Peace Be Unto Y’allll! Last Glob of Farm Nonsense for the Season; But, Still Open with Cider, Sprouts, and Apples Til Further Notice.

LOYAL ‘CREEKNIKS:  All signs say we are on the downward slope to offseason oblivion.  Heck, one sign even harkens back to the days of subprime rates, instructing you to “pay what you think it’s worth.”  We can’t slide much further down the slope of ignominious business models than that.  Nonetheless you can assume the farm is still a going concern and open until further notice.  We’ll say otherwise at some point.

Yes, iCreek is still open every day.  You can get fresh cider jugs in the cooler, Brussels sprouts in the field or at the stand, and Empire apples for 95¢ a pound.  You can visit between 8 AM and 5 PM (or so) and use the honor system.  It’s cash only now.  You just jam your bills into the gray metal box.

That’s the news for this week.  Now it’s time for the real propaganda:  THANK YOU TO ALL FARMKETEERS for our best season ever.  By far!  Thousands of you have posted your farm visits on Instagram.  Look at all these great times…

And that ain’t even the half of it.  We have the best, sweetest, most laid-back customers on the Pale Blue Dot – where “every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives” (Carl Sagan).  Thank you all for being weird and easygoing.  And for spending your ducats locally at a small farm.

Well, everyone, this is the last weekly newsletter of the year, but we won’t say sayonara just yet.  Within two weeks you’ll get the annual spiel about Apple Gift Boxes.  You’ll be able to order online and send a beautiful box of heritage apples to your friends and families.  Meanwhile, hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Donut Birds Take Wing; Empire Apples Hold Pat; a Farmketeer of Extraordinary Credentials; and, a Touching Epistle That Seems to Urge, “Keep Farming.”

EVERYBODY KNOWS that donut birds fly south in November.  We ought to be able to steel ourselves.  But it hurts.  It hurts and it just happened.  THE END.

Well that was a bit DRAMA QUEENYYYIt’s true that the donuts flew the coop – they were seen yesterday soaring over Taughannock which is north of here but remember that donuts fly in large circles (duh) eventually ending up south – but it is not THE END.  The farm stand is still open.
Every day, you can get the following farm-fresh items:  Cider, apples, pears, garlic, onions, taters, sprouts, honey, and syrup.  The cider is pressed fresh every week.  Taters got plucked from the ground the other day.  Sprouts are still in the ground if you want to lop them yourself.  Remember Empire apples are still ON SALE for 95¢ per pound.  You obliterated the Cortlands and Galas.  Good on yas!

And now for the Farmketeer of the Week.  A most extraordinary one.  Credentials nonpareil.  Possibly even overachieving.  Check it out.  So we’re having a wee dram at the Finger Lakes Cider House up the road and the host says, “I’ve been reading Fresh Crop Alerts for SIX YEARS SINCE THE VERY BEGINNING, and me and my friends, we used to have planning parties where we’d read the alerts together and scheme our weekly farm visits THEN I moved to Chicago for 5 years and read them the whole time I was gone AND now I’m back and I read them every week AND I send your apple gift boxes to my family in Texas and Chicago every year AND I’m making a miniature apple-themed quilt.  Do I win?  Do I win Farmketeer?”  Well, geez, Karin P.  Does an apple farmer bleed sweet cider?  Yeah, you win.

This week we find encouragement in a touching note from farm fan Amanda L., who would have won Farmketeer of the Week if not for Karin P. who obviously had it on lock down since 2012.  Amanda’s post on Facebook reminded us of why we have opened this farm to the community, why we invite the public to bumrush the place every weekend and throw tantrums when we run out of donuts, indeed why we keep farming at all (it ain’t for the 401k):  “I truly love this place, everyone is so kind, my husband and I came here today to go for a walk because it’s just so wonderful here, and as we were coming back and it was closing you offered us free donuts, it was so kind.  I have never been to a business that is so kind to customers or just visitors, I was surprised and so thankful.  As I very much enjoy coming here, I also brought my preschool classroom here a few weeks ago, it was such a wonderful time.  I love this farm and it’s bittersweet that the winter months are coming.”  Thank you, Amanda, for making us cry in our cereal!  Thank you, Farmketeers!

Go ahead.  Laugh in derision at our hillbilly cobjob Mad Max digging rig.  Yes it is homemade and yes those apple crates are filled with concrete doped with steel scraps.  Yes some parts of the machine are ACTUALLY held together by duct tape and bailing wire.  We’re not putting on airs.

But the “Tall Boy” is humming like never before.  A recent DIY session in the barn, powered by arctic blast anxiety and @gimmecoffee cappuccinos, gave us a sense of small-time, everyday, unsung heroics.  So we’re singing about it here.

You lock six human brains in a barn with a vintage, asthmatic, temperamental mechanical beast… something good might happen.  Thus 40,000 baby fruit trees will be saved from winter’s bite as we trundle through the nursery rows this week.  You dig the digger?

Winter is a time for reflection.  But don’t get too reflecty!  You’ll freak yourself out.  Step outdoors even when it’s not strictly necessary.  Explore your Finger Lakes.  Come to the farm anytime.  Hike around.  Use the playground.  Cut Brussels sprouts in the snow…

…even curse the gods at the top of your lungs.  Let it rip.  Nobody will hear you in the orchards.  We won’t report you to the thought police.  Of course your thoughts become our intellectual property, but that is a minor concern.  You can trust us.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Bright Orchard Lights in the Darkening Times; Fresh Cider and U-Pick Sprouts; Big 95¢ Apple Sale; and, Weekend Donuts.

