Time to Speak Truth to Flower! Predicting a Quiet Weekend of Vegetables & Apples While We All Wait for Tomatoes & Peaches; Donuts Friday Through Sunday; Pick Very Last Straggleberries.


– SUMMARY –


Farm is open 7 days a week 8:00 to 8:00 rain or shine • Pick last few raspberries now • Pick flowers • Pick sweet peppers • Pick first jalapenõ and Serrano peppers • Pick Pristine apples • Pick Yellow Transparent apples • Fresh donuts Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11:00 to 5:00 • Stuff at the stand = garlic, shallots, cukes, peppers, eggplant, PA peaches, honey, syrup, pottery, flowers, slushees • COVID protocols include (1) Keep SAFE distance, (2) wear MASK in closer quarters, (3) monitor your KIDS, (4) we provide CONTAINERS for picking • Drive slowwwly on the farm • Thank you for supporting small farms


– FULL STORY –


DEAR FARMKETEERS:  If you could have it your way, how would you make a buck in this life?  Or make your mark?  Or make the grade?

Would you open a for-profit theology practice on Capitol Hill – advising your clients on abstruse matters of the spirit?  Would you sell handmade greeting cards to old ladies at analog craft fairs in a digital world?  Would you become valedictorian of your massage school class?  These are all good options!  But for us farmers, our lot is to be sellers of fruit.  Purveyors of produce.  Hustling green peppers and hawking Red Delicious.  A struggle at times, to be sure; but, also a kind of Goldilocks existence – neither the noblest profession, nor the meanest.

Speaking of meanest, thank you for being the nicest.  It is really nice when all our nice customers are so nice.  It is hard enough trying to wrangle a peach crop without a bunch of meany-heads exercising their innocent narcism on our farm crew.  U-pick is a kind of therapy, indeed, but please do consult a specialist if you feel really out of balance.

Or speak truth to flower.  This is as fine a time as any in history to ask, “What am I meant to be doing?  What is my gift?  How can I do right and feel right?”  While Crown Princess Ivanka has counseled Americans to “find something new,” we say speak truth to flower.  Tell a zinnia or snapdragon your deepest truth – they are good listeners – and listen for their quiet counsel.  It worked for Adrianna.  One of our favorite former Farkmeteers left us for nursing school and graduated this spring… just in time to be a front-line responder in the covid crisis.  Good luck and be well!

Yes, you can cut your own bouquets in the field by the farm stand.  Current flowers include zinnia, snapdragon, celosia, ageratum, gomphrena, scabiosa/pincushion, cornflower/bachelor buttons, dianthus/carnations, strawflower, aster, marigold, verbena, and statice.  You can also get them at the stand in bouquets, designed by fruit farmers in the rare dull moment.  Thank you to @chlorothrill for picking and sharing.

You can scrounge for the last raspberry stragglers.  Don’t make a special trip just for the berries.  The summer crop is pretty well picked over.  Look what @the_vet_epicure made with her haul:  “Raspberries from @indiancreekfarmithaca went into this delicious raspberry frangipane tart by @1wanderer.  The layer of raspberry jam under the almond filling really made the dish (a trick we learned from #greatbritishbakingshow).”  Thanks, Vet!

Not to be outdone in the raspberry department, behold these beauties by @dolcedelightithaca: “Local fruit makes the best pastries 😋 peach raspberry galettes for dessert any one?”  Whoa.

Get your garlic.  You can find Indian Creek garlic and shallots at the stand.  Also Garlic Greg is making these beautiful braids, each includes about a dozen big bulbs plus flowers and herby botanicky things.

Pick sweet peppers and first hot peppers.  You will find sweet bell peppers, Italian fryers, nassaus, and the like, plus the first wave of jalapeños and Serranos.  The hots are still green, of course, but you can pick now.  (Note, please refrain from picking eggplant for a week or so.  You did a very throrough job picking the first wave – so thorough that we need to let the patch recover, and let the baby eggplants size up nice.)

Come pick Pristine apples.  They are the first real apple-ish apples of the year.  Lovely lemon-yellow orbs of fruitological blushitude.  Descendants of the venerable McIntosh and Golden Delicious varieties.  Perfect for eating fresh, saucing, and cooking.  Easy to pick in Row 10 of the Dwarf Orchard.  Easy as pie.  Tart, crisp, juicy, and firm.  And isn’t that blush prettier than a store-bought doll?  (True apple experts – and aspiring foodies – will also pick the Yellow Transparents, a.k.a. “salt apples” that we introduced last week.  Find those in the Vintage Orchard near the shack near the raspberries just off the road where it turns at the pear trees after the old peaches just past the stone wall that’s buried in the weeds… Oh just ask at the stand when you get here.  We have maps and sharpies.)

The moment you’ve all been waiting for is not here yet.   And, no, we don’t mean a coordinated national response to the greatest calamity in generations.  (Though that has not arrived yet, either.)  We mean peach picking:  It is not time yet.  We do have PA peaches at the stand for the same price as U-pick.  So that’s something.  But we can’t turn you loose in the peach orchards yet because they aren’t quite ready.  Truth be told, some lucky visitors have picked the odd tree here and there in the old peach orchard because the peaches were dropping.  And we had a 40% loss to frost overall.  Plus a 90% loss of the donut peaches.  But we do promise to announce peach picking in a Fresh Crop Alert when it’s time.  And while you probably won’t pick a donut peach this year, you can pick a donut.

What time is donut time?  Donuts are rolling off the Mark 2 Donut Robot 3 days a week this year.  You can get them Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11:00 to 5:00.  Nick the Donut Kid is churning out these freshly fried toroids of fructotic splendor – optionally sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.  “A sprinkle of SIN, SUGAR,” is all you need to say.  You can also get lemon slushees every day at the donut-slushee window.  It’s a real hole in the wall.  Like, we cut a hole in the wall and stuck Nick the Donut Kid in it with his robot friend.

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

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz

When the World Has Gone Mad, Still There Is Garlic – Last Chance to Pick Your Own Bulbs; Also Pick Your Own Sweet Peppers, Eggplant, Raspberries, Flowers; Fresh Donuts Fri-Sat-Sun; Peach Picking Soon; Now Open 8 to 8 Every Day.


