CSA pick up September 10
Depending on which radio station you listen to, or what web site you check, or what app you have, there may or may not be a frost this week. It's all that the farmers can talk about. Well, that and the rainy cool weather.
It's been so rainy and cool that many crops are far behind where they should be. The melons are just now coming into season, the tomatoes are just now turning red, and the squash are finally getting to be the right colour. The fields are FULL of produce still to be harvested. For us that's delicious food to eat. For our farmers, it's the money they need to pay themselves for their work this summer. And much of it will go to waste if we have a frost.
In British Columbia's wine regions, if a frost threatens the crop, the wineries hire helicopters to hover above their fields. The helicopters create an air inversion, moving warmer air down to the crops, and pushing the colder air away, saving the crops. Air space laws in Manitoba make it complicated to get permission to fly helicopters at night on short notice. So this is not a mechanism that our producers can currently use to save their crops from a night's frost. Some producers get up in the middle of the night to light hay or straw on fire in the hopes that the smokey smudge will protect the crops, others enlist the help of friends and neighbours to drive around the gardens in an attempt to create an air inversion. Misting the garden with water also works. When we were on our strawberry farm, I remember my parents shaking my brother and I awake at 2 in the morning to help get the irrigation going to save the strawberry blossoms from a frost. If we didn't get the nozzles changed to the correct misting ones and the pump going in time, the whole crop could be lost in one night. It's a bit of a stressful time for our farmers at the moment.
Let's all cross our fingers that the frost won't hit, and we'll still have wonderful variety and abundance in the CSA for the rest of the season!
This week full share to receive a minimum of 9 of the following items. Remember to eat from the top of the list down to keep your produce the most fresh.
Tomatoes, spray free, field grown
Cherry Tomatoes, Spray free
Chard, Spray free
Cantaloup, Spray free
Lemon Cucumber, Organic
Slicer Cucumber, Organic
Apples, Spray free
Half share to contain a minimum of 4 of the following items
Tomatoes, Spray free, Field grown
Cherry tomatoes, spray free
Cantaloupe, spray free
Apples, Spray free
The real gems in your shares this week are the cantaloupe. Even if you think that you don't like cantaloupe, just try the local ones. When we sample them out in store, people will leave a long line at the till just to go back to get one. They are rich, sweet but with less of that 'musky' taste that some people associate with cantaloupe.
You can tell that your cantaloupe is ripe because it has an innie belly button. When a cantaloupe is picked ripe, the stem end detaches from the melon, leaving an 'innie' belly button. If a cantaloupe is picked green, some of the stem will stay attached leaving an 'outie' belly button. If you buy a cantaloupe with an outie, just leave it on your kitchen counter for a few days. Every day give the stem a pull. One day the stem will come off freely, when it does, the melon is ripe.