SOME SAY HOORAY; some say, No way!  When that single hour of light moves to the morning from the night, you get winners and losers.  Should we split it down the middle with the hatchet of compromise?  Give 30 minutes to the morning larks and half an hour to the nightbirds?  60-40?  It won’t matter.  However you chop it, there is less sunlight to go around.  So we have to look for lights where we can find them.

How about these burning beacons in the orchard?  The kickass kindergarteners of Enfield Elementary School left us the biggest, brightest thank you note you’ll ever see!  Makes us soooo proud!  It was our privilege to host ye little scapegraces!  Obviously our Farmketeers of the Week.  Livelier than a troupe of two-tailed puppies.  Nobody else stood a chance.

Here’s the “Brownie Picker” they’re talking about.  Brownies don’t grow on trees, but apples do and Brownie helps us reach them.  Also allows Farmer Dusky to make rousing speeches to the apples – they are great listeners and never interrupt.  He will take questions at the end.

Another bright light:  You can still get appley donuts and heirloom treats such as Ashmead’s Kernel.  These live at opposite ends of the apple spectrum.  Highly processed fried wheat flour doped with white sugar, on the one hand, and exotic heritage fruit handpicked off the tree, on the other.  They each have a place and a purpose.  Donuts served on Saturday and Sunday 10 to 4.  Apples available every day.

Still shining in the darkness is our BIG 95¢ APPLE CLEARANCE SALE on Gala, Empire, and Cortland.  People have been loading up for making pies, crisps, snacks, rings, and lunchbox stuffers.  At 95¢ per pound, even Paul Manafort can afford a bag after posting his $12.5 million bail including Trump Tower apartment.

Orchard Ambrosia still flows.  Get your gallons and half-gallons in the fridge at the stand.  Get extra and freeze it.  It freezes great.  Apples will be gone soon.  Homebrewers, drop off your carboys now or wait 322 days to get the finest unpasteurized booze-making nectar in the land.  Leave your bottles inside the doors that say “Do Not Enter.”  Write your name and phone on the bottle.  We will call you when filled.  We are pressing at least once a week.  Price is $8/gal which drops to $7/gal when you order 6+ gallons.

Brussels sprouts are hitting peak season.  They like it chilly and even snowy.  Come lop your own.  Find the piano in the field and the loppers should be leaning nearby if your fellow Farmketeers had the shred of decency to put them back.

A light from distant lands.  Welcome to Kazakhstan, NY.  We are recreating the ancestral homeland of the apple right here at Indian Creek.  Exotic and heirloom apples in a jumbled miniature orchard.  From Sieversii Malus to Wickson Crab to Redfield to Storm Apple No. 13… Oh the picking will be done in a forest of fun.  Coming soonish.

Perhaps the brightest light of all.  This deal will really bring ‘Creekniks clamoring out of their caves.  Our ANNUAL DEAD FLOWER SALE starts now.  Take them all.  Free.  Arrive early.  It’s gonna be like Black Friday around here.

We are still open every day 8 to 5.  Farm Kitty is in charge of the stand on weekdays.  Thus it is self-serve.  There is a gray metal box for cash.  You can use credit cards on the weekends.  You will find us here Saturday and Sunday by the woodstove with donuts (served til 4 pm) and a half-decent attitude if you catch us at the right moment.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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This Farm is Not Dead Yet: Still Open with 95¢ Apple Sale, Cider, Sprouts, Donuts; and, a Deep Question About Your Life.

DEAR LOVER OF LOCAL FOODS:  Are you a Farmketeer or ‘Creeknik?  Have you ever pondered this existential dilemma?  Have you mulled it with cloves and cardamom?

A Farmketeer is all business.  Always on the move.  Flapping her wings.  Scoring first crack at fresh crops.  Picking apples with two hands.  Never squeezing the peaches.  Keeping the farm buzzing.  Singing to the sprouts.  Our Farmketeers of the Week:  These two l’il dumplins who popped up on our Instagram feed.  You are an inspiration.

A ‘Creeknik is a creature of the porch.  The universal, cosmic, intergalactic Front Porch.  She watches the cavalcade of seasons, sipping on a mint julep.  Scoops up the last of each crop.  Never forgets that languor and indolence are the creators of improbable new worlds.  “Just because I’m daydreaming doesn’t mean I’m not working.”  A ‘Creeknik is never forceful, always purposeful.  She finds a way to harvest grape leaves even when she feels like a couch potato.

Which flavor are you?  Luckily, you don’t have to decide today.  But Lord knows the day will come.  We have seen the signs.  Saint Ichabod of Assisi appeared in the herb garden.  So you might take this moment to start thinking about your essence.  Farmketeer?  ‘Creeknik?  Either way, for the time being, we have something for each of you.

95¢ Apple Sale – Empire, Gala, Cortland.  Get these while supplies last for eating, saucing, baking.  Load up for 95¢ per pound.  Already picked and ready at the farm stand.  Priced to move.  Heck, when you get here, you can even tell us that you want the EXTRA SPECIAL 94¢ deal.  We’re cutting deals like Papadopoulous.  We don’t keep pennies in the drawer.  FYI.

Exotics and heirlooms.  Have you ever caught yourself voting for the pretty candidate?  The one with the gleaming teeth and superb coiffure?  Only to find out they’re a charlatan or worse – vapid?  How about the humble one with the scars and gnarls and crow’s feet and wizening?  Try Golden Russet and others now that Honeycrisp season is a distant memory.

