Friday, August 10, 2007

Getting Ready for Farmers Market Day

Friday is my get-ready-for-market day. It's usually an 18 hour day for me. I get up and take care of our Lara, make coffee, fill the water cans and then head out to the field. It is fun this time of year to go out and look for veggies big enough to cut and put in my bushel basket. Despite how dry we are here, there has been heavy dew all summer and I think that has helped the veggies some. This year is certainly better than last year when we had the drought. It is nice being outside so early in the morning and listening to the earth.

Today I had several more summer squash (Black Beauty and Golden), and I took a good look at my Sugar Loaf Delicata and Blue Ballet. I pray I can keep the deer off them. I had a nice batch of Boston Pickling cukes ready to pick, and the Australian Lemon cukes are starting to come on -- those are loaded with flowers. I was able to pick some Black Plum paste tomatoes. My first tomatoes! I am really impressed with Black Plum. It has shown itself to be very strong plant despite the dry weather. It germinated first of all my tomatoe seeds, and it is loaded with tomatoes. I have to admit that I don't think it tastes as good as Roma, but I absolutely love the color. I also thinned my white Egg Turnips and will bundle the thinnings to sell as turnip greens. That White Egg Turnip is another excellent germinator in hot weather. I am impressed again!

In the high tunnel I pulled about half the basil and planted beets and scallions in it place. I watered the new Cilantro planting and everything and checked out the melons. It looks like the only melons I may get are the Hannah's Choice. I am not sure when to pick them, and I will give them another week. I couldn't find any Charentais, Green Nutmeg, or Moon and Stars in the melon patch outside the high tunnel. I cut a bit of Italian flat leaf parsley and a good swath of Bouquet dill. I found I had a couple of Perkins Long Pod okra pods ready and I was delighted to find several Joe's Long Cayenne peppers. For some reason despite the blossoms I still have no eggplant. I wonder if they are just late in coming or if I will not get any.

By the time I finished watering the high tunnel the sun was over the trees and it was time to go back to the house and take care of Lara again. Boy, when the sun gets over the trees, it heats up fast! The morning mist disappeared in a snap. I was glad to go back to the house. It only took me a couple of hours to wash and pick through everything and make my market bundles. But with the heat and me not having a cooler to keep everything in, I don't know how much I will be able to take to market tomorrow. Last week my cucumbers turned yellow overnight. One of the women at the market (Diane from B's Flambeau Acres) who I rely on for marketing advice told me to sort my cukes by size and not to bother to bring any that turn yellow. She sure was right -- no one bought any cukes that were turning color. This woman is a real diamond -- she is generous with her help and I really appreciate it.

I wonder if anyone will buy the okra. We fried some up to try it out in a little butter with salt and pepper, and it was great! Fresh okra is not at all "slimey".

Well, it's time to lock the chickens up and take care of Lara before I take a shower and then look for some new recipes to take to market. I have a couple of older customers who come by just to get the recipes and chat. We have a lot of fun and it usually draws customers. Last week my big seller was the Samarkand garlic. And next week I should have the Hannah's Choice melons and my Stuttgart onions will be cured for two weeks. I'll check the Irish Cobbler potatoes for next week, too.

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