Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It Rarely Rains in Dreams...

We've had a bit of a wet fall so far this year with over 2.5 inches of rain falling to date. As such, our tomato harvest was truncated somewhat by cracking fruit. The plants hadn't been watered in over 2 months, so they started moving water a bit fast for their own good when the rains came. We canned the fruit that cracked and are going to do another big round of our paste tomatoes tomorrow. Our peppers on the other hand were watered periodically throughout the summer and are still going strong. The last of the onions went into this Tuesday's CSA Box. We're switching to leeks starting Friday. Also in that box were our Yellow Bartlet pears and Russian Banana potatoes. All of our greens (kale, collards, tatsoi, cauliflower) have thoroughly appreciated the rain so far and are going stronger than ever.

That said, we now plan to end our CSA three weeks early this year (11/01 instead of 11/22) in the interest of keeping both quality and quantity high. To our CSA members reading this, growing for you this year was our pleasure, and we hope you enjoyed receiving your boxes as much as we enjoyed preparing them for you.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

In Praise of San Marzano...

Today marked our first round of tomato canning for 2011. In a slight departure from our normal routine, we fire-roasted a few rounds of the San Marzano's in our pizza oven before adding them to the sauce. This process greatly speeds up the cooking time, while enhancing the taste of the final product. We also mixed in Plum Lemon tomatoes for additional sweetness and their psychedelic color!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Peppers Galore...

We included a Chiles Relleños recipe along with the Poblanos today. Nancy had a tray of them waiting for me tonight when I returned home from dropping off the boxes. I am one lucky duck!!! (There are no leftovers). Also pictured above is our first round of pickled Italian White Wax Peppers. Our neighbor Maria was a huge help in preserving them yesterday. She is an incredible cook. Indeed, she makes a world class Chile Relleño!

Additional photos include tomatoes harvested today and the first "naked ladies," a sure sign that cooler temps are on their way.  We've had daily highs in the mid-90's for the past week, and the heat is forecast to continue through Friday. Our olive grafts continue to thrive. My biggest concern, that they would get sunburned, never came to pass. Early next spring, we will remove the nurse limbs and graft additional Manzanillo scions in their place.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Heirlooms... Heroes of the Harvest!

(Click on image to view full size).
I had tears in my eyes harvesting these beauties this morning.  Just north of 85 lbs in all.  The CSA got a very colorful box today between the tomatoes, Mercury red onions, French Fingerling potatoes, Tolli's Sweet Italian peppers, tomatillos with jalapeños, yellow squash, zucchini, Genovese basil, and mesclun mix.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thanks to a Little High Pressure...

Temps in the mid-90's this week ensured that some phatty tomatoes went in the boxes today. Yes... they taste as good as they look.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tomatoes at last...

We've had a wonderfully successful summer. We were Certified Organic by CCOF at the beginning of July. Our CSA met its target enrollment of 60 members soon thereafter and has not slowed a bit since. The climactic theme this summer is "cool nights," which was immensely helpful in slowing down the ripening of certain crops, allowing us to stagger our harvest while not compromising on freshness. It also allowed our fruit trees to put on an incredible amount of growth with minimal sun-scald to tender new leaves and stems. Thank you to everyone who has taken part in the CSA, and we hope you've enjoyed your boxes as much as we've enjoyed harvesting for you! To those still on the waiting list at this point, we definitely plan to go bigger next year, and look forward to including you.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer/Fall 2011 Crop List

A huge "Thank You" to everyone already subscribed to Neighbor Farms CSA. We are very excited to be growing for you this season along with our partners at Old House Farm. Many of you have asked what we have in the ground, so here are a few recent photos along with a complete list of our vegetable crops (and varieties) for the summer/fall season, 2011:
  • Basil: Genovese
  • Beans: Butterbeans (soy), Scarlet Runner
  • Broccoli Raab: Brassica Rapa
  • Cauliflower: Incline
  • Asian Greens: Tatsoi
  • Collard Greens: Flash & Georgia Southern  
  • Carrots: Hercules, Nelson
  • Herbs: Cilantro, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme
  • Kale: Ripbor & Toscano
  • Leeks: American Flag
  • Onions: Cabernet, Mercury, Mt. Whitney, Walla Walla
  • Peppers: Anaheim Chile - Numex Joe E Parker, Chile de Arbol, Corno di Toro, Early Jalapeno, Hot Ancho Chile - Tiburon, Sweet Pimento - Lipstick, Tolli's Sweet Italian
  • Potatoes: Banana Fingerling, French Fingerling, Purple Majesty, Red Pontiac, Rose Finn Apple, Yukon Gold
  • Squash: Golden Scallopini Bush
  • Tomatillos: Cisineros, Mexican strain
  • Tomatoes: Ananas Noir, Amish Paste, Black Cherry, Black Krim, Chadwick Cherry, Chocolate Stripes, Costoluto Genovese, Dagma's Perfection, Dr. Wyche Yellow, German Pink, Gold Medal, Italian Heirloom, Japanese Black Trifele, Paul Robeson, Persimmon, Pink Brandywine (Sudduth's), Plum Lemon, Polish Linguisa, Principe Borghese, Purple Calabash, Santa Clara Canner, San Marzano Redorta, Super San Marzano, Sweet Tangerine, Virginia Sweet

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Introducing Neighbor Farms CSA!

