|High summer has arrived, somehow, it’s August: How long ago was it we were waiting on summer squash and now we’re rolling into August’s tomato bounty? Feels like both an eternity and just a minute at the same time. Strawberries and peas have come and gone, the early season greens that we waited with bated breath for now seem like old regulars in the farmstand. This is the season most of New England waits for however: tomatoes and corn.
This summer has been a hot one, and this hot dry cycle doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. We’re lucky to have significant irrigation capacity, but our patchwork of fields and plantings don’t lend themselves well to efficient irrigation, and countless hours are spent moving pipes and equipment, fixing broken lines, and lots of holding our breath and crossing our fingers.
But we persist: Many of our crops are able to be drip irrigated and so have escaped the worst effects of the dry – tomatoes and peppers have been abundant and high quality, squash, and cucumbers (until recently) have likewise weathered the conditions well and continue to produce. While the first planting of basil was hit with the dreaded downy mildew, the later ones seem to be producing still (frantically knocking on wood) Our cantaloupe crop has some of the best flavor we have seen in recent years, and wow the tomatillos have been productive! Sweet corn has been difficult to keep adequately hydrated, resulting in some shriveled tips, but the majority of it has thrived thanks to Ted’s diligent efforts- we are currently harvesting out of some of the most beautiful plantings we have had for a while.
As many of you know, another problem associated with extended dry periods is that our irrigated crops become much more attractive to wildlife – hungry flocks of birds can shred our ripening corn, and thirsty deer and coyotes move into our watermelon plantings well before they’re ripe. On the positive side of the ledger, dry weather does tend to suppress disease and produce intensely flavored fruits. Tomatoes are especially delicious and we expect to offer the ‘Bounty Basket’ deal at the farmstand soon, so keep your eye out for it!
Despite the heat and the frustrations of this drought, we will continue to have a large variety of fruits and vegetables available as we go into the fall. Soon we will dig potatoes, winter squash harvest will commence, and not far off is the reappearance of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Lettuce continues to grow despite adverse conditions (although sometimes is in short supply), and of course, as always, we eagerly await the arrival of the season’s first rutabaga!
And as the farmstand continues to fill, with new crops appearing all the time, we have extended the farmstand’s Sunday hours: we will now close at 6pm. For those of you heading back home Sunday evenings from your weekend away, we hope you can stop in for your veggies and fill your fridge. So going forward the farmstand’s hours will be: Tuesday – Sunday 11am-6pm. Thank you all for your patronage so far this season – it’s been wonderful to see so many smiling faces in the farmstand!
We hope to see you soon to enjoy New England’s August bounty,
-Brian Cramer, Liza Bemis, and the Hutchins Farm team
August 2022 Newsletter: Hot and Dry – Here comes the Tomatoes!