When Life Hands You Lemons, Pick Strawberries; Also Eat Donuts, Slurp Slushees, and Sauté Scapes; All While Wearing a Mask and Staying 1,828,000,000 Nanometers (6 Feet) Apart; Ready Go.

BELOVED FARMKETEERS:  Aloha from the Fairy Kingdom of Strawberristan!  Where daiquiris flow like fake news in a baroque oligarchy.

Yes, the farm is open, this is the first Fresh Crop Alert of the year, and you can pick your own strawberries.  The usual spiel applies to strawberries and all crops that will follow in succession:  first come, first get.  The newsletter reaches some 10,000 local food lovers every week, and enterprising fruit fanatics have already started picking – even before this first edition of the 2020 season, which itself could incite a bumrush on the berry patch.  Therefore you simply have to come and hunt for berries yourself.  We can’t guarantee you a cornucopia.  But you might find one.  People have been leaving with beautiful hauls each day, and the berry patch seems to recharge with sun and warmth.  (A little more water from the sky would be welcome, if anyone in the Department of Homeland Precipitation happens to be reading.)  Pickers have been keeping up with ripening waves, so strawberries are u-pick only; we don’t have any stocked at the stand for now.

New this year:  Please don’t taste-and-toss.  If you happen to smuggle a few berries into your yum-tum-tummy while you are picking, please don’t toss the remnants in the field.  If you take a bite, please stick the stems in your pocket, or if that’s too ewww for you, put them in a baggie or something.  Pack in, pack out.  We are asking everyone to remember that there are pickers and farmers coming through after you, and we all need to think about germs.  So let’s talk about that now…

This week’s sermon dispenses with our usual nonsense in favor of talking some straight covid stuff.  Be smart.  Let’s not turn Indian Creek into a super-spreader.  (1) Always keep SAFE social distance, (2) Wear your MASK when in closer quarters such as checkout, (3) Monitor your CHILDREN to ensure that they follow these hygiene protocols.  Regarding (1), 6 feet does not equal 3 feet.  Six feet is a lot more like 6 feet.  Like a fishing pole.  Or a tall person on a luge.  Or 12 big iPhones glued end-to-end with old syrup.  Regarding (2), just do it.  Regarding (3), kids are like dogs and we mean that in the best possible way.  Everyone assumes that their dog is the cutest and friendliest and best behaved.  Same with their kids.  But remember that – while your working assumption is almost certainly true – a stranger might not want your shiny little cherub getting all up in their kitchen right now.  Kiss-of-death kind of stuff.  We know that herding kids can be like putting socks on a rooster, but that’s what you signed up for.  So, while we do not recommend leashes for the kids, we’re asking you for a good faith effort at monitoring and real-time constructive instruction about personal space.  A good principle in general, but this year in particular, remember that one tiny pathogen has caused TREMENDOUS suffering.  Even though Ithaca has been fortunate, covid is still with us, despite the prediction of one luminary that, “…it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,” and advice from the very same to, “Just stay calm.  It will go away.”  Oh, and one more:  (4) Finally, for now, do not bring your own BAGS or containers, to protect the health of our workers and other customers.  We will keep up with state recommendations for u-pick farms as the season unfolds.  Thank you for being the best customers anywhere.  It will be nice to see you here again.

Another point of business, a simple word about inclusivity – everyone is welcome.  That has always been the case at The ‘Creek.  We’re not normal and you don’t have to be either.  Come one, come all.  Just be kind.  Photo by long-time Farmketeer Hannah.

And now back to agriculture.  Top crop for many of you is donuts.  You can get them Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11:00 to 5:00.  The Mark 2 Donut Robot will be churning out fresh fried rings of fructotic splendor – sprinkled with cinnamon sugar if you must.  Simply say, “A sprinkle of sin, sugar.”  Nick the Donut Kid is back.  Keep him in your thoughts if the line gets long.  If demand for strawberries outstrips supply, have no fear, donuts are here.

Scapes and slushees are here too.  Wash down your donuts with lemon slushees and then redeem yourself with fresh picked garlic scapes – these tender shoots will lift your spirits when sizzled in a pan and drizzled with balsamic.

What else is ready to pick?  For now just strawberries.  But henceforth we will be open 7 days a week til Novemberish.  That means a parade of crops – lord willing the creek don’t rise and she don’t bust out the Dust Bowl.  Starts with strawberries then garlic then raspberries and peaches and plums and tomatoes and peppers and pears and apples and eggplant and pumpkins and sprouts and all that.  Now starts the harvest.

A warm welcome to our newest ‘Creekniks!  Over 1,200 new people have subscribed to get Fresh Crop Alerts in the past few weeks.  Veteran Farmketeers, please show them how things work if you see a newbie lost in the orchards.  We’re all in this together.  But you can pick your fill before you show them the BEST picking spots.  You’ve earned it.

Another insider notion.  The Fresh Crop Alert system works pretty good:  If you get these weekly emails, you’ll stay abreast of the crops, more or less.  But there will be many moments throughout the season when we need to push out a message fast — like, “Whoa, peaches need picking TODAAYYYY!” – but we don’t want to bother you with 3 or 4 emails a week.  Social media is the channel for that kind of reportage, so it would be a good idea to follow our Facebook and Instagram feeds to surf the continual ebbing and flowing of croppage.  We’ll start posting now that the season is going.

Love to y’all.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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