Melon Mania

This will probably be the last week for the luscious Ambrosia melons. But have no fear, the French are on the way. Charentais and Petit Gris de Rennes melons will be showing their faces next week and the San Juan, Wrangler and Zatta melons are going strong. We have some Cranes still ripening on the first planting and the second row is beginning to show signs of ripening. And as always we will have our Sugar Baby, Sunshine and Little Baby Flower watermelons. Maybe a New Orchid or two as well. Watch for them at the farmers markets. Get there early if you want Crane melons or Sunshine watermelons, they are very popular. Tastes will be available for most of the melons. The sweet, dog days of summer! Get them before they are gone.photo

Tomatoes and Blossoms

For all our customers who have been anticipating the return of our delicious, vine-ripened, heirloom tomatoes, they are beginning! This year we reduced the plantings in the hoop house to make way for early cucumbers, zucchini and beans so the tomatoes we are getting now are a week or two later. The hoop house plantings are mainly Early Girls, Big Beef, Brandywine and Mortgage Lifter which produce later than our favorite, Stupice. Anticipate the appearance of Stupice and cherry tomatoes at the markets in two to three weeks from now.

Squash blossoms are on their way, too.  The trombetta squash, in addition to producing amazingly delicious squash, remeniscent of artichoke hearts, is producing an abundance of large, male blossoms for harvest. Limited supplies will be available at the Petaluma, Fairfax and Santa Rosa markets. Get there early!

Couples at work together

IMG_4537Janet dentistry Recently the Santa Rosa Press Democrat featured an article about couples working together. Reporter Diane Peterson interviewed one of our fellow vendors from the West End Farmers Market in Santa Rosa and his wife. The discussion in the article was how couples are able to work together and the challenges and rewards that presents.

Corrie and Janet have worked together for over 30 years of their 35 year marriage. Starting in about 1985 Janet joined the dental practice that Corrie started as the only dental hygienist. Together they worked as partners in the practice, each bringing their skills and special talents to the enterprise while raising their three children, leading 4-H groups, coaching high school and travel softball and , of course, farming.

When Corrie sold the dental practice in 2008 Janet continued on part time as a hygienist to ease the transition. In 2010 they sold their 1120 acre almond, walnut and prune ranch in Tehama county and began farming their Sonoma County property full time.

The skills they had learned in the dental office have held them in good stead in the world of farming and farmers markets. The ability to communicate with customers, deal with sometimes demanding people and work together with each one specializing in an area of the operation, trusting the other to do their job well, are all skills they used in the dental office. They use their experience with infection control in their office every day as they oversee food safety on the farm. Planning and record keeping also are essential in both endeavors.

Both Corrie and Janet earned biochemistry degrees from UC Davis and bring their scientific backgrounds to problem solving on the farm. Long years of dealing with pests on a large farm have taught them that staying ahead of the problem is important. Using organic techniques requires careful observation and encouraging the balance in the natural world to keep pests and diseases from getting out of control. Similar to dentistry, prevention is key. Strengthening plants so they can resist diseases and pests is somewhat akin to prevention in dentistry.

Celery salad

Who needs lettuce?
Who needs lettuce?

This crisp, succulent salad was made with fresh ingredients from the farm. Celery with some of the leaves adds a slight bitter-sweet taste. Add to that the savory spring onions, peppery radishes and sweet carrots and top with a green garlic vinaigrette and you have a wonderful salad. Who needs lettuce? Our supply of celery and radishes are running low, get them now before they’re gone!

What do I do with…?

quinceAs many of you have discovered we are now featuring fall produce from both my sister’s farm in the foothills, Burgeson Family Farm, and from our farm. My sister, Dayna, and her husband, Adrian, grow wonderful Satsuma mandarins which will be here before Thanksgiving but they also grow a variety of citrus and unusual fruits. This week we have; Kaffir limes, Bearss limes, key limes, quince, Fuyu persimmons and pomegranates from their farm.

We have tomatoes, tomatillos, melons, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, potimarron squash, sucrine du berry squash, golden and green acorn squash, baby blue hubbard squash, New England pie pumpkins, Jack-o-lantern pumpkins, Tuscan (dinosaur) kale, Winterbor kale, Portugese Trochunda kale, Swiss chard, Marvielle de 4 seasons lettuce, Gentelina lettuce, a small amount of summer squash including Trombetta de Albenga and eggs from our small flock of pasture raised, organically fed chickens.

So what do you do with…Quince

Leave it to Martha Stewart to come up with a seasonal produce guide with not only quince recipes but recipes for persimmons, pomegranates, pumpkins and more. Here is the link: http://www.marthastewart.com/274208/quince-recipes/@center/276955/seasonal-produce-recipe-guide

 

Fall is here, oh no!

With the official start of fall we are finding ourselves frantically transitioning to the next crops. As we plant starts of onions, broccoli, lettuce, leeks, cabbage, etc. we are harvesting the last of the melons, tomatoes and squash. Our new melons this week include the last planting of Petit Gris de Rennes and Charentais. We will also have the first of the Amarillo Oro and Rugosa di Consenza melons, bright yellow melons with sweet, white flesh. Our winter squash is almost ready. See you at the last Fairfax Market of the season tonight. image

Sonoma County Fresh Produce and Honey