Update for week of August 20th and 24th

Dear CSA members,

Tomatoes are ripening quickly now. Some of them are not the prettiest, but we on the farm look at produce differently. How does it taste? Many of the fruits have green shoulders and some have splitting as a consequence of the heavy July rain. It seems like in the quest for the perfect looking and shipping tomato, plant breeders lost some of the flavor (an interesting piece on it here). Perfect looking produce often comes at a consequence. Another question to consider is how much spraying is required to achieve this perfection? Where was it shipped from? How long it has been stored for matters when it comes to flavor. If it tastes better than what you get at the supermarket maybe beauty need to be defined differently.

We constantly evaluate our produce and determine whether or not it is suitable for shares. Our kale has suffered from the worst case of flea beetles we have ever seen. In a ‘normal’ year mature kale plants hardly show any damage, except for a few holes. This year the leaves look like lace work. One variety Toscano, the damage is bad and for the other variety, Red Russian the it is even worse. We have Swiss Chard, so you are getting Swiss Chard for greens now. We tried the organic certified spray, spinosad (isolated from bacteria) and it knocks down the flea beetles. The problem is that you have to spray frequently and it toxic to beneficial insects too (like bees). Flea beetles die off soon, so you will see kale again in shares soon even if we don’t spray anymore. Is it worth spraying?

Food for thought.