Sunday, August 21, 2011

Week of August 8 2011 : Geauga!

Here is yet another photo of our sweet corn. BUT this week was a special week for two reasons. First, at the Lake Farmparks Farmers' Market, we presented a talk named "No Butter Needed" and answered any questions related to growing and buying sweet corn. Second, at the Geauga Fresh Farmers' Market we participated in the market's Corn Celebration. Not as spectators but as vendors! For us to finally participate in the market is gratifying. And to bring one of our best stands to sell at the well publicized event was very special.

While preparing for "No Butter Needed" I relived all the early child hood memories that have shaped my views of farming and market stands. A common memory plays out like this.

My dad and I were out running various weekend errands when he would spot a road side stand selling sweet corn. We would stop and ask a few questions: what color of kernels, when was it picked, and how much for a dozen. Sometimes we walked away with a dozen and sometimes without a dozen. I never really understood the decision process because the answers were always the same (yellow, this morning, too much).

But what I really, really never understood was what happened after we did buy that perfect dozen. We hurried home, immediately boiled some water and cooked the ears as soon as possible. But we did not eat just yet. First we rolled them in butter then sprinkled them with salt. Then we ate the corn and commented how wonderful it was.

That was the bizarre, confusing moment. What was flavorful, the sweet corn or the butter and salt?

So, as a grower, I vow to grow corn so flavorful that no butter is needed.

Finally, one of our watermelons appeared in a photo in a blog post reviewing the Geauga market:

So cool ... even if you have to scroll all the way to the very last photo.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Week of August 1 2011 : Oops.

Here is a photo of the first wave of broccoli and cabbage. I field set the third and final wave transplants this week ... the temperatures were in the upper 80s and humidity even higher. So it seemed ironic to be working cool weather crops.

The cabbage is mostly heat resistant. Well formed heads will set and the flavor is not affected. However, let's just say, the outer leaves dont present the best appearance. The broccoli is not heat resistant. The plants look fantastic but well formed heads are not possible. The florets are very sparse then immediate shoot up to seed.

Hopefully the intense heat subsides and we can bring the perfect crop to market.

The beets and carrots are a very different story. We make no effort to get to early spring market; we focus on summer and fall market. So I planted the beets and carrots later in the season to time harvest beginning in September. Unfortunately the planting coincided with dry and hot weather. In my attempts to thwart these forces I covered the soil with white row covers.

The theory is good however I neglected to leave an air cushion between the soil and row covers. Instead of shading and cooling the soil I inadvertently warmed it. Cooked is a better term. I measured the soil temperature at 125*