Genesee Valley Organic Community Supported Agriculture

Notes from the Farm - August 1997
By Elizabeth Henderson

Fireflies dance their magic through the soft summer nights. Though a little on the dry side, the weather has been treating us well. Long, bright, warm days, but not too many hot, drippy ones. We've made up about a week on the two week lateness at the beginning of the season. And this year will go on record for low mosquito count!

After the first skimpy week, the vegetable supply from Rose Valley has been respectable so far. As you may have noticed, this has been an excellent year for snow peas and shelling peas. Carrots sized up earlier than usual. We managed to produce more lettuce, spinach and scallions than most years. When the weather gets hot, lettuces fall prey to fungi and spinach goes to seed. Peas stop producing and turn yellow. We are already dismantling the pea trellising, rolling up all that wire and pulling out the stakes for use another year.

By the end of July, we've planted most of the crops for the fall. All the greens and most of the root crops are in the ground: lettuce, spinach, bok choi, Chinese cabbage, beets, carrots, daikon, turnips, rutabagas, kale, collards, kohlrabi, tatsoi, broccoli raab, mizuna, mustards and herbs.

We still have more broccoli and cabbage plants to set out. With the cauliflower, the total will be close to 5000! We'll do one more seeding of carrots and spinach, and a few more plantings of lettuce.

We're looking forward to plenty of onions. Winter squash and pumpkins are starting to send out runners. Some of the leeks died of thirst during an earlier dry spell, but the survivors are finally putting on size. The potatoes have had very few Colorado potato beetles and, so far, no blight.

David has completed the big mid-summer farm mowing and we're beginning to pick tomatoes. They're a little later than last year, but so far the plants are much healthier. There is early blight only on the Brandywines which are particularly susceptible. With over 700 plants growing, including 75 sauce tomato plants, there should be enough tomatoes to make everyone happy.

The attempt at an early planting of zucchini and cucumbers was foiled by cold, wind, and squash beetles. The later zucchini, yellow crook neck and patty pan squashes are starting their outpouring of fruit. Eggplants, peppers and melons look promising. For reasons that will remain a mystery, the flea beetles did not ravage the eggplants this year the way they did last year. There will be no tomatillos: hidden by weeds we were hoping to hoe that day, they were disked under by mistake. The first beans are almost up to picking size and the early corn is not too far behind. Garlic harvest is about to begin. The lack of an apprentice has been made up by the labor of three 15 year old men - Travis, Titus and Toran. We have also recruited a small pack of local youngsters to pick peas and blueberries. They work two mornings a week between swimming and computer lessons. Unfortunately, under the stresses of farming, there are serious communication problems among the adults at the farm, though work is going well. Things seem very fragile and we appreciate all the support you give us.

My writing on the book about Community Supported Agriculture has slowed to a trickle since the GVOCSA season has begun. I welcome all suggestions for a snappy title! Brochures from CSAs all over the US and Canada continue to arrive and I have been pouring over leases for land trusts and conservation easements, trying to understand the complex issues of secure land tenure for small farms. After months of feelers, I am close to an agreement with a publisher for the book.

Working with all of you in the GVOCSA gives me tremendous enthusiasm and a lot of rich material for this writing job. Please share with me your thoughts, both positive and negative, about the CSA. I hope most of what you feel about this season, the food we provide, and work at Rose Valley Farm will be positive!

Copyright GVOCSA 1997. All rights reserved.