Come Dressed to Pick & Play! Wizarding Weekend Downtown and On the Farm; Pumpkin Sales and Apple Picking Rush to Finale.

DEAR FARMKETEERS:  Abra cadabra… Harrius doublus!  Poof, now you have twice as much Harry Potter.  This Saturday and Sunday, the farm will be pottering proper.  (If you can’t bear to hear more about that snide little pagan Potter, skip to slide #3 below where we report on the crops.)

Saturday DOWNTOWN – We will return to Diagon Alley downtown as Ithaca is overrun by wizards, warlocks, sorcerers, magi, and enchanters of all ages.  Find our booth with the bubbling copper cauldron.  Meanwhile the farm will be OPEN, so if you want your fresh cider served free of amateur hexes and wayward wandsparks, you can escape to The ‘Creek.

Sunday AT THE FARM – Wizarding Weekend 2.0 sees an expansion of the global franchise to scattered locations including the farm.  Join us for a special Sunday called “Happy Harryween” when you can catch free rides on the Hogwart’s Express (see wagon in beta trial), a free puppet show (2 PM), pumpkin carving, apple picking, and more.  FEEL FREE TO WEAR YOUR HALLOWEEN COSTUMES.  Not just wizards.  That snide little parseltongued pagan Harry Potter did not invent Halloween and we won’t let him steal it.  All freakniks and ‘Creekniks are welcome.  Activities run 10 AM to 6 PM.  Rain or shine!  The usual Sunday crops and donuts will be available… see below.

Apple Picking – This weekend could be the last hurrah for apple picking.  It is prime time to get your haul of classic late season varieties:  Mutsu, Rome Beauty, and Red Delicious.  Please help us pick the orchard clean and make good use of this year’s crop, which turned out half-decent despite complete loss of the peaches, plums, and apricots.

Make Pie – Turns out Mutsu is a brilliant pie apple.  Also delicious when eaten out of hand, but a professional performer in pies.  Just ask your high-scoring neighborhood locavore.

Pumpkin Sale #1 – We must find a home for every pumpkin by Halloween.  Pick any 5 pumpkins for $20!  Any size.  Any patch on the farm.  Everyone is so worried about Harry Potter’s cruddy living conditions under the staircase, but Harry Potter DOESN’T EVEN EXIST.  These pumpkins are real and they need a home.  Please come pick.

Pumpkin Sale #2 – Stuff one of our new (cute + pretty) red bags full of pumpkins for only $12.  You keep the bag.  You WILL get complements on these reusable bags.  They’re not green like Greenstar or black like Wegman’s.  Splashy red!

Donuts – Still serving 10 AM to 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday.  Attention donut-fiends:  This could be the last weekend of donuts.  To be determined after Halloween.  November is next week.  Things will start to fizzle down.

Cider – Fresh and tasty, crisp and local.  We pick apples and pears; we squeeze the juice; we bottle it.  Nothing fancy.  Just good.  Served hot and cold on the weekend.  Available in jugs daily.  Pressed fresh a couple times a week.  Freezes great.

Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant – By the time you get this Fresh Crop Alert, the summer veggies might not be so fresh.  Cold nights and possible ice pellets will wither the remaining tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.  Pick them for $1/pound.  Ask about our secret rows when you get to the stand.

Brussels Sprouts – Get them on the stalk.  As old-fashioned as it gets.  Once upon a time everyone grew these in their yards.  Now it’s a novelty to see sprouts on the stalk.  Special deal:  Buy sprouts, pluck them off the stalk, and you are left with a big green magic wand.  Wave it over the wok when you stir-fry the sprouts with bacon or facon.

Squashes – It’s a squashy time of year.  Butternut, delicata, acorn, and carnival/dumpling.  Eating squash recipes on fall nights can warm the very heart.  Secret tip:  Add crumbles of feta cheese when serving butternut squash soup.  Another:  Add crumbles of feta cheese to baked delicata rings-n-onions.

