DEAR FARMKETEERS: Three-year-old kids are the world’s top Why Machines. “Why, Mommy?” “Why, Papa?” “Why why why why?” You give your best shot at an appropriate answer each time, only to secure another “Why?” in return. Then one day you hear a longggg string of whys. You’re feeling a tad frayed, not as composed as usual. You surprise little Bobby – and yourself – with this dubious classic from the good parenting manuel: “Because sh*t happens!!” To which the wee Bobbino simply says, “But why?”
“Alabaster Platypus.” That’s your answer. Works every time. No child in the history of why has replied with a why. Sounds like nonsense, but try this mystical utterance on your own whippersnappers. It breaks the chain. Stems the tide. Magic like the number 42. Yes, Farm Fans, “Alabaster Platypus” is a disruptive technology of surprising power, and you can use it as needed. But there are others.
“Esmeralda Jalapeño.” You will find Esmeralda apples and jalapeño peppers at the farm stand, plus an evolving bounty of peaches, roma tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, golden tomatoes, Italian eggplants, fairytale eggplants, Japanese eggplants, bell peppers, hot peppers, blueberries, cucumbers, garlic, small potatoes, cauliflower, zucchini, Pristine apples, local honey, local syrup, local pottery and… and fresh sweet cider! Herbs and flowers you can cut right in front.
“Apostrophe Apple!” Now picking: William’s Pride apples (pictured) and Pristine apples. Find them both in Row 10 of the Dwarf Orchard. On your walk to Row 10 you can debate whether it is properly Williams’, William’s, or Williams. The internet has not decided. When you get to Row 10, you can pick the deliciously lemon-yellow, sweet-tart Pristines. But, further down the row, many of you will finally pick your first apples of the year, because William’s Pride are RED APPLES which seems to be what most Farmketeers have been holding out for. The yellow and green apples which kicked off the season were treated with precisely the contempt we have come to expect. Sigh. For the next 10 weeks there will be new apples to pick every week. Yes, to answer your many, many emails… there will be Honeycrisp.
“Fuzzy Fruit, Hidden Pit.” Now picking: Peaches, but very thin picking this week. You all did a wonderful job of devouring the first wave. Thank you. And lotssss more peaches will ripen soon, perhaps next week. Stay tuned to the Fresh Crop Alerts. Thanks to farm fan @dolcedelightithaca for this pic from her peach picking session.
“Nightshade, My Child, Nightshade!” Now picking: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant. We get DOZENS of emails and social media messages about which varieties are ripe on any given day and how plentiful they are. The short answer is: “Alabaster Platypus.” You sorta have to come out here and hunt around. It changes each week – each day, even. Depends on sunshine and warm nights and how many pickers beat you to the best picking. There are many varieties of tomatoes, some ready, some ripening. As of TODAY, it’s mostly romas that are ready in any abundance. There are also many varieties of sweet and hot peppers, all ready or ripening. Same with eggplant, ready and ripening. Look under the leaves, try new varieties, pick yourself a nightshade hodgepodge.
“Gomphrena Bouquet Cornflower Bucket.” If your kid says “why?” to that one, you have our permission to say, “Because.” Meantime pick your own zinnias, snapdragons, verbena, gomphrena, celosia, cornflower, statice, strawflower, scabiosa, sweetpeas, salvia, aster, dianthus, and algeratum. Also get beautiful bouquets in mason jars, handcut and arranged by ‘Creekniks.
“I, Donut Robot.” Get your freshly fried toroids of fructotic splendor by the dozen or half-dozen. No rugrat will ever ask “Why?” when presented with cider donuts and an encouraging parental smile. Except the gluten-free prodigies. Beware: The Mark II Donut Robot runs Saturday and Sunday 10:30 to 6:00. Nick the Donut Kid runs a tight robot. Good luck getting a donut at 10:29 or 6:01.
“Orchard Ambrosia.” Nothing but 100% fresh-squeezed fruit, unpasteurized like the old days. Get gallons and half-gallons each week, as the apple mix changes with the seasons.
“Plastic Pilates Whale.” Goodbye forever to single-use plastic bags at the farm stand. Whales eat 3 big meals of plastic each day — we don’t need to feed them more. Please BYOBags or buy our reusable farm totes in 2 sizes for $1.50/2.00. They work great for your groceries, picnics, and pilates gear. Similarly, cardboard “peck” boxes for picking fruit and vegetables… New farm policy is they cost a buck unless you pick a full peck, then they’re free. Just to get us all tuned in to the costs of waste. THANK YOU so much to the best farm fans anywhere for helping us make these changes promptly and enthusiastically.
“Free Moonshine.” You might be crossing a line saying that to your fledglings; just don’t cross any state lines. But if you can find a sitter on a Saturday afternoon, reserve your free private hard cider tasting at Eve’s Cidery in Van Etten. This pomological power trio – Ezra, Celia, and Autumn (and cider intern Cathryn behind the camera) – is hosting a few lucky people at a time on Saturdays at 2:00 PM. Sign up for your slot now, because people will get the apple season buzz within a week or two and the prized tasting slots will book up. These farmers are creative and hardworking people who make critically acclaimed ciders – and they’ve been trailblazers and trendsetters in the Finger Lakes cider scene since the beginning. Their apples are 100% estate grown in Van Etten, south of Ithaca, many on trees from our nursery and rootstocks that Dad developed during his time at Cornell. And yes, the private tastings are free, but umm HELLO, buy some bottles to take home. Eve’s Cidery has an outsized, national reputation, but they’re a tiny family farm business. You can also order online. Thank you for supporting small farms.
Love to y’all. Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.