Week 9, 2012

Yep, this is VERY late getting posted, but that is par for the course this time of year.

Everyone should be seeing more tomatoes now, and if you plan on making sauce or salsa, please aim for near the end of the month—you could even pick them up at the open house. We grow several varieties of red tomatoes, mostly chosen for flavor, but we also grow a couple varieties because they are firmer than the traditional, softer tomato. Interestingly enough, consumers (that’s us) have become accustomed to the hard tomatoes at the supermarket, I know this because many people will squeeze a tomato and remark that “it is soft” or they are looking for “firm ones”. This is interesting because a ripe tomato is inherently soft, like a ripe peach. Nope, don’t worry, I am not judging, folks should get what they like and enjoy them most. Anyway, the tomatoes at the supermarket need to be hard because they must withstand picking, massive washing/packing lines, shipping (while they are being gassed with ethylene to “ripen”), being knocked around at the warehouse then supermarket, and then the final handling and squeezing at the point of purchase. They have been bred to have hard, thick walls and firm centers—even before GMO. Glenn had a college professor once huck a tomato across the lecture hall and pick it up, unscathed, remarking the only thing left to was to make it square. I love that! Square is not a bad idea, but then we’ll have to rethink hamburg buns and such. Meanwhile, please be gentle with the tomatoes and the peaches, we picked them ripe, today’s squeeze is tomorrow’s bruise.

Steaming Corn

This week we are picking Mystique, one of my favorite corn varieties, and July Jem. The peaches are amazing, apples are coming in, some interesting carrots, cukes, lots of eggplant and pepper varieties, and by all means, open your box at pickup to see what kind is in your box…no need to get the same type every week, unless you want to.

BTW, we have loads of squash and cukes, so I often bring a few cases extra so folks can grab a few extra if wanted/needed. If you want a few more, please feel free to ask.

Lots of tomato plants!

Farm Dirt

Some of you may be hearing the murmurings of the poor corn crop in the Midwest. Glenn and I spent a while this morning discussing the economics of low corn production and where and if the inflation will occur. If the demand for ethanol remains unchanged, we will certainly see higher prices for all grain fed meats. We don’t feed grain to our cows, but I am sure the cost of hay will be higher this year too, as the second cutting hay yield is down all over the place. We (the US) spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to other countries regarding GDP and what is spent where. Personally, I think our GDP in not comparable to other countries, but for the sake of argument, let’s look at some numbers: food as a percentage of total household income in Venezuela is around 32%, China almost 40%, India almost 50%, Ukraine over 60%, US less than 10% (England and a few others have low numbers too). There are varying ways to calculate this number, as there are varying numbers, but no matter where I look, we have the lowest per capita expenditures for food, so even with projected inflation, it’s still pretty good. Whether you chalk it up to our food is cheaper or our GDP is higher, it’s still a percentage. This is meant to just be a little food for thought. With all that, I still worry about my grocery bill and how any increase will affect my family; it seems like a smart time to stock up.

Open House is coming up, Sunday August 19. We will have a pot luck lunch around noon time, so plan on getting here just before noon so I can cook the right amount of corn OR, you can come earlier and help me pick the corn 🙂 Though it is fun to share, you are welcome to bring your own picnic lunch and enjoy our company.

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About stillmansfarm

Stillman's Farm® is a family owned farm in Massachusetts. We currently operate at two locations: a greenhouse/retail business in Lunenburg, and the majority of vegetable production in New Braintree. Glenn Stillman started the business in Lunenburg over 20 years ago and now enjoys the promise of the next generation further expanding the very diverse enterprise. The farm also has several Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs established in Boston, Lunenburg, Jamaica Plain, Brookline, New Braintree and the Southborough/Framingham area. In addition, the Stillman's trucks have become a fixture at the Boston Area Farmer's Markets. Our Philosophy Most of Stillman's produce is grown without chemicals. For a few crops this simply is not feasible. For these particular crops, we participate in the State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. This entails systematic scouting of fields, protection of beneficial insects, bio-controls, and well-timed applications of only the safest pesticides. With growing concern about genetically modified organisms (GMO), as a patron you can be confident that none of the produce we grow have been engineered, in fact, we often experiment with many heirloom varieties! Conscientiously Grown® The combination of no pesticides, good cultivation management, and IPM practices allows us to offer the widest possible selection of fruit and vegetable varieties and be a thriving sustainable farm. We have developed our own label, "conscientiously grown" to convey our commitment to the safety of our environment, family and customers. All of our hormone free, pasture raised meats carry a conscientiously grown label too!
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