– SUMMARY –


Farm is open 7 days a week 8:00 to 8:00 rain or shine • Pick garlic now • Pick shallots now • Pick raspberries now • Pick flowers now • Pick first sweet peppers & eggplant now • Pick “salt apples” a.k.a. Yellow Transparent apples now • Fresh donuts Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11:00 to 5:00 • Stuff at the stand = cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, honey, syrup, pottery, flowers, slushees • COVID protocols include (1) Keep SAFE distance, (2) wear MASK in closer quarters, (3) monitor your KIDS, (4) we provide CONTAINERS for picking til further notice • Drive slowwwly on the farm • Thank you for supporting small farms (and being kind)


– FULL STORY –


DEAR FARMKETEERS:  Do not be troubled, for when the world has gone mad, sad, bad, or even plaid – still there is garlic.  Garlic to have and garlic to hold.  Garlic for your loves, garlic for your loaves.  Yes, this week, we recognize two worthy ‘Creekniks of the ‘Weeknik, who by their gentle example have counseled us that when the world has gone barmy – GARLIC.  Garlic for your mind.  Garlic just in time.

Pick your own garlic now.  This is the final week.  Early next week, Garlic Greg will harvest any remaining bulbs to store in his secret apocalypse root cellar.  Meanwhile this photo, and the cover photo above, and the next three below, come from our first ‘Creeknik of the ‘Weeknik @samanthanfountain, who not only picked and put up, but also Instagrammed her haul with the effortless panache of a champion locavore digital native.

Lo, behold, cloves.  Cloves of garlic.  Plumply bulbed together.  Samantha’s story said, “Massive clove of garlic from the harvest today.  Only four of these make up one big fist.”  The fist of justice!  The fist of power!  The fist of kindness!  Please note the nomenclature:  cloves make a bulb, bulbs make a fist, and they are all priced by the head.  Cloves, bulbs, fists, heads.  But no dustups or donnybrooks on the farm!  Please and thank you!  Nonviolent agriculture!  Amen!  U-pick pricing = $2/head (1 to 9 heads), $1.50/head (10-49), $1.25/head (50-100), and $1/head (100+).  Pull yours ASAP.

And now a jar of avant-garlic foodism by Samantha:  “Excited to ferment some garlic honey giant cloves from @indiancreekfarmithaca in a dark molasses-like raw buckwheat honey from Waid’s Honey @ithacafarmersmarket.”  Booyah.

Don’t stop at garlic – you need shallots to sweeten and balance.  Garlic Greg says you harvest shallots just like garlic, but pay like flowers:  shallots are $6/handful.  Big hands, big savings.  Studious foodies will study the anatomy of shallots.

On the fruit side of the The ‘Creek, you can still pick raspberries.  Best crop ever and people have been finding lots.  It is starting to feel like last chance for the summer berry crop, especially if the weekend is busy.  Please come get yours, the autumn crop is smaller.  Lovely photos, Samantha.  Thank you.

Our Co-‘Creeknik of the ‘Weeknik models exemplary form seen among the most perspicacious and perseverant pickers:  Look under the raspberry leaves to find booty missed by the masses.  No tantrums if you don’t see any berries on first inspection.  A teachable moment for your youngsters.  And after all that learning, catnaps are permitted.

How did she earn ‘Creeknik status?  By harvesting 107 heads of fresh garlic!  Bravo and thank you for sharing.

Still time to pick flowers?  Yes, you can cut your own bouquets in the field by the farm stand.  Current flowers include zinnia, snapdragon, celosia, ageratum, gomphrena, scabiosa/pincushion, cornflower/bachelor buttons, dianthus/carnations, strawflower, aster, marigold, verbena, and statice.  You can also get them at the stand in bouquets (jars included), designed by fruit farmers in the rare dull moment.

What time is donut time?  Donuts are rolling off the Mark 2 Donut Robot 3 days a week this year.  You can get them Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11:00 to 5:00.  Nick the Donut Kid is churning out these freshly fried toroids of fructotic splendor – optionally sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.  “A sprinkle of SIN, SUGAR,” is all you need to say.  You can also get lemon slushees every day at the donut-slushee window.  It’s a square hole in the barn wall.  (Peaches not ready to pick yet.)

Are peaches ready to pick yet?  Not yet.  Hold your pants on.  A couple weeks.  Maybe even less.  Maybe a week.  It’s a long time to hold your pants on.  So we promise to announce in a Fresh Crop Alert as soon as we know.  Unless we have an emergency need to post it on Facebook for some reason of complex agricultural timing.  Heads up — only about 60% of the crop seems to have survived the spring frost.  Therefore competition will be vigorous.  We don’t want to have ration the peaches.  So be nice.  No brannigans or brouhahas!  No scraps or slobberknockers!  WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.  Meanwhile there are Pennsylvania peaches at the farm stand.  To hold you over.  They taste pretty much the same to be really honest.  And there are some nice people in PA.  It’s okay to start on those.

Pick your own eggplant.  The ripening of these first Nightshades ALMOST pushed us to jump the gun and sound the Horn of Plenty, a.k.a., the cornucopia.  But it wouldn’t be right til peaches and maybe tomatoes are on the scene.

Pick your own sweet green peppers.  If you find one in the field wearing a squash flower on its head, RUN!  Definitely not cool.  That would mean entropy is decreasing, a most unnatural state of affairs – far worse than a runaway climate.

Saved the best for last.  Nothing creates a community orchard bumrush like Yellow Transparent apples – time to pick now!  Your Siberian friends REALLY LIKE these apples.  The Yellow Transparent apple is a cold-hardy variety imported in the 1800s from Putinlandia before it was officially called that.  It ripens in July for the short northern season.  To cut the acidity, people in the olden days added salt (take note, foodies!) and called them salt apples.  We call them Old Yellers.  They are way better than Honeycrisp.  They make a CREAMY apple sauce, first chance of the year.  Good stuff to be thankful for.  Please come pick these apples.  They are dropping as we speak.  Drop.  Drop.  Hurry.

Happy 10th anniversary to this photo.  Yes, our Hangry Hippo made her debut on July 23, 2010.  A decade later, social media fans are still trying to figure out her true nature.  “Hairless munching guinea pig?” asked one user recently.  “I had to double take,” said another.

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

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz

Quell Berry Breath with U-Pick Garlics & Shallots; Also Pick Your Own Raspberries & Flowers; Fresh Donuts Friday, Saturday, Sunday; Peach Crop Survived ~60%, First Picking in Roughly a Fortnight.


