Sunday, August 16, 2015

Good stuff at My Happy Arces, August 2015

Late summer is a very busy time on the farm.  The apples are nearing the time to be picked.  The Blackberries are ripening.  The vegetables are at peak, looking good, and tasting like heaven! So let's take a walk:
 Mild, warm days have been perfect for our little orchard.  Although we culled heavily in late Spring, the trees are now heavy with fruit.  If conditions continue to be pleasant, we can safely assume that, come October, we will have a nice variety of apples to offer our customers.
Aren't these beautiful?
Speaking of beautiful, this is the first year we have been able to successfully bring cauliflower to full maturity.  As much as I'd like to say that it's due to the right seeds and careful management, I can only give full credit to following the instructions that were given to me by an elderly farmer I know.  The elderly have a lifetime of experience.  If one is respectful and patient, it's amazing what one can learn.  In this case, I learned why my broccoli and cauliflower bolted or just plain failed to thrive.

Members of the cabbage family are mostly cool weather plants.  They don't like the hot weather.  They don't like getting their roots too warm.  They don't like dry conditions.  His instructions were simple: water in the early morning and shade them when the temps are going over 90f.  That's it?  Water and shade?  No special compost mix/fertilizer/special cauliflower frisky blend?  nope.  keep em watered.  Keep em cool.
Isn't this pretty?  Most of the cauliflower heads are about these size of a soccer ball.  Although they are the color of good cheddar cheese, they still taste like cauliflower yet have a milder flavor than the white variety.  We like them.  It adds a nice splash of color to the salad or vegetable dish.
Summer is a wonderful time to try new things.  When visiting your local farmers' market or farm stand, taste and try new varieties of the foods you love.  Like tomatoes?  Try some low acid yellow tomatoes, or try a new variety of cherry tomato.  Some are sweet.   Some are tart.  Tomatoes come in a variety of colors, not just that slightly washed out red color that grocery store tomatoes all seem to have.  They also come in a variety of flavors.  Try something new today!

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