Scabby, blemished apples make great cider.  Our sweet cider and slushees continue.  Fresh, cold-pressed Orchard Ambrosia.  Unpasteurized.  We squeeze the fruit.  You drink the nectar.  Important bulletin:  When we run out of apples, we can’t make cider.  This will happen soon.  Some of you really loveeeeee Ambrosia.  Stock up.  It freezes beautifully.

Donuts are still going 10 to 4 on Saturday and Sunday.  They were supposed to be a sideshow but they’ve taken on a life of their own.  That probably means that when you’re out here picking fruits and vegetables, you work up a hunger for a treat.  What should we add next year?  Local ice cream with farm fresh peach and raspberry sauces?  Handcut French fries with herbs from the garden?  Sweets or savories?  You can email the treat committee if you want:  Plant the seed now and give us 9 months to pull it together.

Brief commercial break for cat and kitten.  They are getting along pretty good now.  When they’re sleeping.  Got to build on the positives wherever you can find em.

Drop off your carboys now.  Do not wait.  When apples are gone, no more booze juice.  Leave your bottles at the farm stand inside the double doors that say “Do Not Enter, Employees Only.”  Write your name and phone on the bottle.  We will call you after next pressing.  Price is $8/gal which drops to $7/gal when you order more than 5 gallons.

You can pick more sprouts this week.  Come lop your own stalks in the field by piano #3.  Many of you have never seen a stalk of sprouts.  First strip off the leaves, then lop, then pop the sprouts off the stalk for cooking.  Fry them with bacon or roast and drizzle with balsamic reduction.  Singe the tips a little.

We still have honey from two local families:  Five Pads Farm (just up the street) and Gil’s Honeybees based in town.  Nice people.  Local bees.  Great way to support small, local food producers.  Find their jars at the stand.

There’s Sean from Five Pads Farm.  Get his garlic at the stand and roast it up.  Spreads like butter.  His maple syrup is on display, too.  Heat it up a little and pour over nuts.

Look at this cat-o-lantern in honor of Fe Fe and Mou Mou.  Since they’re getting along better.  Joanna overachieved on this one.  Anything for the furballs.

We are out in the nursery these days, digging 40,000 baby fruit trees and putting them into these pretty bins for winter storage.  That means we’ll let the farm stand go self-serve during the weekdays.  Open 8 to 5 every day.  You’ll see us here on the weekends.  We expect to stay open a few more weeks, perhaps til Thanksgiving.  Thus you might get another few newsletters, then things will taper off for the winter.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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95¢ a Pound Apple Clearance Sale; Fresh Cider, Sprouts, and Donuts; Pumpkins Kaput; Thank You for Flexing Your Brussels Muscles!

DEAR FARMKETEERS:  One acre of New York farmland provides an average of 1,000 meals each year.  But since the 1980s, New York has lost half a million acres of farmland to development.  Those lands could have produced 500 million local meals this year alone.  Half a billion meals.

Such sobering facts, from the American Farmland Trust, have us feeling thankful for two things:  For all you locavores who keep The ‘Creek humming with your visits, and for conservation organizations, such as our hometown Finger Lakes Land Trust, who make it their business – day in, day out, year after year – to save land forever.  Not easy work.

Those two ideas – Farmketeers and farmland forever – coalesced beautifully this week.  You raised $500 for the Land Trust by picking Brussels sprouts!  Indian Creek Farm is protected forever by a conservation easement, and we want to see other prime agricultural lands saved.  Some of you asked if you could donate directly to the Land Trust.  You can become a member and see their map of nature preserves where you can go exploring free.

You can pick more sprouts this week.  Another week or so and the crop will be gone.  Come lop your own stalks in the field by piano #3.  Many of you have never seen a stalk of sprouts.  First you strip off the leaves, then you lop, then pop the sprouts off the stalk for cooking.  Fry them with bacon or roast and drizzle with balsamic reduction.  Singe the tips a little.

Donuts continue.  In this classic Middle-East-meets-West pairing, Brussels sprouts give the foodie a deeper appreciation of donut kebabs.  Served Saturday and Sunday (off the skewer) 10 AM to 6 PM til we shutter the Donut Hole for the season… which will be soon when you’ve cleared the farm of crops.

Cider and slushees continue.  This is fresh pressed Orchard Ambrosia.  Unpasteurized.  We squeeze the fruit.  You drink the nectar.  Important announcement:  When we run out of apples, we can’t make cider.  This will happen soon.  Some of you really loveeeeee it.  Stock up if you do.  It freezes beautifully.

Drop off your carboys now.  Do not wait.  When apples are gone, no more juice for booze.  Leave your bottles at the farm stand inside the double doors that say “Do Not Enter, Employees Only.”  Write your name and phone on the bottle.  We will call you after next pressing.  Price is $8/gal which drops to $7/gal when you order more than 5 gallons.

Gala apple sale!  95¢ a pound!  These are the LAST APPLES OF THE YEAR.   Y’all picked everything else.  We picked these.  You can go into the orchard and pick Gala apples – just not off a tree!  You will find them in crates around the orchard and also at the farm stand.  Galas were the stars of the show in our caramel apples at Apple Fest.  These are delicious dessert apples.  Last chance for a year.

Empire apple sale!  95¢ a pound!  These are the LAST APPLES OF THE YEAR.  Same deal as Gala, you can find them in crates around the orchard and also at the farm stand.   A cross between Mac and Delicious.  A shiny red lunchbox apple that does not bruise easily.

Pumpkins are kaput.  Picked clean.  Oh you might be one of the lucky few to find a pumpkin hiding somewhere on the farm.  But your fellow Farmketeers hoovered up the thousands that once were here and now are gone.