– SUMMARY –


Farm is open 7 days a week 9:00 to 6:00 rain or shine • Pick raspberries now • Pick garlic now • Pick shallots now • Pick flowers now  • Strawberries are kaput • Fresh donuts Friday, Saturday & Sunday 11:00 to 5:00 • Goodies at the stand = cukes, blueberries, honey, syrup, pottery, flowers, slushees • COVID protocols include (1) Keep SAFE social distance, (2) wear your MASK in closer quarters, (3) monitor your KIDS, (4) We provide CONTAINERS for picking til further notice • Drive slowwwly on the farm • Please see our updated dog policy below • Thank you for supporting small farms • Thank you for not being willfully irresponsible about reasonable advice from epidemiologists


– FULL STORY –


LOYAL FARMKETEERS:  Every question, no matter how puzzling, has an answer.  Are Congresspeople vertebrates?  Who was the first human to blork a squinkle?  Why did the chicken cross the chicken?  Yes, Gentle ‘Creekniks, even these abiding perplexities have answers.  But we must not reveal them til after the election.  TOO RISKY!  So we will take up a few easies from your inquiries.

Can I pick raspberries now?  Yes you can.  Thank you for asking.  Enterprising berryists, like @peanutbutterandjuliette, have been picking for a couple weeks, but the patches still seem plentiful.  Nights (and days) of warmth (and sun) have brought new waves of berries to a pickable state.  What you find when you get here depends.  Who got here before you?  How much did the birds eat?  As usual one question begets a whole family of questions.  (Linguistic parthenogenesis?!)

Can I make a mixed berry pastry with princess power?  Depends – are you a @pastry_power_princess?

Can I pick garlic now?  Each year, when you see this picture of Garlic Greg channeling the Garlic Goddess, it means time to pick your own.  There won’t be a 4th Annual Garlic Harvest Party this year – TOO RISKY! – but you can come pick now.  Greg says it’s the best crop ever.  Fourth time’s the charm.

What kinds of garlic can I pick?  Garlic Greg says there are the hard-neck varieties Continental and German Red, and a soft-necked variety.  U-pick pricing is by the head:  $2/head (1 to 9 heads), $1.50/head (10-49), $1.25/head (50-100), and $1/head (100+).  So you just do a headcount of vampires in your life, multiply by 3 heads per head, and stock up accordingly.

Can I also pick my own shallots for the first time ever at Indian Creek?  Yes!  Garlic Greg says you harvest them just like U-pick garlic, but pay like U-pick flowers:  to wit, shallots are $6/handful.  Yet another moment in life when Bigfoot-sized hands will save you a few ducats.  What is a shallot anyway?

Can I pick bouquets of flowers?  Yes, you can cut your own flowers in the field by the farm stand.  Current flowers include zinnia, snapdragon, celosia, ageratum, gomphrena, scabiosa/pincushion, cornflower/bachelor buttons, dianthus/carnations, strawflower, aster, marigold, verbena, and statice.  You can also get them at the stand in bouquets.

What time is donut time?  Donuts are rolling off the Mark 2 Donut Robot three days a week this year.  You can get them Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11:00 to 5:00.  Nick the Donut Kid is churning out these fresh fried rings of fructotic splendor – optionally sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.  “A sprinkle of SIN, SUGAR,” is all you need to say.  You can also get lemon slushees every day at the combination donut-slushee window. (Tomatoes not ready yet.)

Can I bring my dogs?  Only kinda sorta.  Please consider our new dog policy, honed over many years of experience and revised for 2020.  We love dogs, but we do not encourage visitors to bring dogs these days.  If you must bring your dog, please:

  1. Keep your dog on a LEASH and attended at all times,
  2. CLEAN up right away and take the waste with you,
  3. Keep your dog out of the crop FIELDS; orchards only.

Remember, there are often lots of people and vehicles around.  Not everybody is comfortable with dogs – no matter how cute or friendly your dog is.  And, nobody (farmer or visitor) wants to step in waste as they wander.  Meanwhile, our dogs live here on the farm and mostly lounge around anymore.  If they ramble up to you or bark, don’t worry, they will not chase you away.  Just ignore them if you are unsure.  Thank you.

Can I drive as fast as I want on the farm?  Yes, if by “as fast as I want” you mean really slowww.  It’s the right thing to do.  Like masks and no giant indoor exercise parties.

May I wear my wask when in close quarters such as the checkout line and donut line?  Please.  Do.

Do you have a colorful, somewhat helpful, somewhat confusing, locally printed 8-page saddle-stitched brochure with maps and picking tips and rules and regulations that I can pick up at the farm stand and/or download in PDF form for viewing on my mobile as I wander the farm? Yes please!

Are peaches ready to pick now?  Nowt yet.  Hang tight.  A couple weeks.  We will announce in a Fresh Crop Alert.  About 60% of the crop seems to have survived the spring frost.  Competition will be vigorous.  Be nice.  Meanwhile there are Pennsylvania peaches at the farm stand.  To hold you over.

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

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz

Paddleberries in a Heat Wave! First American Farm to Publish a Modern Day Almanac Packed with Expert & Practical Psychobabble; U-Pick Raspberry & Flower Surge; Last Strawbs to Mop.


– SUMMARY –


Farm is open 7 days a week 9:00 to 6:00 rain or shine • Pick raspberries now • Pick flowers now • Pick strawberry stragglers now (if you can find any) • Fresh donuts Friday, Saturday & Sunday 11:00 to 5:00 • Goodies at the stand = scapes, cukes, blueberries, cherries, honey, syrup, pottery, flowers, slushees • COVID protocols include (1) Keep SAFE social distance, (2) wear your MASK in closer quarters, (3) monitor your CHILDREN, (4) Do not bring BAGS or containers for u-picking – we’ll provide til further notice • Drive slowwwly on the farm • Thank you for supporting small farms and being kind/rational beings


– FULL STORY –


FAITHFUL FARMKETEERS:  It is not your fault if the Farmers Almanac – venerable compendium of meteorological mumbo jumbo, astronomical hocus pocus, and home gardening gobbledyguck – no longer seems to advance your personal agricultural enterprise.  We feel it too.  So we are compiling a new guidebook, a nouveau farmopedia, a psychological toolkit for the analytical fruit grower in tumultuous times.

Chapter One – and this Fresh Crop Alert – will cover cognitive biases.  What are they?  Cognitive biases are ways in which human judgements often diverge from rational thinking.  Indeed, ways we are predictably irrational and act against our own interests!  First described by behavioral economists in the 1970s, cognitive biases have been explained in terms of heuristics, rules which are easy for the brain to process, but which introduce systematic errors of thinking.  There are dozens of such dubious mental shortcuts that impact our lives from shopping to dating to governing to… yes… even farming.  Here we offer a free sample of cognitive biases, paired with items from your normal weekly picking news.  Perhaps this modest public service will raise awareness of ways that we could understand each other better, and form a more rational, compassionate union.

