We’re into the thick of summer now, and harvesting two of our favorite summer crops like mad: Tomatoes and Sweet Corn. We dream about these days all winter—abundant sunshine and abundant delicious food—so we’re soaking up the long summer days now.
We usually harvest our Corn first thing in the morning. The stalks are often wet with dew, so moving through the Corn forest harvesting the ripe ears leaves us soaking wet, but it’s still lots of fun.
Tomato harvest is never done when the plants are wet. So the harvest crew usually leaves Tomato harvest ’til last in the morning, right before lunch. Just before they head in, they’ll pick a hatful for their own lunch because nothing beats a fresh Cherry Tomato picked at peak ripeness. They taste like liquid sunshine.
If you’ve been growing Tomatoes at home, you know that they can be a tricky crop to grow. Tomatoes are native to the harsh desert of Peru and Ecuador and making them feel at home on the leafy coastal plains of New England is a tall order. Around here, they’re prone to a slew of Tomato diseases and nutrient deficiencies, so keeping them productive and organic takes some doing. Fruition Seeds has a free ebook with lots of pictures to help you identify and prevent issues (organically) with your Tomatoes. And if you discover you didn’t plant enough Tomatoes to keep yourself in BLTs and Caprese salads and Salsa Fresca, we got you!
Hot summer days are great for ripening our crops! Out in the field our crops are photosynthesizing at top speed, turning sunlight into sugar and sugar into FLAVOR.
We’ve started skimming a few Tomatoes every other day or so, which is very exciting for us as Tomato nerds. Tomatoes are probably the crop we pride ourselves in the most, and we love eating them just as much as we love growing them. For now the harvest is pretty light, but by next week we should be hauling them in from the field by the truckload.
The hot weather has also been ripening our own organic Sweet Corn and it’s delicious. Corn ripens fast in the heat, but it also dries out quickly, so we’ve been irrigating the Corn field steadily over the past week. We’ve got our fingers crossed for some good rain showers later in the week. Free irrigation is our favorite irrigation.
Mid-July means heavy harvests (we’re looking at you, Squash & Cukes) and long sunny days planting our fall crops (fall Carrots and Beets being seeded this week!) and harvesting our Garlic. Garlic harvest is always a milestone in the farm season, the culmination of lots of patience, care, and hard work.
We planted this Garlic last fall, in simpler times. They put down roots through December, hibernated through the coldest part of winter, and emerged with their first little green shoots in early March, back in the before-times. In early March we didn’t understand the changes that were almost on top of us. This season has been a wild ride for everyone—often frustrating, sometimes painful, always unexpected. It’s strange to think that when this Garlic was planted, the world was a very different place. That time feels much farther away than just 9 months ago.
Once our Garlic crop is harvested, they still have some time left on their journey before they arrive at your kitchen cupboards. They’ll be brought in from the field and dried on tall racks set up in our barn, surrounded by large fans for maximum air circulation. This curing process fortifies them for winter storage, ensuring that they’ll remain firm and vital, even when stashed away without sunlight or water, two elements we usually know to be critical to life.
In cured form, the bulbs can remain robust and spicy for long periods, retaining the legendary health benefits and versatile, delicious flavor that Garlic is known for throughout the world. A healthy, hardy food that improves flavor in diverse dishes seems like the perfect ally for the rest of 2020.