What's in the Box?
Notes From the Field
Welcome to week 7 of your CSA; we hope you enjoy your selection of veggies this week as we continue on through our summer bounty! This week is our first cabbage harvest, and soon we'll be including some other delicious brassica crops.
Along with our plethora of tasty vegetables, these warm summer days bring out many insects and other critters on the farm, some friendly, and some not so much. One of the most important aspects of farming within a regenerative and sustainable framework is the monitoring and control of insects that will damage our crops, and managing them in an ecologically responsible way. While each season varies in terms of pest pressure, we try our best to stay ahead of the curve and take preventative measures to deter and keep out the critters that find our crops as tasty as we do! If you've been out to the farm before, you may have seen long white pieces of fabric laying on top of some of the beds; while theses “frost fabrics” serve several purposes, one of them is to exclude certain insects from eating our leafy brassica crops, which include the braising mix, baby arugula, and baby kale.
Our newest addition to our management strategy is beneficial insects! Last week, we released hundreds of lady bugs into our large greenhouse—where all of your summer fruits are being grown—in order to eat the aphids (small green insects that damage the leaf and stem tissues of the plants) that inevitably show up every year. In addition, we released lacewing eggs, which will eventually hatch and also act as predatory that will eat the pest insects, without damaging our crops. While beneficial insects may never eat every single aphid, they reduce the pest pressure and may help our other management strategies become more effective.
As the season goes by, we will face other pest challenges, and will continue to keep you updated on our progress! If you have any other questions about pest management at the North Farm, or other topics you're curious about, feel free to drop us a line in the survey at the bottom of the page. Enjoy this week's share, and we'll have plenty of more delicious produce for you next week!
The North Farm Assistant Production Manager
Recipes and Resources
Tomatoes are perhaps one of the most coveted summer crops, and there are almost too many varieties to count! This summer, we have a few larger slicing tomatoes that you'll come across in your CSA box, but where we really shine is with our cherries and grapes With 12 different varieties, we've got a little of every color and flavor. Some of them you may be familiar with, like the super sweet Sun Gold (the orange-yellow cherry), while others may be entirely new, like the Indigo Kumquat (the ovular purple and orange grape).
One of my new favorites for the 2017 growing season is the Sungreen Garden, the perhaps misplaced-looking green cherry tomato in your pint. While most tomatoes turn from green to red, yellow, or purple, this cherry turns ripe with only a slight yellowish blush forming on the bottom of the fruit. Bite into one of these, and I hope their sweet flavor puts them at the top of your list as well! Enjoy these summer beauties in a salad, with your favorite dip, or in your palm! .
Try them out and see if you have any favorites. If you think there are some great (or not so great) ones, feel free to let us know - there is the button at the bottom of this post where you can provide feedback.
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The North Farm is a research, education, and production farm located in the central Upper Peninsula.