The Semmelweis Reflex A classic.  The tendency to reject new evidence that contradicts an existing paradigm.  Are you guilty of this?  Yes!  If you’re not sure, consider its bedfellow, the Confirmation Bias – the tendency to seek out or interpret information in a way that confirms your preconceptions.  Guilty!  Pay your 1¢ fine at the farm stand.  Raspberry picking continues apace this week, with abundant berries as of Thursday morning.  There are several berry patches on the farm, ask at the stand for directions and containers.

The Last Illusion.  A deep and poetic cognitive bias, perhaps the queen of them all.  The Last Illusion is the belief that somebody must know what is going on.  Think about the stock market or the global response to climate change.  Sure, things seem kind of willy-nilly and topsy-turvy, but SOMEONE is steering the bus, right?  Some magical powerful puppeteer?  Meanwhile, the strawberries have left the building, though Farmer Steve said diligent pickers might “find a few to mop up.”  Treasure hunt!

The Outgroup Homogeneity Bias.  This is very subtle until you think about it.  It is the tendency for individuals to see members of their own group as being relatively more varied than members of another group.  Thus it is closely related to stereotyping, but with a shade of meaning worth pondering.  Meanwhile, you can now cut your own flower bouquets in the field by the farm stand or buy bouquets that we’ve created at the stand.  Current flowers include zinnia, snapdragon, celosia, ageratum, gomphrena, scabiosa/pincushion flower, cornflower/bachelor buttons, dianthus/carnations, strawflower, aster, marigold, verbena, and statice.

The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight.  That’s when people perceive their knowledge of their peers to surpass their peers’ knowledge of them.  Like, “I see right through that narcissist!  But I’m all buttoned up and nobody can see my secrets.”  You can try this one on for size.  You might find that it fits like a glove!  Anyway, donuts are rolling off the Mark 2 Donut Robot three days a week this year.  You can get them Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11:00 to 5:00.  Nick the Donut Kid is churning out fresh fried rings of fructotic splendor – optionally sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.  “A sprinkle of SIN, SUGAR,” is all you need to say.  You can also get lemon slushees every day.

The Outcome Bias.  This is the tendency to judge a decision by its eventual outcome, instead of based on the quality of the decision at the time it was made.  This one is soooo fun to do!  You knew it all along, right?  It wasn’t luck!  You MEANT to do that.  How did you get so awesome!  Meanwhile, Greg’s fresh garlic scapes are back.  Get a baggie for sauteeing and drizzling with balsamic.  These are real early season delicacies.

The Self-Serving Bias.  A real beauty.  Perceiving oneself responsible for desirable outcomes but not responsible for undesirable outcomes.  Fun!  Let’s all do that at the same time!  Meanwhile, you have to see these beautiful berry bowls and other treats by local potter Shirley Brown.  Best way to store and serve strawbs, rapsbs, blubes, and cherrs.

The Planning Fallacy.  If you are not guilty of this one, you might not be human.  You might not even be a computer.  It is the tendency to underestimate how long something will take.  Turns out this is a really easy one to be good at, perfect for beginners, so we’ll leave you with that.  Now is kind of the quiet time on the farm.  You can pick berries and flowers, but it will be a few weeks til we send a peach report and a call to pick the first vegetables.  Stay tuned.

Amidst all the global struggle and strife, we got the loveliest email from a Farmketeer.  Misbah wrote, “Whatever you’re on when you write these emails is exactly what I want to be on for the rest of my life.”  Iced raspberry herbal tea is the stuff.  Thank you very kindly, Misbah.  You are ‘Creeknik of the Weeknik.

Another piece of good news in the world.  The farm is still protected by a conservation easement – indeed it is “conserved forever” to be open space by law.  You can see two glimpses of the veggie fields and orchards in this short movie by the Finger Lakes Land Trust, our hometown conservation nonprofit.  We support them and invite you to support them if you can.  They have saved over 25,000 acres of forests, gorges, wetlands, lakeshores, and farmlands across the FLX.  They make their 35 nature preserves free and open to everyone.

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

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz

On America’s 244th Berrythday, You Can Pick the Last Strawberries, First Raspberries, Fresh Donuts; Also, a Shocking Truth Revealed – Where Do the Strawberries Go?

DEAREST FARMKETEERS, this is the state of things:  Your elected officials have their heads in the sand; many fellow citizens have their heads in their hands; the meteorologists have their heads in the clouds; and, the astronomers have their heads in the stars.  Surprisingly, it is the last of these who have provided us with actionable info.  Yes, Beloved ‘Creekniks, the stargazers have found two – maybe even three! – planets orbiting a nearby star.  All aboard?

In times like these, does it not seem to be a shorter trip to a fresh start on the exoplanets of “GJ887” than the halting and dubious slog toward an equitable earthly society that cares for its most vulnerable?  The new worlds are only 64 trillion miles away – a jaunt of merely a thousand billion years in a ’79 Chevette with the pedal to the floor and an asthmatic rattle under the hood.  And only 220,000 years on NASA’s latest rig!  Just yesterday we saw the strawberries queueing up for their mysterious annual exodus.  Is that where they go?

Sweet cherries always give the strawberries a lift down to the boatdocks.  They bid “fair winds and following seas.”

When the Pepper Fitzgerald shoves off, you hear an exuberant rendition of “Anchors Aweigh.”  No dry eyes on land or sea.

The green peppers were never known for their boatbuilding; this vessel sits a little low in the water.  But the Pepper Fitz is stalwart and seaworthy.

No one knows where the strawberries go.  Some folks have guessed the verdant highlands of Strawbistan; others surmise snowy Strawbania.  But new speculation swirls about the red dwarf star – a color-coded beacon to the berries – and its purported super-Earths.

We are sad to see them leave — but the raspberries aren’t.  Before the Pepper is out of earshot, they blast “Raspberry Beret” and launch their own party barge.

It is their time to shine after a long spring of hearing, “When are the strawberries ready?”  “The strawberries are so good, Mommy!”  And a lot more besides.

Yes, the passing of Independence Day means freedom from the incidental tyranny of the “in” crowd.  Once Aunt Fred hooks the first trophy bass, everyone can giggle at ease.

The youngsters know not to swim past the buoy, but the chance to steal a first kiss draws these two teens into risky business.

