2017, September

Farm update – 9/4/2017

This week’s basket includes your choice of two large and one small item from the following lists.

  • Large items: a dozen medium eggs, eggplant medley, assorted peppers (1.25 lb), sweet potato greens.
  • Small items: Asian eggplant, edamame, green bell peppers, sweet banana peppers, basil bouquet.

Did you notice that the eggs in this week’s Whole Farm basket are size medium, and not large like normal? It’s that time of year again, when the number of eggs we’re getting from the hens that are just starting to lay (those that were chicks this spring) is equivalent to the number of eggs we’re getting from our older hens. Eggs laid by young hens are generally about a half of an ounce smaller than those laid by fully mature hens. So, six eggs from our young hens combined with six eggs from our older hens yields a dozen eggs that weigh less than the 24 ounce minimum for large eggs. Instead, they are classified as size medium eggs, falling into the 21-23.9 ounce range. And yet, they retain their grade A status (really, probably AA due to their freshness). Sizing (weighing) and grading eggs is something we do every day on the farm. It involves using a candling flashlight (in the olden days, literally done with a candle) and examining each egg for cracks or other defects in the shell, checking the size of the air space inside the eggs, and seeing that the yolk is centered in the egg. Only eggs that receive a grade A classification are put in cartons to sell. We’ll likely have a mixture of medium and large dozens over the next month, with a slight reduction in price for the medium eggs to account for the decrease in size.

This weekend included plenty of relaxation time and lots of good farm-fresh eats, including one item we didn’t even plan to grow on the farm this year. Given the large amount of space they require, and our slight inability to harvest them at peak ripeness, we decided not to grow watermelons this year; we were done with them. Watermelons, however, were apparently not done with US. A couple of months back, we noticed that a watermelon plant had sprouted in the flowerbed outside the carport. As I am generally not inclined to kill a living plant (weeds notwithstanding), it was granted clemency as a novelty just to see what would come of it. Certainly it wouldn’t actually produce a watermelon there in the flowerbed where it was getting literally no attention? The weeks went along and it kept growing. At some point it even started flowering. Then one day, look, a baby watermelon. Then a second! Well, the second one succumbed to slug damage, but the first watermelon kept on getting bigger. We even watered it two or three times during the dry spell a couple of weeks ago. All along, we monitored the little tendril that is supposed to indicate maturity, rolled it on its side every few days to check if the tell-tale yellow spot was developing, and tapped it frequently…like we knew what noises to be listening for to indicate that it was ready to pick. As if meant to be, we realized on Saturday that it would likely be ready as a Labor Day treat. And so, while watermelons typically accompany 4th of July parties, we got to share our one-and-only 2017 watermelon, all 21.38 pounds of it (yes, of course it got weighed!), with friends at a Labor Day pool party. And despite our deep fears that it was going to be way over- or under-ripe, in fact it was perfect! A farm frittata was another one of the farm-fresh meals we made and enjoyed this long weekend. Hope your Labor Day was similarly full of good times and good food!

IMG_20170904_152608433Our prized (and surprise!) 2017 watermelon


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