The News from Windflower Farm
Hello from Windflower Farm!
What’s in your share?
- Red potatoes
- Bok Choy or chard
- Sweet peppers
- Assorted tomatoes
- Genovese basil pot
- Yellow and red onions
- Sweet corn
Cabbage and beets will be in next week’s share. Squashes will return in another week or two, and carrots should be ready in another couple of weeks.
Your fruit share will be watermelons from us. Soon, stone fruits will be giving way to pears, apples and cider.
What’s new on the farm?
It’s county fair week here in Washington County, and our fair, or so goes the claim, is the largest agricultural fair in the state. This doesn’t surprise me – everyone here seems to have something or other to do with farming, and agriculture is by far the leading economic activity in the county.
Like many of you, Jan, Nate and I have rediscovered bicycling during the pandemic, and in seeking out new bike routes we have rediscovered the beauty of our working landscape, which is a mix of orchards, vegetable fields, rows of grains, giant swaths of hay and alfalfa and woods, especially on hillsides and along waterways. A farmstead can be found around virtually every turn in the road, with horses, cows, sheep, chickens or goats in the farmyard.
After getting out for a morning bike ride on Sunday, Jan, Nate and I washed the red potatoes that will be going into this week’s share. To wash root crops, we use a machine with rollers and brushes and banks of fresh water spray nozzles. My job was to tip the crates of freshly dug potatoes into the machine’s hopper. Jan’s was positioned on the outflow conveyor and tasked with inspecting the crop and tossing bad potatoes into the compost bucket. Nate gathered the potatoes that made it past Jan into clean totes and stacked them on pallets ready for today’s packing.
The first thing we noticed after removing the soil from the potatoes was that every tenth potato or so was weirdly creased and deformed. Many were so bad that Jan had to toss them. “These would win the ugliest potato contest at the county fair!” she said. It was not a problem we had encountered before. Puzzled, we did a little homework, and it turns out that many potato varieties, especially the early ones, will be deformed in seasons where poor growing conditions (the hot and dry weather of May and early June of this year) are followed by relatively good conditions (the regular rainfall of late June and July). Concerned, we checked our unwashed inventory. Happily, the second and third varieties we harvested, which were a few weeks later to mature, seem to be largely free of the malady.
Have a great week, Ted