Farmketeers of the Week:  Erin and Devin McCauley.They clearly came dressed to impress!  Erin knitted her apple cap expressly for their trip to The ‘Creek, finishing just minutes before they arrived.  Committed and knitted!

We will be at Wizarding Weekend a.k.a. Potter Party. Find us in the middle of the magic.  We’ll have bubble, bubble, toil, and trouble in our copper cauldron.  Potions and elixirs.

Hooray, ‘Creekniks, you did it!  You showed your MUSCLES by picking BRUSSELS!  You raised $500 for the Finger Lakes Land Trust.  Thank you!  And thanks to Hannah at the Land Trust for picking sprouts then throwing herself a sprout-themed birthday party.  Whatever it takes to save land forever!  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Cram a Bag Full of Pumpkins ($20), Pick the Last Wave of Apples, Go Sprouting to Save Open Space in Finger Lakes Farm Country.

“BORN TIRED, RAISED LAZY.”  That’s what folks used to say about people who act like Zorro.  But we know better these days.  After all, who can say what wild energies and frenetic cogitations are banging around in a big, beautiful brain like Zorro’s?  No one can say.  Perhaps not even Zorro.

“Snow on the roof, fire in the hearth.”  Maybe that’s closer to the truth.  Beneath Zorro’s placid, wintry fluff rattles a neural abacus that’s calculating full supernova 22 hours a day.  He hasn’t won any science prizes, but not for lack of innovation or sheer knowledge production.  In fact his theory on pumpkin collisions damn near beat the gravity wave people to it.  And he wasn’t even really trying.

Zorro theorized that when pumpkins collide, infinitesimal undulations reverberate through the fabric of spacetime.  Indeed, confirmation of the very same phemomenon in black hole collisions earned 3 physicists the 2017 Nobel Prize last week.  Those first gravitational waves observed on earth took 1.3 billion years to arrive from the collision point.  Zorro is cosmic eons ahead of his time.

In celebration of Zorro’s tireless pursuit of the truth, we are having a $20 All-You-Can-Cram Pumpkin Sale.  Stuff a ‘Creeksack full of pumpkins for only $20 — and get the reusable bag FREE!  This one held over 28 pounds!  You can also buy pumpkins onesie-twosie, but that would not honor Zorro’s ingenious suggestion to cram multiple pumpkins into a single bag.  Total mindbender.

Did you know that 5,000 New York farms have been paved over since the 1980s?  That’s 3 farms a week.  You can help save farmland and open spaces right here in the Finger Lakes region by picking Brussels sprouts now.  All you have to do is cut your own stalks and pay at the stand!  From each stalk ($6), we will donate $3 to the Finger Lakes Land Trust, a trusted local conservation organization that protects farmland and creates public nature preserves.  You might already love to hike some of their preserves:  Lick Brook Gorge and Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve as seen on the Land Trust’s new outdoor recreation site Go Finger Lakes.

Did you know that Indian Creek is protected forever by an agricultural conservation easement?  It cannot be paved over for a strip mall or mini-mart.  This is productive and scenic agricultural land and it will be permanently.  You can help the Land Trust protect other farms in our region by simply coming out to pick sprouts!  We want to raise $500.  That’s 167 stalks.  Help us now through Sunday!

Over 20,000 acres of farmlands, forests, wetlands, lakeshores and gorges have been conserved forever by the Finger Lakes Land Trust.  Please come out this weekend to lop your own sprouts and help save more priceless open spaces in our beautiful corner of New York.  GO SPROUTING!

“Like the Incredible Hulk, Mutsu is huge, green, and strangely lovable.”  Apples of Uncommon Character further explains that Mutsu apples are reliably great, “a joyous crunch fest filled with Golden Delicious-style honey aromas.”  Bleeding edge Farmketeers have already made a dent in the Mutsu crop; now the rest of you can jump in before they are gone.  Pick for fresh eating; also some of the best bakers you can get.

Northern Spy apples in the Vintage Orchard.  Find the red ribbons which have turn pinked with years of sun.  Aficionados hold the Northern Spy in highest regard.  People write to us from all over asking if we have them.  You’ve picked all the spies in the Dwarf Orchard, but there are still some to be picked on the big old trees of the Vintage Orchard.  These are delicious, firm, acidic dessert apples which also make brilliant pies.  Remember, “spies make pies.”

Good old Red Delicious.  Farmer Steve’s all-time flavorite.  Possibly the most popular apple in America by the volumes moved in grocery stores.  You can pick them here in the Vintage Orchard right off trees that are almost as old as the variety itself, introduced at Peru, Iowa, in 1881.  If you reach for an apple on a blue-ribboned tree, it’s Red Delicious… or Rome Beauty.  We used blue ribbons on both types, just to keep you guessing.  Or maybe because we ran out of ribbbon colors 8 years ago and, you know, change is hard.  The Romes look like Christmas balls.  The Reds look like grocery stores.  Either way, good picking right now on the Reds and Romes.

Fresh pressed Orchard Ambrosia.  Unpasteurized.  We squeeze the fruit.  That’s all.  You’re basically drinking the sweet nectar of trees.  Important announcement:  When we run out of apples, we can’t make cider.  This could happen soon.  Stock up if you love it.  It freezes beautifully.

Drop off your carboys now.  Do not wait.  When apples are gone, no more booze-making juice.  Leave your bottles at the farm stand inside the wooden doors that say “Do Not Enter, Employees Only.”  Write your name and phone on the bottle.  We will call you after next pressing.  Price is $8/gal which drops to $7/gal when you order more than 5 gallons.

