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Farm Report – February 23, 2015

Farm Report – February 23, 2015

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Week of February 23, 2015

Abbreviated Weekly Farm Report

From Friendship Farms & Fare

http://www.fffsite.org/

A Community Service To the Local Farming Community

For the full Farm Report, go to:

http://www.fffsite.org/

Planting & Harvest Notes

Winter Seeding and Garden Starts This Week

Seedings: None this week

Garden Starts: none

Harvest Notes:  herbs, arugula, eggplant, collards, kale, swiss chard, loquats, kumquats, broccoli

Freeze Hits Farms

Limited Damage

Most Tomatoes and Eggplants lost or injured

We thought we were going to avoid the freeze that covered most of the state on Thursday night into Friday morning (2/19-20). Not quite! It is likely the south farm reached 32 degrees around 4:00 AM on Friday morning and the north farm reached it around 5:00 AM. The last reading we had for the north farm was 33 degrees at 4:30 AM.

 

There was no ice on the ponds or birdbaths, but leaves were freeze-burnt on eggplants and tomatoes. We will probably lose half the tomatoes and half the eggplants. The eggplants, of course, have been living on borrowed time – being a summer crop. Some will probably survive, judging from the undamaged lower leaves on several plants. The tomatoes are those young plants we took a chance on back in the fall. Most had fruit. Some appear not to have been damaged at all, and will probably survive. Okinawa

 

Back to Market Off Main

Finding the Best Organic Kale

Please check local first

Turns out, our cooperative experiment with Market Off Main was successful, with the Market reporting sale of all our items – collards, kale, swiss chard, and arugula.

 

We delivered another share this week, adding broccoli to the mix.

 

The impetus for the experiment was finding chopped organic kale in 12 oz bags and (this week) 5 oz plastic shells at a corporate grocer for $4.99 and $4.39, respectively. The kale was shipped in from Salinas, California, and had nice bright packaging with plenty of multicolor inks for eye appeal on logo and lettering.

 

So, we hustled up a few bags of our own 3F kale, and dropped them off at the Market Off Main, our local fresh produce market. Our kale had full leaves, was unchopped, used 2,300 fewer food miles, was fresher by at least two days, did not exploit any laborers, and used no industrial farm equipment in the harvesting — and at $5.oo for a pound it was cheaper than the stuff shipped across the continent.

 

We did the same thing with our collards and swiss chard – and this week added broccoli and arugula. We found no organic collards or swiss chard at commercial grocers – but there are now plenty at Market Off Main in New Port Richey. 

Broccoli: Nearing Peak

134 heads harvested, so far

We topped out at 228 broccoli planted this season.

 

We harvested over 43 heads this week, for a total of 134 heads so far this season. Last year, our harvest totaled 164. As the season continues, readers will notice that the total number of heads will far exceed the number of plants planted. This is because Calabrese (our famous heirloom!) produces secondary and sometimes tertiary heads.

 

There are probably another 30 good-sized heads in the gardens, and another 50 plants yet to produce any heads. The cooler temperatures are accelerating the development of heads. Paradoxically, the warm spells have caused some broccoli to flower.

Garden Overview

Winter Harvests

(additional details and assessments follows)

 

If anyone would like to come by the farm, extra large shares are available. Bring bags or boxes. All the winter greens are at peak (and should be through into early March). We’d love to share as much as possible. Please let us know if you’d like to stop by for an extra large share.

 

We are getting ready for spring planting, and have extra cucumber seedlings available. We still have some winter seedlings available, and if you’d like to plant some late winter greens, we have a nice collections of collards, broccoli, and a few swiss chard. We’ll share these for contributions to the farm. It is still not too late to plant winter greens, although we are getting close to the end of the planting season for winter vegetables.   We won’t be planting any more winter vegetables, and do not recommend planting any later than March 1.

 

We have good to large quantities of broccoli, arugula, collards, kale, and swiss chard. Eggplant shrubs were damaged, and there are a number of small to medium fruit on the plants. If you would like eggplant, just let us know. We’ll share all we have on a equal basis with all shares – just be aware that these may be freeze-damaged.