(Click Above Image to View Full Screen)
Abounding Harvest Mountain Farm is proud to announce our new partnership with Old House Farm. Together, we are offering Neighbor Farms CSA. Our 21-week Summer Session begins July 1st 2011. Weekly boxes will be bursting with summer's diverse and flavorful bounty! Please visit for more information on how to subscribe.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring Planting Update

I'm sitting out in the shop with the dog and a child monitor as I type this, while a mid-winter jicker squalls at the roof and windows. The odd part of this equation is that it's mid-May, and winter appeared to depart quite a few weeks of 85 degree days ago. Over two and a half inches of rain have fallen in the last two days, interrupting our third planting of onions and a near-perfect spring for roses, and bringing our yearly rain total to 53.15". That said, the day off is more than welcome. We've been on quite a tear since the last update to grace this page.

To recap, following January and February's auspicious weather, the entire west coast was blasted by an arctic belch of biblical proportions. Most fortunately, our avocados were still tight in bud and escaped unscathed. There was minor tip burn on the new flush of the citrus, grapes and kiwis, but the pomegranates truly took it in the teeth. Their three week old leaves were cooked to a crisp by the frost. Incredibly, they took it in stride, leafed out again and are back online and cranking. Needless to say, it was difficult to witness.

What followed was an inclement March, punctuated by a few weeks of deluge: the truly soggy, landslide-inducing type (no slides on our property, but Mountain Charlie Road was a mess where the County undercut its banks last summer in the name of clearing ditches). April brought enough dry weather for us to weed, fertilize, re-mulch and mow the kiwis, pomegranates, citrus, avocados, persimmons, and olives and to begin incorporating cover crop and planting. Somewhere in there quite a bit of forestry was accomplished, replete with massive amounts of invasive brush removal and more than a few ripping burn piles. We also had a wonderful, pizza-stuffed Easter egg dyeing/hunting party with Estelle's friends from Santa Cruz and her school in Los Gatos. All photos from that day featured above were taken by our friend Monique.

May has seen the rest of the cover crop incorporated, kale, basil, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, tomatillos and countless onions planted. We have also sown carrots, scarlet runner beans, "edamame" soy beans and teddy bear sunflowers. When this rain lets up, the final beds of onions and potatoes will go in, as well as a plethora of winter squashes and pumpkins. We've had a strong flush from the citrus, avocados, kiwis, table grapes and roses. We also have some very exciting news in the pipeline as far as new outlets this season, but mum's the word until the details are hashed out and brochures assembled. P.S. Chloe just had 4 kittens!

Thanks for tuning in and happy planting!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Winter>Spring Update

Thus far, 2011's weather is truly strange. In early January, La Nina shut down the tropical jet that brought us so much rain early on, and it's been nothing but high pressure and sunshine for weeks, punctuated by only a couple of rain events (currently 25.56" ytd). That said, we're looking at some confused plants over here. Our bell bean cover crop is quickly reaching maturity and in places is already in bloom and in need of a haircut. Our avocados are getting ready to flower already. The pile of fruit pictured above is from the 4th time I went through removing fruit this year (we are letting them size up another year before setting a crop). This final round coincided with their winter pruning--to get lower branches off the wet ground-- and training--to make sure they're following just one leader as it were. The citrus was likewise trimmed up, and while it was somewhat slow in coming on this year due to last year's June gloom, is now going gangbusters. The plums have decided it's spring already and are covered in blossoms. The pomegranates also leafed out in the 2 day span it took me to prune them. Even stranger, grapes are breaking buds next to kiwis that have yet to go to bed.

The warmth has helped our starts come up in the greenhouse. Onions and tomatoes are pictured above. All of the animals are appreciating this weather as well. Our ducks are laying like it's summer, and cats and dog alike are gravitating towards shade. The coast newt pictured above decided to lay her eggs up and down the leaf filter on our smaller pond system. I relocated her and them to the opposite side so that the babies aren't sucked into the filter when they hatch out. The final shots are of landscape plants, many of which are blooming long before is typical. Cold rain out of the Gulf of Alaska arrives this Monday (bye bye plum blossoms), and it looks like it plans to stick around...