Thuggish tomatoes

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The tomatoes have us outnumbered this week.  Really outnumbered.  The fields were eerily quiet as every worker picked or washed tomatoes.  Our tomato plants have made a concentrated fruit set and there are so many ripening at once.  All our customers got tomatoes this week: CSA members (in the box plus extra orders), stores, and one wholesale customer who buys 8000 lb each year to freeze for winter sales.  It’s a miracle we had time to pick anything else.

Save the date for our pumpkin u-pick and gleaning party.
This is our most popular farm event.  See this week’s email for the date.  This is a members-only event, so I don’t put the date or other info on the website.  We’ll send more information via email as the date gets closer.

Let’s talk about raspberries.
We are sending the first raspberries of the year to one site this week.  Last year, we did not send raspberries because we were ambushed by a surprise fruit fly infestion, specifically spotted wing Drosophila.  This year, we have sprayed regularly with organic pesticides, giving us pretty good fruit fly control.  We find that picking the berries less ripe also helps.  However, it is inevitable that there will be some fruit flies in the berries.  Toss out soft or problematic berries.  This is a tough situation for all raspberry growers and we are still learning how to manage this new pest. We’d like to hear your comments on the berries you receive.

Raspberry u-picks.
We expect to offer raspberry u-picks for the next month, fruit flies permitting.  We’ve set the first two dates.
U-PICK #1: this Sunday 9/8, from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. or until berries run out.
U-PICK #2: next Saturday 9/14, from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. or until berries run out.
U-pick price:  $2.50 per pint of raspberries.
We will provide pint containers and boxes to carry the berries home.
Berry report: This a tasty red berry called Caroline.  Berries are abundant right now.  We will teach you how to avoid berries with fruit flies.  However, if you are squeamish about the thought of tiny fruit fly eggs in your berries, then you should not pick.
Who’s invited?: All CSA members are welcome, whether weekly members, EOW members, or families splitting a share.  It is OK to invite non-members to the raspberry u-picks (but not to the busy pumpkin u-pick).
Where:  Here at the farm, 14706 W. Ahara Road, Evansville, WI.
Raindate:  There are no raindates.
Other details:  We’ve posted directions and other info on our website.  Please read before coming to the farm.  The berry field is weedy and stubbly, so we suggest closed shoes.  As usual, please leave your dogs at home.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes.  We’ve sent ingredients to make salsa: tomatoes, cilantro, hot pepper and sweet onions.

melon (honeydew OR red watermelon)
sweet corn, 3 or 4 ears
mixed slicing and plum tomatoes, 5 lb total
Italian frying peppers, 3
cilantro, 1 bunch
Walla Walla onion, 1
white onion, 1
serrano hot peppers, 2
lacinato kale, normal store-sized bunch
Most members will get two items from this list:  broccoli OR globe eggplant OR raspberries OR an heirloom tomato

Next week’s box will probably contain tomatoes, peppers, leeks, carrots?, Swiss chard and more.

Honeydew melons (white rind, pale green flesh) – These need extra attention to determine when they are ripe.  For years we have struggled to grow good honeydew melons, trying new varieties and techniques but never harvesting more than an armful.  This season … success!  About 80% of you will get a honeydew this week.  Most of these melons were harvested slightly under-ripe (to prevent splitting) and should sit at room temperature for one to three days develop full flavor and sweetness.  Ripe honeydews feel slightly soft to a firm touch.  Some melons are closer to ripe, some are still hard as we pack them.  We hope you enjoy them.
Watermelons – The watermelons are ready to eat.
Sweet corn – Many ears have insects at the tip so be prepared to cut off the tips.  It is a widespread problem in this harvest so we cannot avoid those ears.  However, this batch of corn tastes great.  This is the final sweet corn delivery.  We originally planned three sweet corn deliveries but the weather intervened and stretched the harvests to five deliveries (not counting the deliveries of just an ear or two.)  We find we like this schedule.  Next year, we’ll deliberately plant more, smaller fields.  It reduces the risk that one group of EOW members will get most of the corn deliveries.
Italian frying peppers (long, slender, red or green) – See our previous post for more info about these peppers.
Walla Walla onions (sparse, loose yellow skins) – These are sweet and wonderful in fresh salads.
White onions (whiter in color) – These can also be used in salads but are more pungent.  They will fry much better than the Wallas.
Serrano peppers (small green or red chili) – These are HOT.  They are small so don’t overlook them in the bottom of your box.

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