety of herbs.  Cabbage, eggplant and cauliflower should start showing up in increasing quantities over the next several weeks.

Recipe of the week

Summer Squash Salad

A pile of summer squash/zucchini
Olive oil or other oil (but not motor oil)
Feta Cheese
Your favorite Italian salad dressing

Cut squash in half length wise and coat with a small amount of oil.  Grill cut side down until soft, about 20 minutes.  Cut cooked squash into bite sized pieces and place in serving bowl.  Crumble feta cheese over the squash.   Pour on dressing to taste.  Toss.  This is delicious either hot or cold.  We frequently make it when we have leftover grilled squash.

FlowerShare starts this week!

MeatShare arrived on Friday.

No other shares this week.

As always, do not hesitate to send in questions, comments, suggestions, etc.

Two Broke Tools

Angry Kohlrabi

This past was a trying week here on the farm.  As I mentioned in my previous post our computer crapped out Monday night.  Being a busy farmer I didn’t do the types of things that we all should do — brush your teeth twice a day, drink plenty of water and backup your hard drive. Actually I do the first two things but I stopped doing the third about four years ago as I discovered when I went looking for my back-up copies.

Thankfully we have a number of members who have computer skills and volunteered to take a look.  Michael was the first in so he was selected to take the first shot and he was successful getting the files off the hard disc (we farmers use discs for rearranging dirt not storing pictures) and getting the computer working again.  Of course I still need to implement a backup strategy and replace the hard drive as a precaution but at least I still have all my pictures of frogs and toads and tomatoes and fennel.

Of course the week wouldn’t have been complete with just one major failure.  Other than the computer our most important tool here on the farm is our tractor.  We don’t invest in the latest and greatest tractors.  They cost too much and parts are expensive.  So we go with the old stuff.  Our Ford tractor is from the 1970s and our Allis Chalmers is from the 1940s.  The Allis has had a few problems over the years but since it is used only for cultivating it isn’t critical to running the farm on a daily basis.  The Ford on the other hand is used virtually every day for long periods of time.  And unfortunately one part just gave up last week.

Most tractors these days come with a three point hitch.  That is how we attach implements to the tractor.  There are two lower “links” and one upper “link”.  The lower links are lift arms which allow the tractor to pick up the implement.  But without the top link the implement would spin on the pins and not lift very well.  That is where the top link comes in handy.  By having three points of contact we can lift the implement in one direction without spinning.

Unfortunately the top link on our Ford broke.  Of the three this is the best one to break since it is the easiest and cheapest to replace.  But it surprised me that I was able to break it.  The Ford has a category-II hitch.  Cat-II hitches are rated for tractors with 40-100 drawbar hp.  Our tractor has 44 drawbar hp — at the low end of the specification.  Plus the plow we were pulling is a cat-I plow.  So our tractor and specifically the three point hitch should not have had a problem — except for the close to 50-year-old age of the tractor.

Fortunately three point hitch parts are pretty standardized so finding a replacement part was straightforward (thanks to the internet) and relatively inexpensive.  But of course the replacement part isn’t quite the same and will take a bit of practice getting used to the minor differences.  For now I am thankful that it was repairable.

This week we will have more garlic scapes (scapes keep for a very long time in the fridge or you can chop them up and freeze them for later use), some lettuce, some radishes (these are about done for the spring) bok choi (this is the last week), chard, green garlic (last week as well), green onions, snap peas, snow peas, some broccoli, kohlrabi, summer squash/zucchini and basil!  As you can see this is a transition week from the early spring crops to the later spring crops and just touching the summer crops.

We also have CheeseShare, EggShare, and FruitShare.

MeatShare comes on Friday.

FlowerShare should start next week.

That is all for now.  Feel free to send in questions, comments suggestions, 1-terabyte backup disks and anything else you think would be helpful!

Computer Data Recovery Expertise Needed

Our computer crapped out this past Monday so we are looking for an expert to help recover the data.  We brought it to Data Drs. to see if they could fix it.  They said they couldn’t here in MN but could send it out for an exorbitant fee with no guarantee of success and a turn around time of months.  I passed on their wonderful offer.

