Market plans, August 1

One of the challenges we regularly face consists of deciding when to stop harvesting something. From a harvest perspective, there are either one-time items (like onions, garlic, radishes, beets) or continually-producing items (like peas, beans, peppers, and tomatoes). Ok, and there are grey areas like cut-and-come-again greens. But the tough decisions come with the continual items, because their production is always in the form of a bell curve: early rises in yield, a peak in both quantity and quality, and then a slow tailing-off as the new growth slowly succumbs to pests and/or the plants just get old.

When to stop can be really hard to decide, because often there’s still a lot of food potential in the plants, but the quality is slowly declining to where they’re not really sellable anymore, or at least not at the near-perfect quality needed at market. We hate to rip up plants that are still producing food, but at some point they begin to create more work than practical as we spend more time sorting out bad product from good, and often we need the bed space for the next planting of something else.

This is our situation with regards to our popular Fin de Bagnol green beans this week. They’re still producing, and still loaded with flowers, but we’re definitely sorting out more and more bug-bitten or weird ones to get the same high quality we like for market, and we need the bed space for fall items. So this is the last week for these beans. Such tough decisions are one of the things that separate farming from gardening, in my eyes.

Nothing in particular. In a few weeks we expect to start having our first multi-colored cherry tomato mixes, featuring six distinct varieties. The first ones are just starting to turn color now.

The core of the stand this week will be 8 varieties of cured garlic, red potatoes, two types of fresh edamame, and two types of green beans (Fin de Bagnols and our heirloom mixes). We’ll have LOTS of edamame this week, so hopefully it will last through end of market for all the later customers who have missed it the past few weeks. Herbs will be a little less plentiful, as we donated a lot of chives, garlic chives, and mint to the Taste of the Market event Saturday night.

Amaranth greens are finished, as the plants are getting tall and the leaves are getting stronger. Most onions are finished for now as well.

Cherry tomato mixes, okra, purple fingerling potatoes, and more are coming down the line.

3 thoughts on “Market plans, August 1

  1. You know, as a home gardener, I've never really thought about that aspect of raising food. When the quality starts to decline on our garden grub or things don't look quite as hot as they once did, well, we have no problem cutting off the icky parts or ignoring a deformed chile here and there. But when you are having people pay for your wares, there are expectations, and standards that don't necessarily apply to home use.We really enjoyed the Bogatyr garlic by the way. It was quite as spicy and nice as the Georgian Fire, but it worked wonderfully in our dishes. I really enjoy trying all the varieties. We'll see you at market tomorrow!

  2. Jennifer,It's definitely a completely different dynamic in market farming versus gardening. A significant amount of our time is spent sorting and cleaning up produce for market; there are times when I wish I could bring the stuff raw and dirty, but no one would buy it. So we spend hours cleaning off onions and potatoes, and sorting beans and peas, and so on. To actually make a decent income, we have to include all that effort and unused product in our prices. Right now little of the unsellable product goes to waste, as we eat and preserve much of it for ourselves and feed much of the rest to our animals. We'll have Georgian Fire again this week; let me know if you want me to save you some.