Last night Kevin and I took a walk around the farm, looking at all the crops and assessing how different things are doing.  This is a daily task, but one that we do together less often.  Every day Kevin walks around and checks on things so we can make decisions about what needs to be done based on the current state of each individual crop.  On our farm this kind of daily attention this time of year is absolutely necessary for the success of the farm.  Growing organically means that we have to be constantly on the lookout for pests.  We have to be doing everything we can to mitigate them.  We have to have a close eye on weeds as they germinate in order to try to deal with them before they become a greater issue.  Our walk was good and I would say that the farm is in overall good shape.  There are harlequin bugs moving in on some of our kale and cabbage. Organically, they are pretty indestructible and they can cause great damage to those crops.  They eat the cell walls of the plant until the whole thing turns black and dies.  One way we deal with this is by planting in successions so that when those pests move in we have the option to harvest what we can and then till it in and try to prevent there from being a greater population.

We are still seeing a lot of cucumbers and squash, though our early planting may take a break in a couple weeks and we will all get some release from eating squash right as tomato season comes into full swing.  We have been patiently waiting the ripening of what looks to be a tremendous tomato harvest. We know you have been waiting as well and it won’t be long before we are all flush with tomatoes and trying out different recipes to use them up.

It is also the height of preservation season.  A great time to put up some of these special treats so that we can enjoy them in the winter months.  Peaches and blueberries freeze really easily if you have the freezer space and like smoothies.  I froze a gallon of blueberries this weekend for wintertime smoothies and made some preserves that will be available for sale at the pick up.  My next project will be to make some cucumber pickles.  We did not have such an overwhelming cucumber harvest last year and I was not on top of my preserving of the ones we had so I have been somewhat in withdraw from cucumber pickles. When it comes to canning pickles are a great place to start as a beginner because the addition of vinegar makes it very hard to mess things up.  If you make pickles in the refrigerator you can play around with things a little more but if you can them do be sure to use a recipe for the brine mixture.  Here is a link to a small batch of dill pickles from Cooking Lite Magazine.

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/dill-pickle-spears-50400000136540/

If you are looking for good recipes and reasonable size batches I also enjoy this blog: www.foodinjars.com.

Happy Cooking!

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