It is worth knowing that raspberries are marvelous swimmers.  We try to make each Fresh Crop Alert educational, and there’s your fact of the week.  In our best David Attenborough voice, we offer the following…

“They can freedive for 22 minutes at a time. The Sunny Goldens, in particular, have an otherwordly quality, an aquatic insouciance as they gambol undersea.”

“In their luminous, effortless pulsations, you can see their evolutionary cousins, the Jellyfish and Jamfish.”

Meanwhile the blueberries sit on the shore.  They are a more serious lot.  Too much revelry undermines their equipoise.  A quiet dip at dusk will do.

AND NOW THE ACTUAL NEWS…

Donuts are rolling off the Mark 2 Donut Robot 3 days a week this year.  You can get them Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11:00 to 5:00.  Nick the Donut Kid is churning out fresh fried rings of fructotic splendor – sprinkled with cinnamon sugar if you must.  Simply say, “A sprinkle of sin, sugar.”  You can also get lemon slushees every day.  (Extra credit:  How many 1 inch thick donuts do you have to stack up to reach the GJ887 system 64 trillion miles away?  About 6 million trillion!  Or 6 trillion million!  Which is the same as 6 billion billion!  We can do this!  If we work together.)

Pick your own raspberries.  You will find multiple raspberry patches on the farm.  Well you might not FIND them, but they are here.  One in the “Central Plains” and one out past the Mutsu Orchard and one along the fenceline.  Try the map in our old 2019 brochure til we print a 2020 brochure.  It’s a great map that works like the 80-20 Rule, but tweaked to 20-60-20 and applied to small fruit farms.  Thus:  20% of customers need it bad but won’t use it, 20% know the farm inside out and don’t need it, and 59% swing with the prevailing winds.  That leaves 1%.  They own the Grand Cayman shell corp that owns the bank that owns the farm.  “Maps are for suckers,” you’d hear them chortle, snickering over stogies at the Risk board.  (“Kamchatka is mine!” barks one at the stroke of midnight.  Bing bonggg.)

Besides u-pick strawberries and raspberries, you can shop the farmstand.  As of Friday, seasonal goodies include Greg’s fresh garlic scapes, Alex’s noteworthy cucumbers, Gil’s honey, Sean’s honey, Sean’s syrup, our flowers, and local pottery by Shirley Brown including gorgeous berry bowls.  It is a pleasure to share these local products with you.  Shelves will be bursting with summer produce soon.

You can use your Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) coupons here.  We are set up to accept checks through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the similar program for seniors.  The federal program, administered through state agencies, was created to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to participants and to expand the awareness of farmers’ markets.

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

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz

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.

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz

“Happle Holidays” to the Stars in Our Sky and the Peaches in Our Pie; All Donuts Have Flown South; 5,628 Trees Picked Clean; Get Free Cider Shipping and One Free Invention.

DEAR FARMKETEERS:  Look at the night sky.  You might see 10 or 100 or 1,000 stars – but there are one billion trillion stars in the universe.  Some simply shine brighter.  And you, Farm Fans, well… you are the stars in the farm country sky.  You are the ones who brighten our night.

Aye!  You are the peaches in our pie!  You picked the farm clean this year.  Cleaner than ever before.  Farmer Steve says some 5,628 trees were in production, and not a single one had fruit left to harvest.  You people WENT TO TOWN on this farm.  Apples gone.  Peaches wiped.  Apricots kaput.  Pears demolished.  Plums poof.   Hazelnuts, paw-paws, cherries, berries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, pumpkins, squashes, flowers, herbs, donuts, cider… all ADIOS.  Pictured above:  Peach pie featuring the last peaches that our friends at Stone Bend Farm put up from the harvest.

Truth be told, you missed one apple.  A beautiful Mutsu.  Last apple hanging.  But there’s nothing else to share this year.  No Ciderday Matinee like last December when we gave out free jugs of cider to whoever came to the farm.  No holiday apple gift boxes to send to friends.  We don’t have the apples!  So we are suggesting that you check out the free shipping special from our friends at Eve’s Cidery, the trendsetting, award-winning cider makers from the little hamlet of Van Etten, NY.  It will make great gifts from Finger Lakes apple country – and you’ll support a tiny farm with a national reputation.

Get FREE shipping now from Eve’s Cidery.  Enter code CIDERTIME on their web store checkout screen.  You can use the coupon as many times as you like until midnight December 31, 2019.  They sell out every year and Farmketeers always order a bunch of cases.  You can order any bottles you want, but Eve’s is offering 3 Holiday Packs to help you and your guests explore the world of heritage cider.  You can share different bottles for all palates.  Each sampler gets the 10% half-case discount AND free shipping.  Add another 6 bottles to your cart to get the 20% case discount AND free shipping!  They will ship directly from their farm in Van Etten to 40 states.  Do you keep hearing about new cideries popping up nationwide?  Eve’s has been at it for 20 years, since before cider was a thing.  Look at the press coverage Eve’s Cidery gets, from the New York Times to Wine Enthusiast to the Washington Post to Wine Spectator.  Use code CIDERTIME.

You know the old saw, “Great booze doesn’t grow on trees.”  Well this stuff does.  Eve’s Cidery produces their delicious vintages from organic estate-grown fruit – apples they grow themselves, many on trees from our fruit tree nursery at Indian Creek.  (You can order your own apple, peach, pear, plum, apricot, and cherry trees for spring 2020 planting.)

Well, that’s the spiel.  The farm is closed til strawberry season in May 2020.  Please accept our warmest gratitude for our best season ever.  It started last spring with the New York Agriculture Society Award, and ended with you picking and eating everything we grew.  This is the holy grail of small farming:  sharing what you grow with a vibrant community.

This is the final Fresh Crop Alert of the season.  You probably won’t hear much from us over the winter.

What do farmers do in winter?  Everybody wants to know, and the question is perenially renewed.  This year we lift the veil at last:  A farmer’s winter is spent in radically productive COGITATION.  “But wait!” you retort. “You can’t plow a field by turning it over in your mind.”  That’s true, Loyal ‘Creeknik!  But you can’t plow a field when it’s frozen hard either.  Therefore we tackle other problems in winter, more rarified and esoteric puzzlers like “Why is Red Delicious soooo delicious,” and “Why do they call it global warming when today is colder than yesterday?”  Once in while, this kind of armchair ‘basic science’ – not to diminish it, for that’s what professional smartypantses call it – yields transformative applications for daily life in apple country.  We have already been blessed with one such invention this winter.  A real Eureka moment that one of us had in the shower.  Just today, just in time!  And it’s a gobsmacking efficiency measure that we offer to you royalty-free – a very small gesture of gratitude for our best year ever.  Here it is:  Cram a toothpaste cap into the soap.  You will be 24.7 times less likely to drop the soap.  So simple, so astonishing.  It’s yours if you like it.  You earned it.  Great job this year.