 

Eggplant will be FCFS.

 

See the Share Report for all items.

About half the tomatoes were damaged. Some were killed outright by the cold.

For all plantings, we use seeds from our collection or heirloom seeds from Seed Savers Exchange (http://www.seedsavers.org/).

Tree Spotting

Loquat Walk A Huge Success

We are still tabulating the totals from our Loquat Walk last Sunday (2/15), and we’re hoping for some images of the trees. All told, the spotting teams located more than 50 trees in New Port Richey’s East Madison neighborhood. The educational component of the walk was also successful, as many folks learned for the first time about the many uses of the loquat fruit (including some who learned they could actually eat the fruit).

 

Look for images in the coming weeks – and join us on April 4 for the Florida Loquat Festival.

 

See feature on the Loquat Festival later in the report. 

East Madison Growers and Friendship Farms & Fare Team Up:

New Community Garden Planned in East Madison Community

3F has teamed up with friends and supporters to develop a new community garden in the East Madison neighborhood of New Port Richey.

 

The property owner has committed to having East Madison Growers and 3F use a vacant lot for a community garden. There is still some paper work that needs to be reviewed and signed, but the project looks to be solid. We’ll have more about this exciting new development in the future Farm Reports.

Garden Overview

Winter Harvests

(additional details and assessments follows)

 

If anyone would like to come by the farm, extra large shares are available. Bring bags or boxes. All the winter greens are at peak (and should be for another couple of weeks). We’d love to share as much as possible. Please let us know if you’d like to stop by for an extra large share.

 

We are getting ready for spring planting, and have extra cucumber seedlings available. We still have some winter seedlings available, and if you’d like to plant some late winter greens, we have a nice collections of collards, broccoli, and swiss chard. We’ll share these for contributions to the farm. It is still not too late to plant, although we are getting close to the end of the planting season for winter vegetables.   We won’t be planting any more winter vegetables.

 

We have good to large quantities of broccoli, arugula, collards, kale, and swiss chard. Eggplant is still hanging on, with small fruit on the shrubs. Eggplant will be FCFS.

 

 

See the Share Report for all items.

Tomatoes continue to mature nicely.

For all plantings, we use seeds from our collection or heirloom seeds from Seed Savers Exchange (http://www.seedsavers.org/).

Broccoli

We topped out at 228 broccoli planted this season.

 

We harvested over 39 heads this week, for a total of 91 heads so far this season. As the season continues, readers will notice that the total number of heads will far exceed the number of plants planted. This is because Calabrese (our famous heirloom!) produces secondary and sometimes tertiary heads.

 

There are probably another 50 good-sized heads in the gardens, and another 50 plants yet to produce any heads. The cooler temperatures are accelerating the development of heads.

 

 

Kale

As noted in our feature, we found chopped organic kale in 12 oz bags at a corporate grocer for $4.99. It was shipped in from California.

 

So, we hustled up a few 16 oz bags of our kale, and dropped them off at the Market Off Main. Our kale had full leaves, unchopped, used 2,300 few food miles, was fresher by at least two days, did not exploit any laborers, and used no industrial farm equipment — and at $5.oo for a pound it was cheaper than the stuff shipped across the continent.

 

We did the same thing with our collards and swiss chard. We found no organic collards or swiss chard at commercial grocers – but plenty at Market Off Main.

 

We have ample shares of kale for this week. It has been a real success story for us. Our weekly kale harvests are about twice the size as last year – e.g. last year we used one gallon packing bags and this year we are using two gallon bags, and packing them rather densely.

 

Kale orders include leaves from all our varieties– Superior, Scarlet, Lacinato, Siberian, Red Russian, Halbhoher Gruner Krauser, and Dwarf Blue. The strongest of the kales is the German Kale (Halbhoher Gruner Krauser), followed by the Superior, and then Lacinato. We have an entire bed of the Halbhoher in the south garden.

