Exciting times for us here at the “farm”. We finished our planting and are harvesting some of our early season fruits and veggies. So far, we harvested our spring potatoes and now the blueberries, strawberries and artichokes are in full swing. The herbs are going crazy with the heat. The mint, as always, is trying to take over the garden (so are the potatoes, for that matter).
Let’s start with the harvest. Our blueberries struggled with the variable weather a few weeks ago, the alternating rain and heat swelled the berries, but they had little flavor. With the last few weeks of consistent sun, they are taking off and the flavor is concentrated and far sweeter. We have 4 large bushes (and a few stragglers) and they each provide blueberries with slightly different flavors. Fun to taste for the differences if you like to geek up on these things (and we do). Happily for the next month or two we will get at least 1/2 pint of blueberries a day, some days a lot more. The bushes are surprisingly productive and we often have to work to keep up. These are good problems to have.
The strawberries are also taking off. We cleaned and de-slugged the beds a few weeks ago to coincide with the warm, sunny weather. Since then the beds are doing great. The first crop is usually a bit funky in flavor and shape, but most of the plants are looking good. We won’t be able to keep up with the strawberries as we move into summer, the bed has over 30 active plants and when they get going, they get going. Needless to say, you will be seeing strawberry cocktail and dessert recipes a lot in the coming months.
As for the artichokes, the plants are doing well and sprouted multiple “canes”, each with a few artichokes. We have 8-10 baby artichokes that we are harvesting today. These will probably be fried in olive oil. A reader suggested we serve them with shaved parmesan cheese- and we will be trying this (thanks!). The larger artichokes will be ready to harvest in a week or so. We have been told the more you harvest artichokes the more you get, so we are being aggressive early in the season.
As for planting, we are in good shape for the summer. The tomatoes, melons, squash, cucumbers, carrots, greens, arugula, beans, peppers, eggplant, nasturtiums and peas are all in and growing well. We are particularly excited for our tomatoes and melons this year. We continue to fine-tune the tomato varieties we plant and we are experimenting with cages and trellises to help our melons develop. We already get more tomatoes than we can handle (our friends get open access to help themselves when the tomatoes ripen), and we want to see the same with the melons. Hope springs eternal.
Orchard and berry patch update coming later this week. Otherwise I will leave everyone with some good advice from a The Lonely Forest song we like here at the farm. We bet you can guess the title.
Turn off, turn off this song.
Find someone to love.
Turn off this song…go outside. Go outside!