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

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz

Final Apple Harvest Sale – Just 99¢ a Pound for All Lovely Apples on the Farm; Get 2-for-1 Stalks ($5) in Our “Sprussels” Spree; New Hours Til 6:00 PM Daily; Is This the Last Weekend of Donuts?

DEAREST FARMKETEERS:  To call our twofer sale on Brussel Sprouts a “spree” is surely hyperbole of Fox Newsian or Washington Postian proportions (your choice).  Truth is, we will likely see around 12 customers this weekend.  The sky has gone dim and blarggy and that will freeze the fire in the belly of even the most faithful locavores.  But it would be a most heartwarming surprise if you Farm Fans could times that traffic by 9.  Yes, 108 customers would be perfect.  Especially if you each cut your own “Sprussels” in the field – two stalks apiece making 216 stalks harvested at prime Sprussel time.

Sprussels Spree!  2-for-1 stalks, u-pick or prepicked!  That’s the same as buy-one-get-one-free.  It’s also the same as half-price, but half the price of two instead of half the price of one.  You could also say 200% of half the price of one.  Anyway, you can get two stalks of sprouts for only $5.  You could also get 1 stalk for $5 (your choice).  You can cut your own sprouts in the field OR simply grab them at the stand.  These are as nutritious as ever, but as Farmer Steve reported last week, “they are not the best sprouts we ever grew.”  It was a wet and buggy year so you will find that each stalk bears some good sprouts and some sprouts that you might offer humbly to your hamster.  It’s not that you’ll find bugs in the sprouts, just that the leaves have holes from earlier in the growing season.  Anyway, as you all know by now, every week we must come up with a new nickname for Brussels sprouts or we die.  Like a shark that has to keep swimming lest it sink to the seafloor – or Sisyphus rolling that eternal (infernal!) rock uphill.  Last week was Bruxellesproux and before that was “Br’zzouts” and before that was “Brazzle-Sprozzles” and before that was “Brouts” and before that was “Sprussel Brouts.”  They all worked pretty well; we stayed alive.  This week, we landed on Sprussels.  Come load up on Sprussels at bargain basement prices – two stalks for only two-and-a-half two-dollar bills – and fry them up on a chilly November night.

All apples are only 99¢ a pound, u-pick or prepicked!  There’s no price difference whether you pick your own apples in the orchard – have fun hunting, you won’t find much – or grab them at the stand.  Farmer Cal here at the stand says we have Newtown Pippin, Ashmead’s Kernel, Northern Spy, Golden Delicious, Mutsu (a.k.a. Crispin, your choice), and perhaps a few others.  These are great apples, some you will never find in a grocery store.  The sale price of 99¢ is the WHOLESALE price that we offer to big buyers like grocery stores, but this year – in recognition of your best picking season ever – we’re going to run out the year with 99¢ a pound to anyone who wants to load up for the off-season.  Thank you!  This could be the last weekend of having the stand decently stocked with apples.  Sauces, pies, snacks – stock up.

Cal’s radishes (and Cal) are still here… for now.  On weekdays the stand is operating self-serve, so you might not see us around.  But Cal is keeping things stocked through the week and will probably be here on the weekend.  Not sure about staffing the following weekend of November 16 & 17.  We’ll play it by ear and announce next week.  But this could be your last chance to load up on apples, sprouts, radishes, and squashes.  Cal still has several kinds of radishes (your choice).  We’re closing every day now at 6:00 instead of 7:00.

And probably last chance for donuts.  Nick the Donut Kid is shrinking his hours down – 11:00 to 5:00 this Saturday and Sunday.  Next weekend is unknown; only the Donut Kid knows and he’s not talking without a subpoena.  This weekend you can get your freshly fried toroids of fructotic doughnosity by the dozen or half-dozen, and if you want cinnamon sugar (your choice), simply whisper, “A sprinkle of SIN, SUGAR.”  You can wash down your donuts with freshly squeezed sweet cider, known around here as “Orchard Ambrosia” – 100% unpasteurized old-time juice of apples and pears.  It freezes great for Thanksgiving or off-season storage.  Just drain a little off to allow for expansion.  Now is the time to put up cider for the winter; these weeks are the best blends of the year and it’s not clear how much longer we will be pressing.  We’re brewing hot mulled cider, too, which you can get in cups at the stand.

Everyone has been asking, “What are you farmers doing now that the season is ending?”  Would you like to know?  (Your choice.)  Two things are afoot.  First is the small matter of digging up fruit trees – 40,000 of them – for safe winter storage in the barn.

You can order fruit trees for spring planting in your backyard orchard:  apple, peach, plum, cherry, apricot, and pear trees.  In fact now is the time to order before professional orchardists and cideries swoop in and buy up the inventory.  They will buy hundreds of trees at a pop.  You can buy 1 tree or 3 trees or 5 trees… or any even number (your choice).

You can see the current stocks and order online through our nursery web site:  Spring 2020 Fruit Trees.  Our nursery is called Cummins Nursery.  Same people as us.  Same farm, too.  Just a different name to confuse as many people as possible.  Trees ship in March and April, or you can pick up here in spring (your choice).  If you pick up, you will be greeted by a friendly fruit tree person who will look totally sane and normal after spending a whole winter in a dark wet barn full of trees and mud and classic rock on the radio nonstop.

The other November job is also a digging project.  It must be dug before the ground freezes.  Has to be dug to exact specifications – a perfect rectangle in the orchard, about the size of a backyard hockey rink in the ‘burbs of Boston, 8 inches deep and laser level.  Dozer Dan is on it.  If you tune in next week (your choice), we’ll share any progress on Operation Orchard Rectangle.

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

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz

HAPPLE HALLOWEEN! Last Chance Apple Sale Only 99¢/lb for All U-Pick and We-Pick Apples; Help Us Finish a Beautiful Harvest; 2-for-1 Brussel Sprouts; Free Quirk Dropoff & Storage; Donuts & Cider.

DEAR FARMKETEERS:  The super-secret farm plan was to send you a special Fresh Crop Alert this past Monday morning, wherein we would trumpet our First Annual Big Ol’ Pumpkin Clearance Sale, such that no pumpkin would be left behind come Halloween.  But, a Sunday night text message from Farmer Steve caused an 11th-hour stir in the newsroom:  “PUMPKINS KAPUT.”