Donuts, too, are made with apple cider.  So ya better come get em while we still have cider.  Serving Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 6 PM.  Chase them with a cider slushee or hot cider or cold cider.  All 3 forms are available every day.

Veggie lovers, if you’re picking the last veggies of the year, try Indian Creek “Salsa 1-2-3from previous Farmketeer of the Week Jamie Kemmerer.  (1) Pick tomatillos, tomatoes, and peppers, mixing poblano, jalapeño, and serrano to meet your need for heat; (2) Roast on the grill with an onion until the peppers are charred, the garlic is soft, and the tomatillos are bubbly; (3) Combine in a food processor, season with cilantro and salt.  That’s all it takes to enjoy the freshest, most delicious salsa you’ll ever have!

Farmketeer of the Week (FOW):  Aquillah of the Apples & Sprouts!  This is a first.  An FOW who has never set foot on the farm.  Yet!  We couldn’t resist upon seeing Aquila’s fabulous headbands at the Finger Lakes Land Trust office.  Showing big time farm country spirit with apples on her head!

Who wears Brussels sprouts to work?!  Aquillah!  If any of you ‘Creekniks wears sprouts to work, well that’s just groovy.  You deserve to be in some small farm’s newsletter.

Farmketeers, time to put up or shut up.  Put up apple sauce, apple butter, dried apple rings, frozen apple cider.  This is possibly last call for abundant apple picking.  We are here every day 8 AM til a half-hour before dark.  Which is getting earlier.  Won’t you help us finish the apple harvest strong and pick sprouts to save more land?  GO SPROUTING!  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Your Wandering Farm Country Doctor Prescribes Vitamin “P” as the Salve for Early Onset Winter Blues: Pumpkins, Picking, and Pranayamadonutta.

DO NOT BE ASHAMED, Dear Farmketeer.  You are not alone.  Many people feel it.  We fray as the days fly south.  Sleep gets spotty.  Good people run scared.  Farmers, in particular, have mountains of seasonal work to do – but less daylight to squeeze it in.  Snowbirds escape; the rest must accept.

But we have each other.  And Edgar.  Yes, Farm Fans, the Dubious Doctor is in town on his country rounds, ministering to orchard misfits and ‘Creekniks in need.  After expounding on recent developments in the literature – whether it is medical literature is anyone’s guess – the Southern Surgeon continues his crusade against Big Farma by offering a simple prescription in his gentle Pennsyltucky drawl, “Vitamin P is the man for what ails ye.  Copious quantities and don’t hold back.”
P is for PICKING!  Mutsu apples.  As big as pumpkins.  Many of you have been waiting for this moment.  The Mutsu is known as the “oven buster” in the small English town of Pocklington.  The old ladies say you pick a big Mutsu, pop it in the oven, and out comes a snack for two.  Tea time, puppet!  These are famously versatile for fresh eating and pies.

P is for PUTTING UP.  Get Cortland apples on sale for only $1 per pound.  At over 40% off, that’s perfect for putting up lots of sauce!  You can pick them yourself on yellow ribbon trees in the Vintage Orchard, or simply get the ones we picked at the farm stand.  Beautiful and versatile Cortland apples are delicious for SNACKS, wonderful for SAUCE, perfect for lunch boxes and SALADS because they don’t brown quickly.

P is for PICKING.  Splendour apples.  A popular dessert apple in New Zealand, where it was developed.   Stores well in the fridge, but take care when handling as they bruise easily.  Pick Splendour in Row 17. 

P is for PUMPKINS.  Bowie has found his dream pumpkin.  Will you come find yours?  You can find them right at the farm stand or out in the pumpkin patch by the Brussels sprouts.  Pricing for each pumpkin is 55¢ a pound (< 5 lbs), 45¢ a pound (5-15 lbs), or 35¢ a pound (>15 lbs).

P is for PRANAYAMADONUTTA – the ancient yoga practice of breathing mindfully between donuts.  In the asana shown above, called Downward Facing Donut, first you inhale a donut, then exhale, then inhale another donut.  Come on, yogis, you got this!  We will support you in your practice Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 6 PM.

P is for PLACEBO.  Pick Brussels Sprouts.  When nothing else seems to work, reach for the magic potion of placebo.  Placebo comes from the Latin word placebo meaning “I shall please.”  Indeed you shall please your mind and body with these nutrition bombs.  Who knows if they are actually good for you, we are not doctors.  They just feel good.  And each year they appear just in time, as if by some master plan.  Note that the Dubious Doctor cautions us:  “Kittens in the doghouse don’t make em puppies.”  That’s his way of saying better to face reality.  But he pops a sprout in his mouth as a chaser to this puzzling pronouncement.

P is for PLAYGROUND.  Here we have a child monk practicing tractor yoga.  This advanced asana, called The Exorcist, is not to be attempted until just before enlightenment.  Someone get the holy water.  Ommmmm.

P is for CIDER.  That’s right, Goody Two Shoes, we make the rules around here and P stands for cider.  Orchard Ambrosia is fresh PRESSED with a capital P every week and sometimes several times a week like when YOU DRANK 100 GALLONS last Saturday.  Farmer Steve himself had to drag ass down to the cider press first thing Sunday morning to make more.  You people are insannnnneeee for cider.

P is for PICKUP YOUR CARBOY.  First drop it off at the farm stand – inside the wooden doors that say “Do Not Enter, Employees Only.”  Write your name and phone on the bottle somewhere.  We will give you a buzz (ahem) after we fill it at the next pressing.  Price is $8/gallon which drops to $7/gallon when you order more than 5 gallons.  Now’s the time.  Do not wait.  Apples will be gone.

