The tomatoes keep ripening up almost faster than we can keep them picked! If you missed last week's tomato tasting at the Wednesday Downtown Raleigh Farmers Market, we're doing it again this Saturday at the Midtown Farmers Market's Tomato Tribute. What better way to spend a Saturday morning than by tasting oodles of different varieties of luscious summer tomatoes at their peak? See you there!
We are still offering a discounted price on 10-lb flats of all the tomatoes, as well as some 'seconds' available that are great for canning or saucing. The seconds are not picture-perfect tomatoes. These are going to have some minor cracks and splits, bruises and blemishes. Please pre-order any boxes of seconds that you'd like, along with at least one or two dates that you could pick them up. We may not be able to fill all requests at once, especially if we receive numerous requests for one date, so it helps to have a 'Plan B!'
Our crop mix is taking another turn of the seasons in a hurry: the summer squash melted down over the weekend after four inches of rain in just a few hours from last Thursday's storms...it's a little earlier than most years, but on a farm in a hot humid climates where no fungicides are used, the squash is inevitably gone by August. Our last planting of lettuce is finished as well. Summer lettuce needs to be planted about every other week to keep the quality high, and we just plain ran out of room in June for more lettuce. This little farm is full to the gills late spring through early summer, with every square inch of the place planted to something. Now that we've gotten through the last of the spring crops, I have room to plant more (as soon as some serious clean-up work happens), and the salad greens ought to be back in business by August.
But the okra's starting to trickle in, plenty of sweet corn this week, and we're harvesting the first of our bell peppers. Purple bell peppers, for the non-initiated, are sweeter than a green bell pepper, but not as sweet as a red pepper. We like them because they're purple, they ripen a few weeks earlier than the reds, and because they're purple. How many other purple foods can you find for your plate?
Last week we dug, cured, and boxed up the potatoes for storage through the summer; this week it's the onions' turn. A lot of onions. Seed needs to be saved from all those peaking tomatoes for next year's crop, three of our quarter-acre plots need to be mowed (bush-hogged, really) and tilled up but the tractor's busted (as it always is when it's needed now), and there's an opportunity to get a second greenhouse on the cheap, if we can only disassemble and remove it from it's current location by the end of the month, and I gave up making my usual weekly to-do lists a few weeks ago because it just made me cringe to see it all on paper. Sometimes the pace of the farm in July makes me long for winter again. Almost. Then I look at the box of wool hats and quilted coveralls stashed in the back of the closet and think...nah...not yet...there's still too many tomatoes to eat!