Eggplant is a classic summer crop—heat-loving, perfect for grilling, and very versatile in cuisines of all types. Growing them is pretty satisfying too. The large plants grow broad, overlapping leaves in a canopy to shield the fruit from the scalding sun, but that also makes the Eggplants tricky for harvesters to see.
So at harvest we move down the rows methodically, peeking into the canopy of each plant to see if any of the developing fruits are ready to pick. When we find one that’s full & heavy, we clip it off the plant, carefully avoiding the tiny thorns the plants sometimes produce on the calyx (the little green cap that Eggplants wear), and maybe admiring the smooth, glossy sheen out in the sunlight.
Though they look tough, Eggplants can bruise just like anybody else, so we treat them delicately as we pack them into the harvest crates and bring them in from the field. Just like all fresh-picked, perfectly ripe produce, Eggplant has great flavor and a tenderness we miss in off-season grocery store produce, so we savor it every year, knowing it’ll be many months before the season comes back around again.
No two days are ever the same on the farm—every day is different, no matter how familiar it feels. That’s even more true when it comes to each season. Around this time last year we were already in a level 2 drought, which is certainly not a concern this year. But dealing with the meteorological curve balls keeps the job interesting, and negotiating with the weather gods is probably the most important spiritual side hustle that farmers have.
The wet weather continues this week, though we’ll get some sun starting Wednesday, which will make our Tomato crop happy. Warm sunny days are what we need right now to push the Tomato crop all the way into ripening. Fingers crossed we get a good stretch of clear weather soon, so we can all enjoy the BLTs and Caprese salads we deserve.
Langwater Farmers Market
Our Langwater Farmers Market is now on Thursdays from 2 – 6pm for the summer season.
There are two special guests at the market this week—Swirled Sugar with delicious organic cotton candy (!) and Acentria Intensive Foster Care program, a local organization helping kids find permanent, secure & loving homes.
We’ll be hosting Farm Storytime at the market this week at 2:30pm. Come for the PYO Flowers, then stay for the Farmers Market & Storytime!
Sometimes farming feels a little like playing catch with the weather, volleying back and forth in rhythm with an old friend. But then every once and a while the weather starts throwing erratically and pelting you with wild pitches. The downpours over the weekend had that kind of feel.
So this week the farm crew is scrambling to lob some pitches back, in the form of catchup work in the field that couldn’t be done in a downpour. Every day after morning harvest is done, we’ll be out in the Tomato fields getting caught up on trellising our early successions and pounding stakes in the ground to support future growth of our later successions. The stake and trellis system is the best way we’ve found to support our Tomato crops, but it’s pretty labor intensive and can only be done when the plants are dry (working with wet plants spreads leaf-surface diseases around in the field–no good!).