See You in Wizardland – Both Potter parties are rain or shine.  Come dressed to play and pick.  Costumes encouraged.  Help us harvest pumpkins.  Pick apples.  Still open every day til dark.  Watch the Hogwart’s Express in prototyping trials.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Pumpkins, Apples, Donuts, Cider Now Trending at Ithaca’s Orchard Playground Solar Farm!

EVERY HARVEST SEASON, foodies come out of their kitchens to kibbitz in Franglish (terroir, anyone?) and gossip about pairings.  “This booze gels with that bologna.  This Velveeta shines with that saltine.”  It’s a heady business.  If you can stomach it.  But it didn’t start with the millenials.

“Pumpkines Payre withe Pumpkines” – In her legendary medieval tome, The Locavore’s Cornucopia, Madame d’Veg (1066-1199 C.E.) suggested pairings which were considered outrageous in her day, but they show prescience on a par with the great Nostradamus.  Her boldest claim:  Pumpkins pair with pumpkins.  We are honoring that notion, one millenium later, with a 5-for-$20 sale on pumpkins!  ANY SIZE!  Pick 5 pumpkins for $20.  Pick yours in any patch on the farm.

“Orange Gourds Do Goe withe Red Bags” – Even the doyenne de gastronomie could not have foreseen our Dozen Dollar Pumpkin Pack.  Or could she?!  Did she?!  In her honor, you can fill our new red bag with pumpkins for just $12.  Keep the bag.  That’s the whole point.  It’s reusable.  Duh.  Get with the zeitgeist, people!  Reduce, reuse, re-apple.

“Apple Pycking and Familie Time” – Friends and families wandering the orchards.  Just as it was in the middle ages.  Except cellphones have improved.  And the apples are different.  But same idea.  Now picking:  Mutsu, Red Spy, Splendour, Cortland, Red Delicious, Rome Beauty.  This is the LAST WAVE of apples for this season!  Come pick now!  Cute photo from loyal ‘Creekniks @hookedproductions.

“Bigge Green Apples withe Artisticke Humours” – Mutsus are those big, green, crisp, honey-sweet apples famed since yesteryear for their versatility.  Great for eating fresh, baking pies, and, if you are an advanced Farmketeer, making bunnies.  And it’s vegetarian and no bunnies harmed.

“Fresh Cidre with Olyve Tapenade” – Here the lady bridges antiquity and modernity.  Says that our classically minded Orchard Ambrosia is best paired with olive paste from Athenian orchards, ideally aged at least 2,000 years.

“Donuts and Weekendes” – Long before the weekend was a thing, and eons before the communists turned it into like a human right, Our Lady of What-Goes-With-What predicted that fresh cider donuts would be the perfect complement to your Saturday and Sunday routine.  Served 10 to 6 PM.

“Payres Payre with Crisping” – You can choose from our panoply of pears at the farm stand, take ’em home, slice ’em up, toss ’em in the oven at 225° and forget about ’em.  Hours later, a beautiful guilt-free snack.  Shown:  Shenandoah pear crisps.

“Squashes and Onyons” –  If there ever was a tough-skinned vegetable with delicate insides, it’s the delicata squash.  They don’t store well and you can really only get them now.  ‘Tis the season, ’tis delicious.  Sear with onions.  Sprinkle with feta?  Also still picking in the vegetable fields:  some peppers (hot and bell), plenty of eggplant (but ask about our secret row if you want classic rather than Japanese eggplant), just a few cherry and heirloom tomatoes.  Plus Brussels sprouts and several kinds of winter squashes.  Make soups and stuff.

“Orchardes and Magyck” – Yes, we will return to Wizarding Weekend at Press Bay Alley on Saturday, Oct 29.  But this year we will also have a special day (Wizardween?  Potter Party?) at the farm on Sunday, Oct 30, 10 to 6 PM, in celebration of the dark arts.  You can catch the Hogwart’s Express (wagon rides), see a free puppet show at 2 PM, and get pumpkins, apples, donuts, cider, caramel apples, and more.  Basically a normal fun Sunday at the farm with a few magical extras and YOU SHOULD TOTALLY WEAR YOUR HALLOWEEN COSTUME TO TEST IT OUT.  It’s kinda the last big Sunday of the fall so come join us — rain or shine!

