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What’s the Dish About Cherries??

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What’s the dish about cherries? Well we’re not talking about cherries the deep red tart fruit…. I am talking about cherry tomatoes. This crop is the highest demanded product that our farm supplies. They come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. Most of the varieties are comparable to little candies bursting with flavor.

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The chefs love this product because it is delicious and also easy to prepare. Most of the cherry tomatoes we produce are small enough that they can be washed and put directly on the salad bar without any further preparation.

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The most popular variety of cherry tomato that we grow are called Sun Golds. These tomatoes are the size of a whopper, bright orange and filled with sweet sweet deliciousness. They say that this is the tomato for people who don’t like tomatoes.

 

Going into 2017 I knew the demand was high for this particular item and the supply was relatively low. I have been hesitant in the past to over plant cherry tomatoes because we have had so many disease problems and also because they are incredibly tedious to harvest. I researched several different varieties and read reviews on flavor profiles. We ended up planting doubl e the amount of cherry tomatoes we have had in previous years but the varieties are slightly larger, therefore cutting down on time consuming labor without cutting out the great flavor. I am happy to report it worked like a charm. When I told the chefs we had cherry tomatoes available they said bring them as many as I had and there was no maximum weight. After telling the chefs I had 70 quarts they quickly gave me their max weight. It was a good day knowing we can finally get a little closer to meeting the demand in a way that doesn’t slow down progress for the farm.

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We finally got some rain last week. Unfortunately, it was the day we were scheduled to host our second youth workshop with DREAAM House. We quickly switched gears and moved everyone inside. We had a last minute herb test tasting class and it was really funny watching all of the faces as they tried the different herbs from our rooftop garden. We also did build your own veggie pita pizzas which were a hit! The boys were very creative in trying to get around the two veggie topping minimum rule :).

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In other news we have been having a very early year, I think… Or it could be because we had a very late year last year due to the replanting of our transplants. We are harvesting close to 30 quarts of cherry tomatoes a week! Our peppers are big and beautiful and are just starting.

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Our pest problem seems to have subsided with the heat and now we are dealing with other issues. We have a serious problem with birds. They are incredibly pesky, sitting on top of the orchard trellis scoping out which watermelon or tomato they can take a bite out of. The farmers put a predator call out to scare them away. After Rey, Justin and myself recovered from realizing it was a predator call and not an animal that was being tortured for four days, we were very grateful.

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Our old enemy bacterial spot/ septoria has finally reared its ugly head. This is by far the longest it has taken to show up. Now that it is hear we are trying to minimize the damage and control future damage.

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Movin’ and Shakin’

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Photo cred to Justin Slade

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Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July! We are in full swing here at the farm. Rey has come on full time with Justin and myself and we are currently looking for a part time person to start asap! Because the weather has been so great this year we are looking to have a full farm harvest in about one to two weeks. That means that the entire farm will be in production. We are currently getting about 400+ pounds of yellow squash a week, beautiful eggplant, hundreds of pounds of green beans, beets, lettuce, radish, kale and broccoli raab. We are soon going to add peppers, tomatillos, watermelon and tomatoes to that long list of luscious veg.

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We are in somewhat of a drought, which doesn’t affect us too much since we have drip line irrigation. Up until the storm today (which I love to watch come across the flat land) we have had 1/2″ of rain in the last six weeks. I would rather the weather be on the dry side than the wet. We have had zero battle with bacteria disease this year, which is very very uncommon. Usually lots of rain mean lots of bacterial problems. Our plants are big, beautiful and bright green! Fingers crossed that it stays that way!

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In between our harvests we are doing plot maintenance (mowing/ weed eating), fighting that damn potato beetle and planting for fall. Yes, I can’t believe it!!! It is time to seed for our fall crop. It seems as though summer is flying by. I am really excited for the start of school so all the beautiful produce we are harvesting has a greater scope on campus.

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We are currently having slight difficulty because of the temperature inside the greenhouse. We have been starting our plants outside but are fighting birds and Japanese beetles (which are horrible this year). We have been monitoring the damage closely and although annoying, have been replanting as soon as we see catch it.  The complaints are few and far between this year compared to other years. So far this is looking like the best season HH farms has seen yet!!

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