Just a brief note to update you all on the season in progress-in a word, it has been wetter. Which might seem like a positive thing, but definitely not an unmitigated blessing: many fields have remained too wet to work until recently, foliar diseases have appeared earlier than usual on tomatoes and potatoes, weed control efficacy is compromised as the dislodged weeds quickly reroot in the moist soil with gray skies overhead. On the positive side of the ledger, we’ve needed to irrigate very little so far, germination in crops like carrots and parsnips has been generally strong, and consistent moisture can be a real boon to crop quality if other factors (like disease) don’t intervene.
Along with wetter, it has also been cooler, which presents some difficulties as well. Certain crops have clearly benefited from the combination (garlic did well, lettuce looks great, peas were abundant) while other crops have been stymied by one factor or the other-strawberries melted under the frequent rains, beans don’t particularly enjoy the cool weather, tomatoes are only now starting to come out of their adolescent sulk to become the productive adults we all hope and expect them to be.
Corn got a bit of a late start, but plantings look good, and supplies should be adequate to ample for awhile. The blueberry crop is enormous-it’s all we can do to try and keep them picked. They look as though they may produce farther into August than is usual. Melons and watermelons are producing well, peppers and eggplants have begun to mature their fruit, and the aforementioned tomatoes, despite the disease promoting weather, are beginning to ripen what appears to be a creditable crop. May the good Lord keep the late blight far from our fields.
After last year’s disappointing (nonexistent really) apple crop, our biennial bearers set another monster crop this year, like they did in 2015. Unlike 2015, the spring was extremely wet and rainy, perfect conditions for rampant infection by apple scab. We took vigorous measures to try and control the spread, with some success I believe-some scab prone varieties may not be plentiful (though they have lots of scabby fruit on the trees!), but less susceptible and resistant varieties should be very abundant.
Also of note: Our long-time partners at Bondir Restaurant in Cambridge are doing us the distinct honor of hosting a ‘Dinner with Hutchins Farm’ on Wednesday, August 9th, spotlighting produce from Hutchins in every dish. Liza and Brian, along with other Hutchins luminaries, will be present to give awkward, embarrassed speeches (short) about the special synergy that is created when local farms work with local chefs in a seasonal framework-Jason Bond and his team display a deep understanding of what we do, and how to use and highlight the unique attributes of truly fresh produce grown in its season, recombining and transforming it into peerless culinary creations: the highest aspiration of any self-respecting fruit or vegetable, after all. For more information about the event please see Bondir’s website: www.bondircambridge.com or give them a call at 617-661-0009.
Guess this turned out to be not so short. Happy High Summer to all, and hope to see you soon at the farm, and fingers crossed for a bountiful August!
-Brian Cramer, and the rest of the Hutchins Farm team
From left to right: honeycrisp apples growing, blueberries ripening, corn rows getting taller
August 2017 Newsletter – Mid-Season Update