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Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

Feeling ambitious?

“A tomato may be a fruit, but it is a singular fruit. A savory fruit. A fruit that has ambitions far beyond the ambitions of other fruits.” ~ E. Lockhart

We have canning tomatoes! Red and gold Roma-type; low moisture varieties perfect for cooking down into sauce, dehydrating, or making salsa.

On sale for $30 per half bushel (about 20 pounds) or $55 for a full bushel, if picked up at the farm. Please contact me to order or get more information.

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As usual, I’ve not quite finished transplanting the “hot crops” — tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn, melons, cukes, eggplant — and it’s time to start CSA share distributions. All that’s left is transplanting the eggplant into the hoophouse; I couldn’t do that until the peppers were out of the way. We have some sweet corn to transplant, too, but other than lettuce and some Brassicas, we’re getting close to done with transplanting!

I know I shouldn’t take photos on dreary days, but that seems to be when I have time to do so. I did get a few pics of our tomato plants before heavy winds and rain turned them into some pretty sad-looking specimens. It seems like every year, no matter when I transplant the tomatoes, there’s a big storm shortly thereafter. This year’s field tomato plants were not spared a rude introduction to the open air, but I’m hopeful that they’ll prove to be as resilient as the tomatoes have been every other year.

The hoophouse tomatoes are putting on some healthy new growth, the onions look pretty good, and everything else is perking along, albeit slower than I’d like. I’m thankful we had a few sunny days last week in which we got a lot done. Maybe now that it’s officially summer, there’ll be more sun?!?

On Saturday, I treated the piggies to some stale nuts my mom found in her cupboard — I think they like ’em. The pigs kept chewing on videographer Elden’s boots (they might like shoes and boots almost as much as nuts), so I kept trying to distract them while focusing on not getting my hands bitten off. (There probably should be one of those “Do not try this at home” warnings on this video.) I should also note that yes, I was wearing my winter hat on June 20, because that’s how cold the wind was in the fields here.

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Cherry Pickin’

My parents visited last week and helped me pick cherry tomatoes twice, among other things. I’m glad I planted so many Sun Gold because they’re really good, but they’re sure a pain to pick and pack.

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The deer have been eating some of our cucumbers, which didn’t concern me too terribly much since the cukes are pretty prolific, but now they’re eating our punkins! I’ll probably have to make some fence tomorrow to SOS — Save Our Squash. I thought I would be able to get away with having the cucurbits unfenced this year, since my across-the-road neighbors do, but then again their fields aren’t right next to dense woods, either.

Elden has been faithfully chipping away at our building projects on weekends and has the front of the quonset building almost done, by my estimation anyway. It seems like he’ll for sure be able to get the thing buttoned up for winter, and perhaps a little work done on the inside, too. I am not much help, unfortunately, as I’m all thumbs with any kind of power tool and pretty busy in the field, anyway.

My friend Jacob stopped by the other day and saw this 2-pound tomato sitting on the counter and said, “What’s THIS?” As I explained, it was my prize tomato out of the greenhouse, a Big Beef I believe. I brought it home for a few days to admire, then eventually gifted it to my neighbors Randy and Kathy Wolf, who supplied our compost this year. It seemed appropriate.

The Sun Jewel melons that did so well last year might surprise me and produce something edible this year. I was sure they wouldn’t make it to maturity last year, but they did, so I’m not counting them out entirely even though the fruit is still tiny right now.

Finally, the “horsetail” weeds that are so prolific at Stone’s Throw Farm are maddening, but I have to admit they’re pretty covered with morning dew.

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My parents, Jean and Craig, shown here loading one of the last boxes of green tomatoes into the van on Saturday (and fighting over how to hold it? Okay, okay, it was a posed shot.), arrived Wednesday evening and endured two days of “cold” rain before finally getting a sunny day on Saturday. I put “cold” in quotation marks because it’s all relative and I’m very aware that it will soon be much colder than 50 degrees. It was certainly cold weather in which to be working outside when your coveralls are soaked through, however, which happened to my parents on Thursday. I was at work at the Food Farm and they were hard at work at Stone’s Throw Farm when it started raining for real. I could say something about rain gear being available, but I won’t!

We harvested about 200 pounds of green tomatoes, I’m guessing. Nice big San Marzano Romas — a shame they didn’t have time to ripen. It was worth a shot, I guess, but I’ll be trying some other varieties next year. My dad wanted to harvest all the green tomatoes, even the one with “blem-o’s,” — as my parents kept referring to bad spots, or blemishes — but I wouldn’t let him. I’d rather have them rot right there in the field than in boxes in the hoophouse!

I’m glad we at least had one nice day together, and it was great to have their help getting ready for the first frost Saturday night. My mom picked the last of the basil for me (it is now pesto in the freezer) and my dad helped me create an action plan for replacing the starter on the tractor, which burned up Saturday afternoon — quite timely, considering I wouldn’t have had a clue what was wrong if he hadn’t been there. We also pulled the squash and melon plants and the black plastic mulch that was covering those beds, so that’s a good job done.

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Thanks to everyone who stopped by the Stone’s Throw Farm booth at the SFA’s Harvest Festival on Saturday. Thanks especially to those who bought my green tomatoes! Dave Hanlon is the one who suggested I bring them, and I guess it was a good idea. I certainly have plenty of them, unfortunately.

I forgot to ask Elden to take a photo of me peddling veg, but here’s what our table looked like, at least. Everyone loved the heart-shaped potato (not that uncommon, actually) and big Jarrahdale pumpkin I brought for display. The most common question I received after I brought out the pumpkin (until I sold a bunch of veggies, there wasn’t room for it on the table) was, “Is that a pumpkin or a squash?” Of course, a pumpkin is a squash, so I could simply answer, “yes!” Many people also asked if it was a Blue Hubbard squash. Only Bianca said — joyfully — “A Jarrahdale!”

The pink stuffed pig that Diane gave me for Christmas last year was also much admired, of course. A couple of people asked me how much it was — implying they might want to buy it — but I told them it wasn’t for sale. Elden and I refer to it as “the huggin’ pig” because it’s so soft and huggable, and I’m going to need some consoling after my real pigs meet their destiny on Tuesday.

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I helped pick canning tomatoes at the Food Farm the other day, and there were oodles of tomatoes that had been chewed on by mice or other pests. Too bad, but good for my piggies — I gathered up 2/3 of a bucket of cast-off tomatoes and brought them home for the pigs.

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First Ripe Tomato!

The variety is Moskvich, an heirloom, it came out of the hoophouse, and it tasted wonderful. Soon there’ll be enough ripe tomatoes to send to the farm members. Until then, I guess I’ll just have to eat any other early birds myself!

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Yesterday I saw two little snakes at the farm. One was in a pile of scrap wood and one was on my compost pile, which is mostly leaves from last fall. I know the one on the compost pile was a redbelly snake. The other one might have been a redbelly, too, and I just didn’t see its underside.

Other things seen around the farm:

Our new (old) metal toolshed, purchased from Mary on craigslist and reassembled at the farm on Saturday. 

 The first tomato blossoms, on a cherry tomato plant.

The early cauliflower and cabbage, looking pretty happy in the field. I was so disgusted that we didn’t get any rain yesterday that finally I decided to do some hoeing, so I briefly peeled back the row cover.

A nice crop of dandelions.

The potatoes and carrots are in the ground, so I hope Wrenshall township got the same rain last night that I see puddled outside my window in Duluth!

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