They said the problem is a corrupt data partition.  They said the disk and the rest of the computer are otherwise was fine.  If you have expertise in solving these types of problems I would love to talk to you to see if we can recover the data or even just one specific file.  Please let me know if you can help.

Thank you!

July 4th Schedule and a Very Important Message

First, my computer crashed with all the important data including email lists.  So for now all outbound communication will be sent via the newsletter.  I’m not sure how long it will take to resolve or if we can get back to where we were, so please bear with me until the problem is resolved.

Second, here are our plans for the Fourth of July.  I would have sent out the pertinent info to each email list but please see above.

On-farm pick-up times stay as usual.  T, Th and F from 3:30 to 6:30 and W from 9:30 to 11:30 am.  If you want to switch to a different day please let me know ASAP.

There is no change to the Thursday deliveries for 3M, Cathedral, Ginkgo, Mac-Groveland, Minneapolis and St. Paul’s Monastery.

Eagan will be delivered on Tuesday as usual.

International Plaza, Shoreview, and West St. Paul will be delivered on Wednesday July 5th by the usual time.

For drop site members: if you do not plan to pick up your box that week please let me know ASAP so we don’t pack a box for you.  If you want to pick up here at the farm that week please let me know as well.

I think that is all for now.  I’ll fill you in on the broken tractor next week.

 

Yellow is my Least Favorite Color

Not a bad start to the season!

We have blueberries, cherries and Colorado peaches for sale a la carte!  Check out the online store or contact me if you would like to order them.  Blueberries come next week.  Cherries are in July and peaches arrive in August.

Farm News

This Spring, as I mentioned last week, has been difficult for the cool season crops though this past week saw an improvement in the the weather.  Unfortunately weather is just one factor we farmers deal with.  Of course we also have weeds, pests, fungi, viruses, bacteria, diseases and physical challenges.  This season our lettuce seems to be affected the most.  In particular we are seeing a dramatic rise in the incidents of aster yellows.

Aster yellows is a disease that affects many plants.  It is transmitted to plants by leafhoppers — small insects that hop from leaf to leaf!  If a leafhopper has the aster yellows and feeds on a susceptible plant it transmits the disease to the plant.  Once the plant has aster yellows there is no stopping it from killing the plant.

Aster yellows control requires the control of the leafhopper.  If no leafhoppers have the disease in their gut then their sampling of our lettuce does not inflict the disease.  But if a significant number of leafhoppers have the disease then we are at the mercy of their selection of food source.

With other pests like cucumber beetles, flea beetles, potato beetles, cabbage moth larva, etc. the pest will attack only plants in a certain family.  Potato beetles attack nightshade plants.  Cucumber beetles gorge themselves on cucurbits!   Cabbage moth larva eat plants in the brassica family.  When we find trouble with these pests we only have to manage the problem on that particular family of plants.  Unfortunately leafhoppers munch on a wide variety of plants and don’t gather on any one crop.  For us to control leafhoppers we have to control them farm-wide.  Actually it is even worse.  We have to control them nationwide since most of the leafhoppers that do damage here in Minnesota are blown north from the south during the Spring.  So spraying our lettuce to stop the aster yellows from killing them is pretty pointless.  It may stop the spread momentarily but soon leafhoppers will arrive from neighboring plants, fields or states.

In the past we lost maybe 10% of our lettuce to aster yellows.  This season I estimate it is more like 30%.  Add that to the loss due to the heat from earlier this month and we are looking at a substantial hit to this season’s lettuce.  In the future we may look into covering the lettuce with a row cover like we do with the bok choi for flea beetle control.  But that adds difficulties like weed control.  Besides, what if we trap leafhoppers under the cover?  They only have the lettuce to eat so good-bye lettuce!

The point to this long ramble is to let you know that the lettuce may be in short supply this season.  We still have some out there to harvest and haven’t lost it all but it won’t be the usual abundance in these early shares.

What will we have this week?  New this week is kale!  We’ll also have bok choi, chard, snow peas, snap peas, some lettuce (but not much), green onions, green garlic, garlic scapes, radishes, broccoli, and a few kohlrabi.

There is no other shares this week.

As always, do not hesitate to send in questions, comments, suggestions, etc.