By Jackson Yow, Assistant Farm Manager
Drought-relieving rainfall, tornadoes, heat-waves, and poor air quality? Julyin’! The Green Earth crew has been riding the weather-waves all season long. Drought or downpour, the work has continued. I hope you all are as happy with the results as I am!
The month of July is an especially pivotal one for Green Earth and farmers everywhere. Harvesting spring and summer crops is the top priority; however, we also plant and seed most of our fall crops this month. Just yesterday, we both harvested and seeded beets. For those of you who shareholders and farm stand visitors who enjoyed our bunched rainbow beets, they will be back in the fall, along with the inspiration for their introduction- rainbow carrots. Keeping them company in our newly-seeded fall roots field are orange carrots, red beets, purple-top turnips, daikon radish, shunkyo radish, and rutabaga. Elsewhere on the farm, fall brassicas like kale, cabbage, etc. are making their way into our soil. Simultaneously, we are bringing in hefty harvests from our spring brassica crops.
The most notable spring brassica this year, in my opinion, is undoubtedly the cabbage. Sorry LL Cool J, but I’m calling it a comeback. Brassicas are generally cold hardy, but recent transplants are particularly vulnerable to environmental stressors, including low temperatures. Soon after being transplanted back in April, night temperatures dipped far lower than forecasted and virtually our entire cabbage crop was reduced to what most would call compost. These young cabbages, however, slowly but surely began to show new growth. May came and flea beetles showed up in droves, but we were able to control pests, cultivate, and irrigate effectively enough throughout the spring to help the crop bounce back in a big way. Now in July, seeing bulk bins full of cabbage command space in our cooler, I can’t help but be proud of this come-back crop.
It wouldn’t be a Jackson Yow article if I left out one thing… hot peppers! 9 varieties will be available throughout the course of the season, including a new addition- Shishito. Their solanaceous friends are looking great, as well. Our eggplant is beginning to produce more and more, while sweet peppers and tomatoes are slowly maturing and on the cusp of being ready to pick.
When I think about what we do, the immediately obvious answer is “grow organic vegetables”. While it is easy for me to hyper-focus on the produce, there is much more going on at the farm. Being a shareholder here gives you access to the experience of U-pick with your family, eating pizza while listening to live music, opportunities to connect with your farmers and your neighbors, and ultimately be a part of something that transcends us as individuals- community. All of this in one place? Julyin’! Agriculture can be a platform, and food can be a vehicle that drives us closer together. I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of the special events and opportunities that Green Earth and TCF as a whole offer. If you see me boogie-ing at a “Music on the Farm” night, don’t hesitate to join in.
- Farmer Jackson