I made my own assessment of my life, and I began to live it. That was freedom. Fernando Flores- Chilean Minister of Finance, Engineer, Philosopher
August’s brutal heat kept us from selling at the Farmer’s Market, but provided us with time to assess the progress of the prior months since April.
Assessment: We are great at planting and sucky at harvesting.
A friend waiting tables at a new trendy Farm to Table restaurant offered an introduction to the chef. We’d thought to deliver, herbs, micro greens, tomatoes and maybe flowers.
Assessment: Our sucky harvesting skills kept us from pursuing this account. What if some of the harvested greens were not harvested on time and half were perfect and half were bitter? Micro greens needs to be harvested several times a day it seems and bolt if they get too hot. We used a shade cloth and tried to harvest promptly, but invariably some bolted causing me to worry about bitterness. I wanted to take a bite of each leaf to check. Not gonna work.
Further assessment: Tiny tomatoes require more time to harvest than large tomatoes and require more prep for dehydrating than does the prep for blanching a large tomato.
Some varieties of spinach look like petunia if you do not harvest in time.
Hot peppers are not as hot as they might be if you harvest too early.
So, our only commercial account (friends Bert and Carly, owners of the award winning hot sauce company http://www.mundisauce.com) needed peppers in July. Our bushes were laden so Bert drove down from Eureka Springs with his kids and we spent an enjoyable evening picking peppers.
Early on I’m in the kitchen making some iced tea for the kids when Alan bursts in followed by Bert chewing on a habanero. Alan: “They aren’t hot”! Me:”WHAT?” Alan: “Not hot”! Bert: “Not hot”. I bit into one and felt a burn. I choked and grabbed some tea. Me: “What do you mean?” “This is burning my mouth.” The peppers were not hot enough for Bert’s needs. After some research and speaking with chef friends, we realized that we’d harvested too early. We were/are so excited to work with them and thankfully, they are having a time finding enough hot peppers to fill their orders. So, as ours mature and hopefully heat up, we’ll have the chance to try again.
We are still learning how to determine when things are ready for harvest. We pendulum between becoming distracted by outbuildings that need purging, and an ongoing parts replacement for the well saga; preparing beds to fill with thinned out daffodil, iris, and lily bulbs to what to plant next.
Harvesting means food prep soon to follow. This year we’ve grown enough produce to put back enough salsa, red sauce for pasta, roasted peppers and tomatoes, peas, collards, and squash for the winter, as well as some for the Paris Farmer’s Market.
My next blog post will assess our Farmer’s Market experience thus far.