P is for PRETTY EFFING CUTE.  Your Farmketeer of the Week for October 12, 2017, is little Eloise.  And ain’t she sweet?  Come back anytime, kid, the world is your pumpkin.

P is for PLEASE & THANK YOU.  Please read this short message from the Underwood Family – that’s Farmer Dusky and Alder and Kelsey and Henry.  They grew their first corn crop this year, and you Farmketeers snarfed it up.  Dusky says,  “We would like to thank you all so much for trying out our sweet corn this year!  It was a long and hard process during our first season of growing.  We learned so much and can’t wait until next season so we can do it even better!  Thank you for being there while we figured everything out.  We look forward to seeing you around the farm.  Thank you!”

P is for PRAYER.  No force on earth can stop the exodus of photons, the huge flocks of light particles that are flapping off to the south.  But we can do like Fe Fe and send heartfelt beseachments to the meowniverse.  “Please send the light back when it pleases thee, O Mysterious Cosmic Furball.”

P is for PARTY.  Many of you have asked about the Pigs-n-Apples Party of a few years ago.  It was deliciously fun but an awful lot of barely controlled chaos for us farmers at harvest time.  We hope to bring it back one day.  We did host one little soiree:  Eve’s Cidery and The Piggery joined us for a glorious fall evening of boutique, farm chic, Finger Lakes agriculinary edutainment.  Great to see 30 of you round the table taking a genuine interest in cider production and apple growing.
Meanwhile you can INVITE US to all the parties you want to throw.  That would be most welcome!  “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” cried Dylan Thomas.  “And take your Vitamin P,” cries the Doctor.  Is he a charlatan shaman of the utmost depravity?  Take your medicine and see.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Holiday Weekend = Pick Sprouts, Pumpkins, 10 Kinds of Apples; Watch Out for Spies on the Farm! Donuts and Slushees for 3 Days!

DEAR ‘CREEKNIKS:  Do you remember the collect call?  Let us explain for our Generation Z readers.  A collect call was when you gave your friend or lover the privilege of hearing your voice on the phone – and the privilege of paying for it.  A splendid invention from yesteryear.

Harvest season is a grand collect call.  Such lovely fruits and vegetables come calling.  They waltz back into our lives after a year of silence – and we accept the charges.  We know the bill will come.  It is called winter.  The cost of seasonal food is the very changing of the seasons.  But for now, in the blessed month of October, we revel in the voices.  We lounge into pillow talk.  We whisper sweet nothings.  We blurt out, “I’ve missed you and I love you!”

You accept the charges from Brussels Sprouts!  Your heart flutters.  It has been a whole year since you heard from tall and slender, green-eyed Bruss.  You can lop your own sprouts starting now.  Growing just east of the pepper field.

Last week this sign meant, “Do not enter.”  This week it means high five!  Please tromp into the sprout field with the loppers and cut your stalks.  They are profoundly nutritious and, given their provocative appearance, work great as party favors.  You can make a fabulous entrance into any company wearing your pink boa and carrying two or three stalks.

Just watch what you say on the phone; spies are everywhere this time of year.  They come in the most outlandish disguises.  Prairie Spy, Northern Spy, and Spigold (left to right) are all ready for u-pick.  These are brilliant pie apples that store well.  Find them in Rows 16-17 of the Dwarf Orchard; red ribbons in the Vintage Orchard.

Autumn Gala is ready, too!  Also a wonderful pie apple.  If you enjoy Gala, featured in our caramel apples at Apple Harvest Festival, you will like Autumn Gala.  It is merely a mutation that ripens later.  Pick them in Row 15.

Another sneaky apple, Sir Prize.  And, no surprise, terrific for pies.  Very sweet and juicy.  Crisp and tender.  A cross between Golden Delicious and the even more mysteriously named PRI 14-152.  Sir Prize is hard to find, but we grow them at The ‘Creek.  Pick Sir Prize in Row 17. 

Cortland continues.  A fabulous fresh eater with over 119 years of New York history behind it.  Does not rapidly oxidize after cutting.  It retains bright white flesh, making it ideal for fruit salads, lunch boxes, and displays.  Pick them on yellow-ribboned trees in the Vintage Orchard.

Pumpkin season proper.  Farmer Steve predicts a mad run on the pumpkin patch this year – we will get picked out early.  So don’t wait til a week before Halloween.  Find your dream pumpkin in the patch or at the stand.

Last chance for tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers!  We did not get the frost last weekend, so veggies keep plugging along.  Time to put them up for the offseason.  Pick beefsteaks, cherries, heirlooms, Romas, Marzanos, poblanos, jalapeños, cayennes, serranos, habaneros, chilis, Italian eggplants, Japanese eggplants, and fairytales.  Find them all in the field above the Brussels sprouts.

Fresh-pressed cider every week.  This is old-fashioned, unpasteurized Orchard Ambrosia.  Get it by the gallon and half-gallon.  Freezes beautifully.  Also filling carboys now!  Drop off your carboys inside the double doors at the farm stand with your name and phone number.  We will fill them at the next pressing thereafter and give you a buzz.  So to speak.  Carboys are $8/gallon for 5 gallons or less, $7/gallon for 6+ gallons.

Extended donut weekend!  You can get fresh apple cider donuts on all 3 days of the long holiday weekend.  Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 10 AM to 6 PM.  Slushees will be flowing, too.  And hot and cold cider.  Kapow!

Last super sweet corn of the year!  Down to the last few hundred ears!  Crop will NOT outlast the holiday weekend crowds.  Anyway people get weird about summer corn after cool October weather hits.  They only want corn in a can after that.

