harvests

Food preservation – quick option

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Cherries

We are grateful to have a tomato crop this season. The past two years, our plants have succumbed to blight. This season, the plants still had to content with excessive moisture, but they have yielded some delicious fruits despite the wet weather.

With the summer season winding down, it is time to be sure to preserve some crops for winter enjoyment. Winter is prime time for soups, stews and chilis, so having some tomatoes on hand is a plus.

We have a Foodsaver vacuum sealer. This affordable appliance is great for packaging items (such as tomatoes) for the freezer. You certainly can use Ziplock freezer bags…just be sure to get as much air out as possible to limit freezer burn and loss of quality.

Vacuum sealing tomatoes

Vacuum sealing tomatoes

Vacuum sealing helps to prevent freezer burn and rapid degradation of flavor and quality. To package the tomatoes, I just put whole fruits in the bag! It’s just that simple.

Sealing

Sealing

I do not blanch, core or remove skins. This winter, when I thaw these tomatoes, they will resemble stewed fruits. Their skins easily will come right off! No fuss or muss. It’s perfect for cooking.

If you’ve space in your freezer, freezing tomatoes is a quick food preservation alternative to canning.

Ready for the freezer

Ready for the freezer

 

Farm update

What a busy weekend. We’ve taken on a Saturday market in Pearisburg, VA which reduces our time to devote to garden chores to mainly Sunday. Hours of weed whacking and mowing later, I’ve some crop updates to provide…

The weed pressure this season is nearly overwhelming. For certain, it is frustrating to me to fail to stay on top of things. Likewise, the major rains in June and early July prohibited many of our succession plantings. What does it all mean?

Well, here is the so-so news:

  • Our crop of red onions is pretty much a loss due to extreme competition with weeds. I will start bringing some to markets, but the bulbs will be small.
  • Our offerings of carrots may be compromised as well. I have yet to plant my last row. Our main crop accidentally got tilled under. Our only growing row of carrots is very weedy. I hope we have some for you (and some fall ones for us to overwinter) come September.
  • I missed my planting window for fall potatoes. Will put some in the ground this week and hope they have time to develop.
  • I did not plant successions of squashes or cucumbers. That means we have few plants in the ground. These offerings will be less than in years past. If I can, I will plant some seeds this week and see if we can squeeze in some late offerings.
  • I will have a gap in my lettuce production again this year. I hope to have loose leaf lettuce this week, possibly into next week.
  • Cabbage worms and harlequin bugs abound. The kales are going strong, but you will start to notice some imperfections. That is except for the “Redbor” variety…my new favorite. Not only a stunningly beautiful plant and leaf (dark green/purple frilly leaves with purple veins), this kale seems to thumb its nose at bugs.

The good news:

  • It has been fairly sunny, hot and dry these couple of weeks. We hope that our tomato plants that are loaded with green tomatoes decides it is a good time to have them turn red! our cherry tomatoes are going strong as are our yellow “Taxi” tomatoes. Still waiting for some red slicers, though.
  • Our beans are producing great. There is a little bean beetle presence, but the plants, overall, are healthy and productive. I need to get some canning done!
  • Our corn is tasseling now. May be some sweet corn is in our future, too!
  • Golden and red beets are coming along. I hope to get those rows weeded ASAP so the plants will get some sun and fill out more.

We are working as hard as we can to keep things going. Each season is different, which keeps it all challenging AND interesting.

Still, you got to be able to catch your breath and enjoy what’s around you…like a lovely sunset after a hard day’s work!

Gratuitous sunset photo

Gratuitous sunset photo

Mountains of Music celebration

Today’s market (June 16th) in Pulaski features a free concert as a part of the Mountains of Music Homecoming. What a good night to come out to the Marketplace and visit the many local vendors in your community!

The Marketplace, Pulaski

The Marketplace, Pulaski

We hope to see you there!

We’ll be harvesting the following items for market: arugula, collard greens, head lettuces, loose leaf lettuces, kales, Nappa cabbages, perpetual spinach, radishes, salad turnips, Swiss chard and some herbs.

 

Harvest photos

I had posted these photos on Facebook and am reposting them here…well, because not everyone partakes of FB.

Here are some photos from yesterday’s harvest:

The largest potato I have EVER harvested!!!

The largest potato I have EVER harvested!!!

I could live off of this Kennebec potato for a week. Wait. Who am I kidding? I’d eat it all in one sitting, luscious baked potato with diced onion, shredded cheese and sour cream. I’m an eater. I’d eat the whole dang thing.

Colorful cherries

Colorful cherries

Just love the vibrant colors!!!! They taste good, too.

First corn harvest

First corn harvest