The Florida Loquat Festival: Celebrating Florida’s Urban Fruit
April 4, 2015

9:00 – 2:00

Market Off Main, New Port Richey

Program Established

Nursery Selected

Dried Loquats added to product line-up – with demonstration

Mark your calendars for April 4, and join us for this one-of-a-kind event. In the meantime, please spread the word about Loquats and the event.

 

We should have information cards, and posters available in the next week or so. If you know of locations where a small number of information cards could be left or a poster put up, please let us know. We’ll share some with you.

 

We’ve just added another item to the product lineup: dried loquats. These are dehydrated version of our favorite fruit, produced using a solar powered oven by featured presenter, Jim Kovaleski, from Freedom House Farms. Jim will also demonstrate how the process works.

 

We have established the program for the festival, and to assist your planning for the day’s events, here it is:

 

Program

10:00

Welcome and Introduction, Dell deChant, Ecology Florida

followed by
The Journey of the Loquat (origins and history), Shelby Smith and Brittany Connolly

USF Religious Studies and FARM

10:30
Loquat Cultivation and Permaculture Applications

Jim Kovaleski, Freedom House Farms

11:30
Loquats in the Kitchen, Sue Andreski, Black Cat Growers Kitchen

12:30

Loquats and Culture, Dell deChant, Ecology Florida

12:50

Special Announcement: Local Economy & Local Ecology Project

Travis Morehead, Nature Coast Real Food Project

1:00

Loquat Literary Festival: “O! Loquat!” – Wendy Buffington, Facilitator

 

 

We have also selected the featured nursery for the festival – Green Plan Tree Farms in Brooksville. Green Plan does not have webpage, but here is their facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/helpafarmer

 

Although we cannot be certain, it appears that Green Plan has the largest loquat grove in this part of the state – perhaps even the largest in the entire state.

 

Travis from the Nature Coast Real Food Project and a volunteer from Friendship Farms & Fare visited with Green Plan’s proprietors (Steve and Joan Marie) last Monday (2/9), and enjoyed a tour of the grove. There are at least 200 trees in the grove, and maybe more. Green Plan will have a large number of loquat seedlings and young trees at the festival. Green Plan will also have several large trees, which are already bearing fruit.

 

Look for a feature article on this grove in the Loquat News.

 

As for the festival itself, here are some details:

 

This is a “Loquat Exclusive” event, so everything being shared (for sale, contribution, or gift) will be a loquat or loquat-derived product. We will have seeds, seedlings, young plants, several large plants, fresh fruit, jellies, jams, and pies. No citrus here. We will also have lectures and educational events on planting, cultivating and harvesting; eating, preserving, and recipes; and the history and cultural context of loquats. This year, we will have loquat literary offerings (see below).

 

Second: If you have a loquat tree that volunteers can harvest for the festival, please let us know your location (and phone number); we’ll make arrangements for the harvest in season. Getting a “stable” of trees is very important to the festival.

 

Third: Volunteer opportunities. If you would like to volunteer to assist with the event, please let us know. At present, our interest is in folks who could help with tree-spotting, and assisting with harvesting in advance of the event.

 

Fourth: This year’s festival program includes a session on loquat literature – “O! Loquat!” The program will present short literary offerings (poems, narratives, prose poems) about loquats or prominently featuring the fruit or tree. We’ll use an open mic format on the day of the event. We’re excited about this addition!  Here is a link to an announcement on the literary event: http://newsportrichey.org/2015/01/14/loquat-festival-seeks-literary-reading-submissions/

 

Loquats in the 3F Grove – Harvest Continues – 7.5 lbs total

Compared to Green Plan’s giant grove, our grove is quite tiny. We have a dozen trees, all told, five of which are producing this season – up from two last year.

 

This past week, we harvested 4 more pounds this week, and included small quantities in many shares. Be sure to order if you’d like some this week. Shares will not be large, but we should have enough for everyone to receive a few. Quantities will increase in the weeks ahead.