Farmketeer of the Week:  Olivia Royale, your local handcraft hatmaker!  See her work at @easylivinghats – Ithaca’s own travel and adventure accessories using all natural fibers.  Cute pear bag and sunflower hat pictured at The ‘Creek.

Our new buddy Bowie says, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  Actually that was Anne of Green Gables.  But Bowie agrees.  “It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?”

So put on your farmy flannels and accept the charges.  Come kick around the orchards.  Lop yourself a sprout.  We are here every day from 8 o’clock til a half-hour before dark, which is sneaking up closer every day.  Sneaking up like a Northern Spy.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Deep Thoughts on Apples, Donuts, Tomatoes, Pumpkins; and, Your Local Produce Picking Report for the Turn of October.

DEAR FARMKETEER:  Please say apple.  Out loud.  A few more times:  apple, apple, apple.  If there is someone who can hear you, no problem, it might start a conversation.  If you are alone, even better, let the word-apples bounce off the walls and back into your own ears.  Now you are ready for today’s sermon.

“It is not with the lyre of someone in love that I go seducing people.  The rattle of the leper is what sings in my hands.”  That’s Farmer Steve wearing a baby hat, reciting the great poet Anna Akhmatova.  Sheesh.  Some people really know how to put heavy thoughts into words.

Liberty – Another heavy thought packed into a word.  “Give me Liberty or give me death!” shouted Patrick Henry.  “Liberty or Death” says the Greek national motto.  Whether you are rebelling against the British, the Ottomans, or just your own inner hegemond, come pick Liberty apples now.  They are a 1978 cross between Macoun and a secret Malus floribunda variety.  Take your Liberties now in Row 15.

Fortune – Another whopper of an idea.  A heavy concept.  Is bigger better?  Is more ever enough?  Fortunes are positively gargantuan this year.  Abundant rain.  Crispy and chunky.  A touch of spice.  A cross between Empire and Schoharie Spy.  Think about that:  empire + spy = fortune.  Deep and dark stuff!  Find your Fortunes now in Row 15.

Snowsweet – Not as deep sounding.  A mild-mannered, cold-hardy variety from Minnesota.  Possibly Lutheran.  Generation Z, born in 2006.  A hybrid of Sharon apples and Connell Red.  Described as “sweet, tart, and almost buttery” by the university’s Office for Technology Commercialization.  Hmm, maybe a heavy thought after all.  The apple as technology.  And what does “almost” buttery mean?  Very suspicious!  Pick Snowsweet now in Row 15.

Jonagold – Born in ’43.  Doesn’t get much heavier than that.  Were its parents honorable or deplorable during the war?  Does it inherit the best characteristics from its parents Jonathan and Golden Delicious?  Come decide for yourself.  Pick Jonagold now in Row 16.

Cortland – Our hometown apple?  There is no apple called Ithaca or Route 96 or Indian Creek.  There is an apple named King of Tompkins County, but we reject tyrants!  And it is from New Jersey.  So Cortland is probably our homie.  A child of McIntosh and Ben Davis, crossed in 1898 at the Cornell Geneva Agricultural Experiment Station.  “The flavor is tart and tangy, but not emphatically so, and juicy to the point of messiness,” writes Apples author Roger Yepsen.  Pick Cortland in the Vintage Orchard (yellow ribbons).

“I daresay this is the best corn of the year,” texted Farmer Dusky.  A bold claim from a corn rookie who has produced seriously supersweet ears already this season.  Attention, folks!  This is the last great wave of corn for 2017.  Load up on 2 dozen ears for only $10.

Bravo, you’ve picked all the pears.  Speaking of pears, this pair is doing an exemplary job.  Jessi Hersh and Stephan Herard, our donut models of the week, are demonstrating the bite-size nature of the donuts.  We received two Facebook complaints, out of thousands of donut lovers served, that these should be marketed as donut HOLES.  Problem is, these would-be donut holes have holes IN THEM.  So you see our reluctance to create a new class of topological object, a hole with a hole.  Way above our math certification.  Served Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 6 PM.

At long last, hot nights have brought the tomatoes around!  Your brisk picking had kept up with the ripening, but this week we’ve seen a BOOM.  Please come scour the tomato field for beefsteak, heirloom, Roma, San Marzano, and cherries.  First come, first get!  These could be the last wave.  Mama Weather could again flex her muscles any day now.  DO NOT WAIT-O IF YOU WANT A TOMATO!

The eggplants continue.  You’ve picked the really big classics, but please keep sweeping the field clean of Italian, Japanese, and fairy tales.  Stir fry magic.  Pickle em, too.

Pepper fans have shown great patience.  The heat is finally bringing out some yellows, oranges, and even reds in the hot peppers.  The bells, meanwhile, are chiming quieter and quieter.  So please sweep the field for poblano, cayenne, jalapeño, serrano, habanero, and chilis, while keeping low expectations about the green, purple, and Italian sweets.

Farmketeers of the Week:  The Stewarts and Entwoods.  This double family outing caught our eye.  It was a momentary realization of our long-held ethos that The ‘Creek is like a state park with no entrance fee.  Come up, have a picnic, hang out, we won’t boss you around.  These lovely people were just sitting in the orchard grass talking and chuckling.  Good living.  Thank you for playing the game right!  Go Team S&E!

Pick your own pumpkins.  Some of you will fight it.  It’s not time yet!  If we all just shut up about autumn maybe it will forget to come!  Farm fans, this weekend is October.  These pumpkins won’t hurt you.  They’ve been waiting for you since spring.  Nothing can stop the clock.