“Paynts and Childes” – This Sunday you can pair your child with our facepainter Ella from 12 to 3 PM.  She’ll be at the farm stand turning your kids into works of art – Oh, they already ARE works of art?  Of course they are.  They’re masterpieces.  But a little paint can do wonders.  Not just for kids!

“Farmes and the Powers of Sunshyne” – Not even Nostradamus saw this one coming.  The ‘Creek is going solar!  We’re pairing our barn roof (background) with panels by our neighbors Renovus Solar (thanks for pic).  This is a big deal that will fundamentally change how the farm uses energy — and even put net juice back INTO the grid.  The installation is in progress, so just a sneak peek for now.  More news to come about this delicious pairing between the farm and Renovus.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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The Pumpkin Patch Has Twins While Mutsus Get the Greenlight; You Can Pick Green Pumpkin-Sized Apples, Famous for Eating & Pies.

DEAR FARMKETEERS:  The changing light of autumn focuses the brain.  Simplifies the message.  Distills the plan.  Time to pick apples.  Time to pick pumpkins.  Both are abundant and ready for you.  Distractions can wait.  The harvest won’t.  Please come pick and play.

Pumpkin Sale Continues – The new red bags are a hit and so is the All-You-Can-Pack Pumpkin Sale.  For $12, you can fill a red farm bag with pumpkins and keep the bag.  You can mix and match pumpkin sizes.  Squeeze ’em in.  It’s like 3-D Tetris.  We had somebody get 28 pounds of pumpkins in there.

Triple Pumpkin Patch – The big mama pumpkin patch had babies.  Now you can find your pumpkins in 3 places on the farm.  Every pumpkin left behind will be meaningless on October 32nd, so please come pick.  Watch a few moments of last week’s frenzy.

New This Week — Mutsu Apples Open!  These are big beautiful apples that look like a pumpkin crossed with Golden Delicious.  Our English double agents say, “One of its parents is Golden Delicious so it has that lovely sweet honeyed flavour.  It cooks superbly too and the women picking them in our local orchard used to call them ‘oven busters’ — take a big one home and bake it and you have a feast for two — and you don’t need many for a deep apple pie.”  We all love Mutsu season.

New This Week – Other Apples!  The stand is stocked with dozens of varieties.  A rare chance to explore apples you won’t find at the supermarket.  Now open for u-pick:  Red Spy, Spigold, Cortland, and Winecrisp.  Plus Mutsu, of course.

Fresh Donuts & Crisp Cider – Did you know?  Our fresh Orchard Ambrosia contains apples and pears (nothing else!), so our apple cider donuts are really PEAR-APPLE DONUTS.  Mmmmm hmmm.  Get yours on Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 6 PM.  Hot and cold cider available every day.

A Muffin of Pears – Yesterday turned brighter when Amanda Farmstanda delivered a single gluten-free ginger-pear muffin (burnt slightly upon the bottom, truth be told) baked with hand-picked pears from The ‘Creek.  Right at snack time.  Just saying.  You can’t buy these here.  But you can bake ’em.

Last Veggies of the Year? – A frenetic picking session at dusk saved these San Marzanos from a possible frost.  Turns out the rest of the crop survived the night.  But Allie says, “There are still bell and hot peppers, eggplant, and a few tomatoes.  Threat of a frost Friday night, so they might be frost-damaged by the weekend.”  Come pick now!

Veggie Frenzy – See crowds of ‘Creekniks scoring tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants last weekend.  You’ve been warned, Farmketeers!  Come git.  Don’t wait.  It’s the ninth inning for vegetables.  Except Brussels Sprouts.  They’re looking great!

How to Make an Apple Shiny Without Grocery Store Shellacs or Waxes — Amanda Farmstanda (not the one who burnt the muffin) demonstrates this advanced technique.  You can practice on apples that you pick!

Farm Shirts – Yes, we are still hawking these dandy merches.  And, yes, Amanda Farmstanda (the same one who made the nummy, if burnt, muffin) still thinks the fuschia shirt is hideous.  But technically the color is called SANGRIA and isn’t it dashing on this handsome lad?  Note how it hides dirt better than the sunny yellow one.  So it’s practical, too.

