Coming produce attractions

Despite the somewhat empty appearance of our stand for the past few weeks, we really do have a lot on the way. Talking to other market vendors on Saturday, I heard many tales of woe. Everyone seems to be having a difficult year, as rain and insects ruin or set back crops. Really, it’s mid July and there are almost no tomatoes at market? Must be a bad year.

We’re always late to the summer produce party, partly because of our frost pocket valley and partly because we just get things in late because we’re so busy with spring items. But we have lots of things coming on strong now and within a week or two (or three?) of market, such as:

Tomatillos, which are very slow to develop but surely will be ready soon. Those half-filled husks are teasing us…

Garlic, which in this poorly lit photo is filling the rafters of our barn. The crop was an overall success, with a good distribution of beautiful, large heads. The conditions have been on the humid side for the curing process, but we haven’t detected any problems yet. We’re thrilled to start bringing our diverse display to market soon.
Tomatoes, which are looking vibrant and loaded. Probably still several weeks from real production, as all the fruits are still green, but plants are healthy with no sign of disease so far. We’re hoping it will dry out just enough to enhance the flavor as these begin to ripen.
Peppers, which like the tomatoes are healthy and productive, just need more time to mature. The variety in the photo above is Jimmy Nardello’s Italian, an heirloom variety of sweet pepper that is good for drying, among other things. This is recognized on the Slow Food “Ark of Taste” list for its exceptional qualities. The upcoming week’s heat and sun will do wonders for the peppers.
Edamame, which we’d already have at market if voles hadn’t decimated our first planting. We have a few self-seeded plants in last year’s beds which are maturing now; we ate the first fresh edamame of the season Sunday. The photo above shows pods at full size but not yet filled out; possibly a few this coming weekend, more likely the week after.
The cucumbers have been productive so far, especially these wonderfully sweet and crunchy Poona Kheeras. These are an Indian heirloom, and I had a nice young Indian-American woman double back to the stand in excitement when she saw them, as she was born in the Poona region from whence these came.

Selling these can be hard as the market is saturated in cheap cukes right now and we’re not going to lower our price to a loss just because others are overproducing. I’m also a bit concerned about a similar dynamic on other “standard” items like tomatoes and peppers, so we’ll see. We’re also concerned about our ongoing cucumber beetle infestation and its long-term effect on cukes and summer squash, but for now we’re getting good production.

So those are some things for customers to look forward to in coming weeks.

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