Apple Harvest Festival.  We will have our booth down there for the long weekend.  You can find us in the middle of the chaos.  But we will look forward to seeing many of you at the farm, too.  You can have all the elbow room you want up here.  Note that the slushee machine will go down to the Commons for the weekend.  Donut machine stays on the farm.

Donuts with holes.  At least SOME of them have holes.  Some of them collapse in upon themselves.  (As it is with people, so it is with donuts.)  They are smallish donuts, to be sure.  Wee sweet bites.  The pokey little machine is called “Li’l Orbits” and isn’t that cute?  And aren’t they made with fresh apple cider pressed here on the farm?  And aren’t they humble fried toroids of dough smothered in cinnamon sugar?  And isn’t that okay for now?  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.


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What Kind of Heart Do You Have? The Answer is in the Apples; Pick 5 Kinds of Pears; Pick Pumpkins; Eat Hot Donuts and Cold Slushees.

YOUR HEART IS AN ANIMAL in a cage.  An apple-sized creature pulsing behind your ribs.  But what kind of apple?

Is your heart a Honeycrisp?  Stolen by Farm Kitty, never to be seen again?  You won’t find a single Honeycrisp hanging on a tree on this farm.  Farm Kitty picked all the ones you missed.  But you can still get Honeycrisp at the stand while supplies meet demands.  So u CAN has honeycripspss!

Is your heart an Empire?  A true Baby Boomer, born in ’45 at the close of the war, suited for temperate climes but tolerant of cold winters and Empire State taxes.  A cross between Mac and Delicious.  A shiny red lunchbox apple that does not bruise easily.  Does that sound like your heart?  Pick Empire apples now.  Row 13.

Is your heart a Macoun?  Nobody knows how to pronounce your heart:  mah-COON or mah-COWN?  But it is honeyed and fragrant and, for people who have been stung by your sweet snap, the loveliest heart in the orchard.  A 1920s cross between Mac and Jersey Black.  (Foreground apple was shined on shirt.)  Pick Macoun apples now.  Row 14.

Do you have the heart of a Sweet 16?  Generation X, cherry Twizzler on the nose, raw sugar on the palate, a flash of 70s zinggg.  A late Cold War cross between Northern Spy and Malinda.  Pick Sweet 16 apples now.  Rows 5 and 15.

Do you have a Vintage heart?  You have seen too many hard times to count, just like the Macs and Cortlands on the century-old trees in our Vintage Orchard.  But you are reliable and cold hardy.  You see people reaching for the handsome Johnnies Come Lately – cough cough Honeycrisp – but you humbly truck on doing good work.  You trust that someone will remember that you are the backbone of brilliant ciders with a proud history back to the 1820s (Mac), or you are the bright white of fruit salads going back to 1898 (Cortland).  You are a great North American apple-heart and worthy of the truest love.  Orange ribbons (Mac) and yellow ribbons (Cortland) in Vintage Orchard.

FIRST TIME EVER!  Pick your own PEARS in super secret Row 19.  You earned this, Farmketeers!  Last weekend you picked the Bartletts clean with astonishing vigor, so we have opened the top-shelf pears for you to pick.  Seven years running we have kept these special pears in reserve, but this is your year.  There are 5 varieties ready to PICK – remember that they won’t be ready to EAT off the tree.  Pears need a couple days on your counter to ripen fully.  Because the trees are chaotically intermingled in the row without signs, we provide you with these photos.  Good luck.  (Above) Highland, Seckel, Anjou.  (Below) Shenandoah, Potomac.

Potomac and Shenandoah.  Two great pears, two great rivers.  They flow together at Harper’s Ferry, where John Brown led his armed abolitionist insurrection against slavery.  He was hanged.  Walt Whitman watched.  158 years later, you can pick these pears in Row 19.

Hot or not, it’s pumpkin season.  Wegmans has them on display, so the little guy must jump into the fray.  You can pick pumpkins in the new field starting now!  Early birds, you are living good.  Don’t let anyone tell you to chill.

Tomatoes, Eggplant, Peppers.  You know the story by now.  This summer’s cold nights have allowed pickers to keep up, but maybe this hot stretch will bring on a mass ripening event.  Please come out and check the fields for beefsteaks, cherries, heirlooms, Romas, Marzanos, bells, poblanos, jalapeños, cayennes, serranos, habaneros, chilis, Italian eggplants, Japanese eggplants, and fairytales.

Sweet corn continues!  How much longer?  Nobody knows.  Get cobs of summer on sale.  Two dozen “ears” for only $10!  This is not grocery store corn.  It’s freshly picked, super sweet, non-GMO, kickass Farmer Dusky corn.

Cider, slushees, and donuts.  These are all made of fresh pressed Orchard Ambrosia in various physical phases:  hot cider, cold cider, hyper cold fusion plasma slushee cider, and cider donuts.  You can take Ambrosia home in gallons and half-gallons.  Freezes beautifully.  Donuts are served Saturdays and Sundays 10 AM to 6 PM.

Farmketeers of the Week:  Mother and Child with Bag.  These Harlem-based farm fans took their traveling show of wholesomeness to the Columbia University Farmer’s Market, giving the new purple bags a New York City debut!  Sweet… cute… root-a-toot-toot!

October 5, 2017 –  “Cider Apples” – Tasting, tour, and picnic dinner at the farm with Eve’s Cidery, Indian Creek, and The Piggery!  Buy tickets and see event details on Eve’s Cidery web site.  Only 10 seats left!  Get tickets now!  Just $20 each!  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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