It’s true, we sold out of pumpkins a full 4 days before Halloween – leaving no pumpkins behind, but leaving some pickers without a pumpkin!  This occurred despite our planting more pumpkins than ever.  There appear to be three principal reasons for this agroeconomic blunder:

(1) You are the best customers ever
(2) You are the best customers everrrrr
(3) You are the best customers everrrr-rrr-rrrrr

So, to Frederique, Maria, Bob, and everyone else who cleaned out the Pumpkin Patch last weekend, thank you, and so glad you found the dream pumpkin with your name on it.

Time for a pumpkin-sized thanks to all Farmketeers and ‘Creekniks:  Announcing FREE Personal Quirk Dropoff and Winter Storage.  Yes!  You CAN believe what you are reading!  In appreciation of your prodigious farminess this season, we are offering something we have never done before.  Today through Sunday, November 3, you can bring your most unwanted personal quirks to the farm.  We will store them over the winter for FREE!  If you would like them back in the spring, you may pick them up in May when strawberry season opens.  If you don’t want them anymore, we will plow them into next year’s pumpkin field where they might do more good for the pumpkins than they have done for you.  Here’s an example.  Suppose you have a “weird shoe thing” – you are obsessed with collecting and wearing unusual shoes, to the point where it is interfering with your life as you would like to live it.  Just tell the cashier at the farm stand, “I hereby relinquish my weird shoe thing for the winter and possibly forever.”  The cashier will smile and charge you nothing.  That is the end of the transaction and you are free to go.  Note:  Please do not bring the actual shoes, just the personal quirk.  We cannot store any items that take up space in 4-dimensional spacetime.  Also please limit your dropoff to three (3) quirks per adult to leave room for others.  You must be 18 years or older to participate.  Thank you, Quirketeers!

But that’s not all!  Come pick apples for 99¢ a pound!  Down from $2.25 per pound normally!  Any apples that you find in the orchard are fair game.  That includes the Dwarf Orchard, the Vintage Orchard, the Mutsu Orchard, all trees hither-and-thither.  You will really have to hunt-and-pick.  It is the end of u-pick season and you have done such a laudable job of scouring the orchard so far.  There is NOT much left on the trees.  Farmer Steve often says, “I could pick 200 bushels out there before sunset…” but he is singing a different tune today.  Apples that you might find include Winecrisp primarily, plus Mutsu, Rome Beauty, Red Delicious, Cortland, Red Spy, and assorted exotics and heirlooms in the lower rows of the Dwarf Orchard.  Please help us finish this beautiful harvest by cleaning out the orchard good and proper.  Thanks to farm fan Joe Wilensky for the photo of Yordi Wilensky, age 11, showing extraordinary airborne apple picking form!

Another sale!  You can get apples at the farm stand for only 99¢ a pound!  So there’s no price difference whether you pick your own apples or grab them at the stand.  The sale price of 99¢ is the WHOLESALE price that we offer to big buyers like grocery stores, but this year – in recognition of your dogged picking and exuberant patronage – we’re going straight to the people with the 99¢ deal.  We did the picking, you do the eating.  You will find fancy, high quality apples that we’ve been harvesting as each variety hit peak ripeness.  You will find Spy, Mutsu, Roxbury Russet, Golden Russet, Ashmead’s Kernel, Winecrisp, Goldrush, Calville Blanc, Sir Prize, Margil Russet, Cox Orange Pippin, Suntan… all kinds of treats as supplies last.  This is your chance to level-up your locavore credentials by buying a mix of local apples to put up for the winter.  “Mix up and put up to level up.”  That’s what Ma always says.

Apple identification tip:  Mutsu on left, Sir Prize on right.  Kelsey at the farm stand points out that, though these two apples can look very similar – especially when Mutsu takes on its famous blush – you have only to look at the underside to tell them apart definitively.  Mutsu smooth, Sir Prize bumpy.

BOGO Brussels!  2-for-1 stalks!  BOGO means buy-one-get-one-free in the biz.  That piece of sweet lingo came straight down from Madison Avenue.  You can get 2 stalks of sprouts for only $5, or 1 stalk for $5.  (So, duh, maybe get 2 stalks.)  Cut your own sprouts in the field OR simply grab them at the stand.  These are as nutritious as ever, but they are not the best sprouts we ever grew.  It was a wet and buggy year so you will find that each stalk has some good sprouts and some that you might leave for your pet bunny.  It’s not that you’ll find bugs IN the sprouts, just that the leaves have holes from earlier in the growing season.  Anyway, as you all know by now, every week we have to come up with a new nickname for Brussels sprouts or we die.  Like a shark that has to keep swimming lest it sink to the seafloor – or Sisyphus rolling that eternal (infernal!) rock uphill.  Last week was “Br’zzouts” and before that was “Brazzle-Sprozzles” and before that was “Brouts” and before that was “Sprussel Brouts.”  They all worked pretty decent; kept us alive anyway.  This week, we landed on Bruxellesproux from the French for “Brussels sproux” – whatever sproux is.  Come load up on sproux at bargain prices and fry up these nutrition pods.

Veggie bone.  Rover might looooveeeeee the actual stalk of a Bruxellesproux, which is rather like a veggie bone that “gives a little” when the canines press into it – and gives hours of fun to the right animal, spinning round the yard with tail flying high.  After you pluck the sproux, try this adaptive reuse of the stalk.

Cider donuts and fresh cider.  You can get your freshly fried toroids of fructotic yummtion by the dozen or half-dozen on Saturday and Sunday 10:30 to 6:00.  If you want cinnamon sugar, simply whisper, “A sprinkle of SIN, SUGAR.”  Nick the Donut Kid will twig your meaning.  You can wash down your donuts with freshly squeezed sweet cider, known around here as “Orchard Ambrosia” – 100% unpasteurized old-time juice of apples and pears.  It freezes great for off-season storage.  Just drain a little off to allow for expansion.  Now is the time to put up cider for the winter; these weeks are the best blends of the year and it’s not clear how deep into November or December we will keep pressing.  We’re brewing hot mulled cider, too, which you can get in cups at the stand.

Cal’s radical radishes are still coming.  Get these little spice pods in several varieties while the harvest is active.  A fresh radish has a culinary snap you won’t find in a grocery store.  Might be only another week or two depending on temps.

