kale or chard
bag of spinach mix
cabbage or cauliflower
head of romaine lettuce
Last year was the second year in a row that we had a less than average tomato crop. Which was a little hard because for 5 years prior, it seemed like we could not grow a tomato wrong. We grew them all. Heirlooms, specialty, multi color cherries. Tomatoes were the thing that people remembered us by. People would come out of the woodwork and sign up for the CSA as soon as they saw them showing up on the website and in the box list. Restaurants from the Marine Room in La Jolla, all the way to Jeremy’s on the hill, In Wynola couldn’t get enough of our tomatoes.
For the last two years we realized that there was a problem with our system, but instead of stepping back and re assessing our methods, we just did more of the same thing that worked last time. Well, you know that meme going around that says something like “you cannot solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it”?
This year, I went back to tomato kindergarten. And you know what was the first thing I learned? I forgot how to have fun growing tomatoes. This was huge for me. I had been robbing myself of a part of growing that after a few years of farming, I considered a luxury. When in actuality, the fun, the curiosity and the mystery of it all is exactly what feeds the passion to continue evolving, growing and learning.
You know what the second thing I learned in tomato kindergarten was? It is okay to get help. It can even be fun. We got lots of help so far. And we are just in the beginning. Our friend at the County Ag department tested our soil and gave us recommendations. The most promising suggestion was to start grafting our delicate and disease prone heirlooms onto a sturdy, disease tolerant rootstock tomato. That is what we are showing you above. The rootstock seeds.
Somewhere, there is an envelope with all the empty heirloom seed packs. And a few hybrids too. I think it would be nice to post a list of the tomatoes we are growing for you. That way, we can all hold a point and put some good thoughts into our tomato operation.
Tucking in another strawberry bed under the Agribon row cover on Tuesday night. The floating row cover keeps the plants a little warmer and prevents nibbling of young tender starts in their beginning stages.
Well, when it comes to stone fruit like our peaches, apricots, plums and nectarines, flowers equal fruit. And the flowers are looking pretty good this year. If you pick up your box at the farm, check out the stone fruit orchard on your way up the the produce shack. It is pretty stunning.
Every once in a while, I make a public announcement like this: Here at the farm, we field wash the veggies. Which means we spray them off as we harvest in order to knock off most the dirt and to knock the field heat off the freshly harvested plants by hitting them with cool water. These spinach clearly like to get down and dirty. Most of you know this. But, double wash your greens before storing. Because we do not.
Some solar cooked kale chips.