Callaloo is good for yoo

Last week I got a special package in the mail from Nolts Produce Supply.  Nolts is our supplier of choice for a wide variety of things like irrigation equipment, greenhouse plastic and row cover.  Its great fun to order because the company is owned and operated by real Pennsylvania Amish farmers that carry accents that are nearly unintelligible to this big city boy.  Their phone greating, “Hello. Nolts.” sounds to me like one long sing-songy syllable, “Lowlts”.  Well, the package that I was so excited to get last week was two boxes of twine for supporting our tomatoes.  We had some pretty expensive stuff that we got at Lowe’s so I decided to buy in bulk from Nolts.  I bought 2.2 miles of twine.

We use the twine to do the “Cornell Weave”.  For this method we space posts every 4-5 plants and then weave the twine around the plants –one side on the first pass and then on the other as you pass back by.  We do this every week to ten days as the plant grows.  The result is that the plant is squeezed between the twine to support it and the fruit is kept off the ground and easier to harvest.  It’s tough on the back, but the payoff is being immersed in that heavenly summer scent that is a tomato plant.  Of course I love it but I could easily be talked into sharing that labor if you want to stop by and give it a try!

This week will be harvesting the last (?) of our lettuce.  As the days heat up many of the heads are bolting but one planting of our scrumptious butterhead and  romaine has stayed strong.  In addition there will be sweet onions, brussels sprout greens, swiss chard, kale, amaranth, squash, squash blossoms, edible flowers, a few strawberries, dill, cilantro and basil.   The Brussels sprout greens can be cooked like collards (though they’re sweeter).   Amaranth is also known as callaloo in its native caribbean region and is a tasty green that you can prepare like spinach.  According to nutritiondata.com, amaranth is a good source of Niacin, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.  Pretty good, eh?  For a beautiful centerpiece, we will have more of our superb sunflowers and colorful zinnias.

How to say goodbye to our tireless co-farmer??  Dear Jennifer has spent the past 8 months as part of our “farmily” and is leaving on Sunday for her next adventure in Westminster, Vermont.  She has helped us in so many ways!  With her good energy Down to Earth Farm now has a chicken coop and run, a greenhouse, a new compost system, a fabulous logo, website, t-shirts and a scrumptious new recipe for kale salad.  Plus, she is one of Olivia’s favorite friends (who lets her play with plants and water and find worms in compost and get so happily dirty).  We couldn’t have asked for more and will miss her dearly.  Thank you, Jenny, for being our co-creator and friend!  Our little community will be with you as you spread farm-love to new places.  You can keep up with Jenny on her blog:  uground.tumblr.com

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