Well folks, that’s the news for this week and you’ve heard our NEW IDEA, Number 628-B:  Free personal quirk dropoff.  Come any time between 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM, open every day for now, and after the weekend we will assess how long to stay open into November.

If your quirk is a “weird crawling through tire tunnels thing,” no problem.  We will take it off your hands.

If you have a “salmon-tinted arrows thing,” no sweat.  Drop it off.  We won’t judge.

If you are terrified of chickens, don’t panic – you are not aloneeee!  (Chickens ARE the stuff of nightmares.  Monkeys, too!  And of course bunnies.  So scary!)

If you obsess about measuring things that don’t really need to be measured, it’s okayyy.  Ditch it at the farm.

This is your chance to hit the RESET button.

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

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz

One Week Til ‘Ween Means Last Burst of Pumpkin & Apple Picking; Get Jugs of Sweet Old-Time Cider; Fresh Weekend Donuts; Pick Your Own Br’zzouts; Free Playground & Pagan Party Palace.

DEAR FARMKETEERS:  Want to hear a truly great brand name?  Fruit of the Loom.  Just think:  Fruit… of the… LOOM.  It’s marvelous.  And that darling sketch of apples nestled in a bed of grapes sewn into the waistband of your tighty-whities!  It is really world-class branding.  BUT, a terminal product flaw:  You can’t eat the fruit of the loom.  You can only look at it and wear it.  Booooooooring.

Contrast that with the Fruit of the FARMThe Food of the Farmketeers.  The ‘Crop of the ‘Creek.  The Cream of the Crop.  The Créme de la Crême!  The Pomme de les Pömmes!  Les Pômpes des Pumpkines!  You can eat these.

And – unlike underwear that comes sealed in a multicolor 6-pack with one color you like, one you can live with, and four that feel embarrassing – you can pick your own Mutsu apples, one at a time.  Yes, you can pick each apple separate from the others!  Apples as big as pumpkins.  Some people call them Crispin, the name introduced by American marketers, but Mutsu is the original Japanese name and it’s a better fit because they are Muuuuuuuugoood.  They are the most versatile apples on the farm.  Mutsu is a dessert apple.  A pie apple.  A bake-it-in-the-oven apple.  It is the little black cocktail dress of apples.  Appropriate for any occasion and irresistible with that fetching hint of Mutsu blush.  Dad planted the Mutsu orchard back in ’84, so they are now 35 years old – legal age for a presidential run in a cocktail dress.  The British call them “oven busters” since, according to the lore, a couple of old orchard ladies could pick one giant Mutsu and bake it in the oven and split it as dessert for their afternoon teatime, a.k.a., stitch-n-bitch.  But – as we have offered before – boys can do that, too.  Ovens and stitching and b*tching aren’t just for girls.  Same with dessert.  And feelings.  And sharing.  And little black cocktail dresses.  All welcome at The ‘Creek.

Come pick your own pumpkins.  None will be left behind.  Last year you picked the patch clean well before Halloween, so this weekend is probably last chance for the best picks.

Come pick Winecrisp, Rome Beauty, Cortland, and assorted heirlooms.  On our most recent run through the Dwarf Orchard, the remaining heirlooms included Golden Russet, Roxbury Russet, Calville Blanc, Newtown Pippin, Golden Delicious, and other heritage treats.  These are apples you will not find in a grocery store.  They are delicious and spicy and often mysterious – prized among apple lovers and cider aficionados.  Look for the heirloom rows on the orchard map, labeled as Mixed Russets, Mixed Heirlooms, Colonial Apples, and English Pippins.  For some varieties, there is only one tree!  As you wander, please observe best practices for picking as exemplified by Farmketeer @jessicaeisenman, who (1) stands safely balanced on a tripod ladder, (2) uses one hand to steady the branch and the other to twist off the target apple, and (3) wears an autumnal ensemble of flannel and denim that is positively on fleek.  Of course, as you wander, thank you for not stealing 22,000 apples.

Eat fresh apple cider donuts.  You can get your freshly fried toroids of fructotic doughnosity by the dozen or half-dozen on Saturday and Sunday 10:30 to 6:00.  If you want cinnamon sugar, simply whisper, “A sprinkle of SIN, SUGAR.”  Nick the Donut Kid will twig your meaning.

Drink fresh sweet apple cider.  You can wash down your donuts with freshly squeezed sweet cider, known around here as “Orchard Ambrosia” – 100% unpasteurized old-time juice of apples and pears.  It freezes great for off-season storage.  Just drain a little off to allow for expansion.  Now is the time to put up cider for the winter; these weeks are the best blends of the year and it’s not clear how deep into November or December we will keep pressing.  We’re brewing hot mulled cider, too, which you can get in cups at the stand.

Cut your own br’zzouts.  Every week we have to come up with a new nickname for Brussels sprouts or we die – poof!  Like a shark that has to keep swimming lest it sink to the seafloor, or Sisyphus rolling that eternal (infernal!) rock uphill.  Last week was “Brazzle-Sprozzles” and before that was “Brouts” and before that was “Sprussel Brouts.”  They all worked pretty decent; kept us alive anyway.  This week, we landed on the hip-hop contraction “Br’zzouts,” a Snoop Doggish take on Brouts (fo’ shizzle).  Please come cut your own br’zzouts – just be sure to use the loppers and LOP the whole stalk rather than picking individual sprouts off the stalk, which “wrecks the plant,” as our field signage says rather indelicately.

Pick last tomatoes and peppers.  Farmer Steve’s vegetable report was as nuanced as usual:  “Eggplant – none.  Tomatoes – some.  Peppers – yes.”  There are still green tomatoes in the field.  These are not to be viewed as “failed tomatoes” on account of not turning red; rather they are to be treated as delicacies which will soon be all but impossible to find.  What’s their purpose, you ask?  (Well what’s YOUR purpose, Mister Somebody Something Special?!)  Green tomatoes are the only absolutely indispensable ingredient in fried green tomatoes.  That is, you can make fried green tomatoes IFF (that means “if and only if” in mathematics), you have green tomatoes.  You can also make fried green tomatoes gluten-free with a simple switch of flours.

Here is a scary pumpkin.

Here is The ‘Henge.  The ancients called it Stumphenge when it was made of apple tree stumps.  Then the stumps rotted and we replaced them with stones, but for some reason that we couldn’t quite grok, it felt wrong to call the thing Stonehenge.  So it’s just The ‘Henge now.  You can have a picnic here – or anywhere on the farm – and kick around the playground.

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

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz