CSA shareholders have likely noticed that you aren’t being overwhelmed by summer squash like in past years, but have perhaps hit peak cucumber. ;) The yields from the farm vary from year to year, and those of you who have been a part of our farm-fandom for a while have probably noticed that our CSA/market offerings vary over time. Some of this is because we plant different things each year – according to our preferences and your insights from surveys and conversations at the market – but often we don’t know exactly why the yields are what they are.
This year, for example, is pretty close to a summer squash crop failure on our farm. Who has ever heard of an underwhelming zucchini plant? – we haven’t! ;) The plants are eeeking out enough fruit to distribute in shares & markets here and there, but they are slower and not as healthy as past years. But why then are their next door neighbors, the cucumbers, going gangbusters? Same moisture, same soil, similar planting date, but a totally different yield. I think trying to figure out the rhyme or reason to these variations is almost impossible and speaks to why diversity is key to resiliency. Weather, pesty bugs, disease, pollinator populations at time of flowering, access to airflow – these all contribute to a healthy yield and a farmer can never anticipate all the variables. Farming has taught me to stop being a perfectionist, because it shoves the reality of never being able to be in control right into your face – daily.
While we are being honest about crop disappointments, I might as well mention eggplant, too. No glorious piles of purple perfection this year! Our eggplant plants are 6 inches tall and really rocking the lace fashion this year, being completely defoliated by flea beetles for the first time in Regenerative Roots’ six years (yes, this is our sixth year!). They still are producing a couple fruits, though; it never ceases to amaze me how plants try to fruit even in the hardest of situations! I am sorely disappointed as eggplant are MY favorite vegetable, but I know many people groan at the sight of them and may benefit by having more tomatoes & peppers this year… But if anyone is interested in bartering for their eggplant, I am in the market!
Ebb & flow – it’s what keeps farming interesting – you never know what to expect next!
Over and out for now!
~Anne, August 15th, 2017