The dreaded late blight has made it’s way to Blooming Glen Farm, and rather rapidly moved like wildfire through the beautiful cherry tomatoes and field tomatoes. All told we were lucky this season. Some of you may remember the first year late blight caused a real problem in this area of the country- it is a funguslike pathogen that also targets potatoes (it was responsible for the infamous Irish potato famines in the mid 1800’s), and is exacerbated by wet conditions. It is a real issue for organic farmers who don’t have the arsenal of preventative chemicals and fungicides that conventional growers use. In 2009, we didn’t have a single harvestable field tomato, and we watched in agony as the plants turned black and the fruit rotted on the vine in a matter of days. This season’s dry weather kept the late blight at bay, and I think overall we have had many weeks of bountiful tomatoes. We do have a later planting in a field about a mile from here. We are hoping they will be red and ready to harvest soon, before they too succombe to the disease.
Meanwhile, the farm crew is busy getting the last late season plantings into the fields- arugula, kohlrabi, bok choy, more rotations of broccoli, fennel and head lettuce. Plantings of purple-top turnips, watermelon radishes and daikon radishes have all been thinned. We are very excited to be growing brussel sprouts this season, for the first time ever. The plants look amazing, so we are hopeful all will go well with them. Our first planting of broccoli already has ping-pong ball sized heads- a few more weeks to go until they hit your dinner plates!
You may have noticed that the fall greens are starting to make their way back into the share and into the markets. We are excited to be growing collard greens again after taking a few years off. We hope you’ll enjoy them, as well as the kale and swiss chard. To help you prepare for the return of greens, we will be hosting a class at the farm focused specifically on greens. On Wednesday, September 26th, from 7-8:30 pm, Patti Lombardi, nutrition coach, will give a hands-on demonstration on a variety of ways to add greens to your diet. You will get to taste and enjoy a number of dishes featuring seasonal greens, and leave with helpful handouts and recipes. The cost of this class is $20. Email Patti to pre-register!
Photos and text by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.