Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Around the Farm and CSA Week 10

Organic Gardening, the magazine, ceased to exist this year. A trusted and reliable source for information over the years, I guess it was no longer relevant, although that is a matter of opinion. Perhaps more likely, sales were down and it needed to relate to a wider audience to pull in readers, not just the hippie-folk who practised organic gardening.
For me, it was a tense time. I had been a test gardener for Organic Gardening for 8 or so years, along with a cast of folks from Las Vegas (Leslie), to California (Nan), to Washington State, North Carolina and all points in between.
If you are a gardener, you would understand how wonderful it is to get a big parcel of free seeds to trial in the mail every year. Most years it is upward of 40 different items, including veggies, herbs and flowers.
Many of these would be things I wouldn't likely have tried otherwise, although as the years go by the parcel includes more heirlooms as they increase in popularity.
It's wonderful too, to have a long standing connection with amazing gardeners and people across the US who are growing and testing the same seeds as you are, many times under very, very different conditions. The communications have been terrific. They are a great group of people, whom I have known for 9 years now, but never met.
It was great to get the word that the trial garden program would continue with the birth of the new "Organic Life" magazine, although how exactly the results will show up in the magazine, I am not sure.
No matter though.
There are definitely some real winners this year, and if you are in my CSA, you may have eaten some of them.

My first favourite in the test garden is the "Roxanne" radishes (F1). These radishes were an AAS winner for 2015, and definitely live up to the hype. They grow large and uniform, with a pure white flesh and are never pithy. I liked them so much, that I purchased another large pack for fall growing.
Another standout is the "Korist" kohlrabi, again a hybrid. This is a quick growing, smooth skinned premium kohlrabi. I received the seeds quite late in the season, so direct seeded, not sure what to expect. But the kohlrabi grew quickly and well. I was impressed.
"Purple Tee Pee" beans were also on the list to try. This is a nice purple bean that I am quite familiar with. It did well, as it always does, but I remain partial to "Velour", a slimmer, longer and more prolific bean.
I am still waiting for a few more things which I hope will stand out, squashes, tomatoes and carrots.
The lettuces, dandelion and basil were fine, but perhaps not any more special or as good as some I already grow.

Harvesting in the garden today was ideal. I wrapped it all up, delivered everything, returned to work a bit more in the garden and then the rains came. Nice. It doesn't always work like that so I choose to see it as a good omen.
The baskets today were full and heavy. It was lots of food.

Most baskets had a few different things in them than others, but there were some basic items that everyone received. These were onions, garlic, summer squash, a quart of tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, chard, apples, kale, and basil. Beyond that you will have received some of the following: beans, eggplant, potatoes, kohlrabi, beets and likely some other things too.
The summer squash is coming on strong right now.
One good idea to use it up and enjoy it at the same time is to roast it.
Cut it up into chunks, chop up some garlic and add, coat it lightly with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and pop it in a roasting pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Sometimes I'll add some herbs to this too...basils is always nice.
Our new friend at Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen

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