Note: We do not offer PYO berries at this time. (2015)
Last year our strawberry field was "open to pickers dawn till dusk". This June, we have had to close the field by noon or earlier because of all the traffic we have had. Obviously, the weather is the major contrast: with bright warm days the berries ripen well and with so many enthusiastic pickers, berries are less likely to rot in the field. We are grateful for the many pickers in the field and for the bonus of closing the field to pickers in the afternoon to let the fruit ripen-- and allow us to visit the beach!There has also been a flurry of news stories about organic strawberries and the "dirty dozen" of conventional agriculture. Sunday morning our neighbor who came to pick told us of an NPR story about methyl iodide-- the soil fumigant used in some conventional production. This led us into a conversation about the erosion of trust in our society, and the motivator of fear for consumers.
Many folks came out this past week with strong support for our certified organic strawberries. That is wonderful to see, but I could not help but acknowledge the over simplification of the discussion. In many ways a Pick-Your-Own farm (as well as a CSA farm) has less relevance to this "Trust" issue. A label like "Organic" offers trust by proxy-- because farms are inspected regularly and follow traceable practices. With supermarket purchases, the organic label is very important. But wherever possible consumers should develop direct relationships with their producers-- as ask them, point-blank, how do they grow the food you buy. These questions, at the very least will get conventional farmers thinking about the importance of low impact approaches to production, and at most will be an education for the consumer too.
So the picking is going very well in our tiny half-acre field. We reserve about a third of the field on Tuesdays and Fridays for the CSA. With some luck we will pick for another week and a half before the field slows down.
Stacy had some time this morning to photograph one of our swallow nest boxes...
A deft landing:
Checking in on the kids:
And back to the strawberry field. That sounds familiar.This week's harvest:
Don't let this cabbage scare you! We distributed Pac Choi last week to work you up to this one, which admittedly can darken the lamps in your refrigerator! You can always take the outter leaves off to a point that it starts to look like a friendly supermarket cabbage, but we like to leave as many on there so that if you want that green, you can have it.
Some beets are ready thanks to some early transplanting. We were going to offer only the greens because people (Mainers especially, I'd say) seem to have such an affinity for them aside from the actual beet. So if you want two dishes out of them, by all means, use the greens first, then eat the beets. Otherwise, both cooked up together make such a delicious simple side vegetable. My favorite includes a little creamy cheesy sauce.
We will not be harvesting flowers for the flower shares this week as we need to let the annuals start to bloom.
Remember to join us this Friday, June 25th, for our movie debut and to show support for the work of Maine Farmland Trust at The Strand Theatre in Rockland.
Blessings on the Meal,