DEAR FARMKETEERS: Uni means “one,” and corn means “horn.” Thus unicorn means “one horn.”
Meanwhile copia means “plenty,” as in copious. So cornucopia means “horn of plenty,” from the Classical Latin. But words slip and slide over the eons. Nowadays, in Modern Latin – the language of the agricultural classes – the meaning of corn has shifted ever so slightly from “horn” to “hen.”
And what’s THAT we hear?! Is it the Hen of Plenty?! Why yes it is! Sounding in the hills above Ithaca! Archie is smashing the keys in a bombastic rendition of the official theme song of Indian Creek Farm, trumpeting the dawn of picking season proper and an abundant local harvest. (Imagine a jazz band braying on their horns of plenty. Fruit flying higgledy-piggledy and ‘Creekniks dancing like peaches kasplonkered on apple wine.)
Yes, Farm Fans, it’s THAT time. The one day every year when we let the barnyard beasts host an open mic on the family heirloom instruments. This year it coincides with the announcement that SANSA apples are ready to pick. Sweet and acidic Sansas, lovely red Sansas, the first “real” apples of the year for many people. Sansa is a 1970s cross bewteen Akane and Gala, inheriting the sweetness of an early Gala along with bright acid befitting the late August ripening date. Come pick now in Row 10 of the Dwarf Orchard.
How to avoid heartbreaking waste in apple season: Pick with 2 hands, steadying the branch and/or nearby apples with your non-dominant hand, then twist off your target apple with your best paw. Don’t let an apple fall, then knock another apple below, causing a chain reaction. Multiply that effect by thousands of pickers… and you got a defeated apple farmer. Please read our Farm School tutorial, How to Pick an Apple.
Peaches are picking. We enter week 3 of peach season with a good crop to be picked – and much more to ripen NEXT week. However, fans of “donut” peaches will be shocked and dismayed: The donut peaches will be picked clean by the weekend. What?! Sorry, you heard right. Although we hadn’t opened the donuts for picking – indeed we had many of the donut trees ribboned off – they got picked well ahead of schedule by rogue fanatics of these fat little frisbee fruits.
How to avoid heartbreaking waste in peach season: Don’t squeeze peaches on the tree. Exhibit A is a cold, hard thumbprint. Straight up peach abuse. Somebody was testing ripeness. They found out it was ripe. They left it on the tree. It takes an experienced eye to judge ripeness in a peach by looking. Best thing to do is: Ask us which rows are ready. Pick those peaches. Take them home even if they feel a little firm. In 2 days you’ll have a perfect peach. Stick them in a brown bag to expedite. Up to you whether you squeeze a peach after it’s yours. We won’t be judgy.
You can also get peaches at the stand – priced slightly BELOW the u-pick price! That’s just the way it works out pound for pound on average, when you buy a peach peck for only $22. So nobody needs to go home without peaches, even if the u-pick orchards have been scoured by the time you arrive.
“Peaches: Medicine, Botany, and Traditional Uses” – Special farm class on Saturday, August 24, 11 AM. Did you know that peach leaves smell and taste delightful? It’s not common to think about this tree beyond its juicy, fuzzy fruits, but that is exactly what this class is about. Cali Janae, “Cal,” is a local herbalist and botanist who has traveled and lived in the Southeastern US where they grew familiar with the region’s iconic peach. From first aid to craft cocktails, this class will flesh out the amazing plant we call a peach. Meet at 11 AM at the Big Table near the playground. Class attendance is free with a suggested donation of $10-20, with all proceeds going to support medicine making for herbal patients at the Ithaca Free Clinic, ithacahealth.org.
Tomatoes for u-pick and boxed at the stand. We’re not quite in tomato boom season, though hundreds of Farmketeers have left with nice hauls of tomatoes. There are many varieties and the abundance of each varies with the days. You simply have to hunt around when you get here. It’s hard to give a detailed report when that might be out of date within a day.
Eggplants for u-pick and boxed at the stand. Several varieties of eggplant, all ready or ripening. Hard to tell you which types you will find in abundance when you arrive. Please enjoy exploring around.
Sweet and hot peppers for u-pick and boxed at the stand. Many varieties, all ready or ripening. Hard to tell you which types you will find in abundance when you arrive. Please enjoy exploring around.
Donuts Saturday & Sunday 10:30 to 6:00. Get your freshly fried toroids of fructotic splendor by the dozen or half-dozen. The Mark II Donut Robot runs 10:30 (pretty sharp) to 6:00 (sharp). Nick the Donut Kid runs a tight robot. Good luck getting a donut at 10:29 or 6:01. Get jugs of fresh-pressed cider by the gallon and half-gallon. “Orchard Ambrosia,” we call it.
Love to y’all. Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.