 

Total harvest this season: 7.5 lbs (LY 75 lbs)

 

These may be a bit tart.

 

If you have trees, check them now for your own first fruits.

 

One of the many benefits of the loquat is its long fruiting season, with fruit maturing over a four month period. We’ll harvest our first fruits in January and keep harvesting through April.

 

As noted previously, in addition to fruit, the trees are now putting forth new growth. Look for radiant virescent leaves, soft and tender to the touch, with sharp tips pointing to the heavens.

 

If you would like to order a tree for your own yard, garden, or food forest, just let us know. We have all sizes from small (1 gallon pots, 1-2 feet $10-20) to very large (5 gallon pots, 5 feet+ $50 and up).

Cucumbers

We been moving our cucumber seedlings in and out of the outside nursery. These are the Double Yields and Armenians we started two weeks ago. They can take the cold, but they do not like it much below 50. 

Community Garden Project at South Gardens

We are ready to receive applications for our community garden project. Folks interested in acquiring a plot can contact us through the 3F site. If you like to garden, or just want to learn, and don’t have space, contact us. Our rates are very low.

 

We have installed sample community garden beds. Each is (108 sq feet) 12 x 9 or 18 x 6.

 

3F Produce for non-shareholders

Non-Members may order shares for $20 per week, or $50 per month. For this amount, contributors may request any and all items they desire from the weekly Share. Although we will assist with transmissions, it is the responsibility of the contributor to make arrangements for pick up of the share.

 

As always, non-CSA Members may request single items from the share list for $5 per item. A full share for one week (any/all items) is $20, and $50 for one month. Annual shares are recommended, at $300 per year. Five-month shares are $200.

 

Just reply using the website contact link if you desire anything on the list. We suggest non-shareholders start an account to cover costs of items.

 

Time to Start Spring Seedlings

We are again reminding readers that it is time to start seeds for spring planting. Here at the farm, we’ll be starting bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and cucumbers. Not far behind will be Okra. We are loosely following the Bible for Florida Farmers, James M. Stephens, Vegetable Gardening in Florida, but also taking into consideration our local weather conditions, higher temperatures, and our experience with specific plant families and varieties within families.

 

We’ll be happy to supply you with seeds for your spring garden. Just let us know which varieties you would like, and we’ll have them available for you at Market Off Main, here at the Farm, or by mail to your home — $3.00 a packet.

The 3F Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Project

Friendship Farms & Fare operates a unique small-scale (boutique) CSA, involving few participants, and using very basic management techniques. We are 100% organic and use permacultrures principles. Our program is recommended for single persons, couples, or (at most) three-person families. The cost of a share is low by typical CSA standards: $300 per garden year (October through September). This works out to a bit less than $6.00 per week. Donations are also gratefully received, with all donations going to maintenance and improvement of the gardens and groves. 

If you are interested in any topic presented here, contact: http://www.fffsite.org/

——————————————————————————————————————–

Visit the Friendship Farms & Fare website for the Weekly Farm Report:

http://www.fffsite.org/#!report/c1tuh

 

Friendship Farms & Fare is a branch of Ecology Florida, a not-for-profit corporation. Contributions to Friendship Farms & Fare and Ecology Florida are tax deductible. To learn more about Ecology Florida, please visit the website:

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/

 

If you would like to support our mission and individual projects, you may share donations through our website (above) or at our mailing address:

Ecology Florida

PO Box 596

New Port Richey, FL 34656-0596

 

 

 

Friendship Farms & Fare reaffirms, restores, and advances agrarian ideals to reestablish a sustainable culture

http://www.fffsite.org/

 

Natural, Economic, Cultural…bringing three ecologies together to regenerate a resilient future for all.

PO Box 596 ● New Port Richey, Florida 34656-0596

www.EcologyFlorida.org

 

Ecology Florida advances the harmonious integration of healthy natural, cultural, and economic ecologies to regenerate a sustainable world

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