Honor System Reminder – If you pick an apple, please take it home.  If you bite an apple, and you don’t like it, take it home anyway.  You can slice it up, slather it with peanut butter, mash it into sauce, or chop off the bite marks and gift it to your frenemy.  Anything is better than the heartbreaking waste of 1,000 apples thrown on the ground.  How would you like to be bitten once and thrown away?!  Be the change you want to see in the world.  Bite it, buy it.  Pretty please.

Go Big – The Mutsu Orchard is right next to the main pumpkin patch.  Both are EASY PICKING.  You can pick a peck of apples and a bag of pumpkins in 15 minutes.  And you can score BIG.  Big pumpkins.  Big fun apples.  Just look at Farmkeeter Eva.  She was like, Whoa.  High-level ‘Creekniks will ask whether that is indeed a Mutsu in the photo or rather a Spokane Beauty.  But if you’re working on that plane of apple knowledge you probably have your own orchard, so you should probably get back to work.  It’s harvest time!  To the rest of you, hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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High Apple Season, Peak Pumpkin Time, and a Free Puppet Show on the Playground!

LOYAL FARMKETEERS:  Remember how we lost the entire peach, plum, and apricot crop this year?  It hurt.  But you have rallied to salvage the season by coming to the farm for apples, pumpkins, cider, and donuts.  We need a few more solid weeks in October.  Please join us while the picking is good.

Apple Picking – New this week are the blue-ribbon apples called Red Delicious.  They get the blue ribbons because they are Farmer Stephen’s favorite apple – and boy does he know apples.  “Red Delish is my wish,” says he, “O, the ‘Licious is so Vicious!”  You can also pick Red Spy (red ribbons), Autumn Gala, Snowsweet, Fortune, and Sir Prize; an abundant and beautiful crop of Jonagold; and, possibly the last of the Macouns and Spartans.

Pumpkin Picking – Your Dozen Dollar Bag!  Pick all the pumpkins you can fit into our new reusable bag for only $12!  You keep the bag and leave with a cozy pile of pumpkins.

Cucurbitastic and bombastic – This year’s capacious pumpkin patch is positively cucurbitastic.  That means full of herbaceous vines like pumpkins, squashes, and gourds.  Come pick yours!  This message is sponsored by Farmketeer Laura, who challenged us to use “cucurbita” in a Crop Alert.

Sunflower Picking – The pumpkin patch is full of sunflowers and they won’t last long.  Cut your own and take some sunshine to your home or office.  Stylie photo by local company and farm fans, @hookedproductions.

Donuts – ‘Nuff said.  They derive their savory-sweet powers from the simple fact that they are hoops of fried dough, brewed with fresh apple cider and topped with cinnamon sugar.  Saturdays and Sundays 10 AM – 6 PM.

Cider – Straight tree juice, nectar of the dogs gods.  Pressed here from fresh apples and pears.  No added sugar.  Not even pasteurized.  Just squeezed fruit.  In honor of Cider Week Finger Lakes, our fabled Orchard Ambrosia is on sale for full price!  What, do you think this stuff grows on trees?!

Veggies – Check out this exemplary haul from about a week ago by visitors @winegasm_ (Astoria, NYC).  By comparison, this week you will find that tomatoes are mostly picked out, although determined pickers can find heirlooms, cherries, and Marzanos.  Plenty of hot peppers, while bell peppers are still in a second wave of immature green-purple.  Plenty of eggplant.  U-pick eggplant sale = $1/pound on weekdays.

SPROUTS – These scions of Brussel never cease to capture the attention of folks who’ve never seen them on the stalk.  Come lop your own.  They work great as party favors, housewarming gifts, and bacon stirfry staples.

Puppet Show – Join us Saturday, October 8, 2016, for an all ages puppet show!  Free admission.  Gather at the playground for a 4 PM show by LilySilly Puppets, featuring singing creatures, puppet dancers, poems, and a whole lot of absurdity.  Live music from classically trained Matthew Ocone.  See the official Facebook event for details and weather updates.  Rain date is Sunday, October 16.  Seating is butts on grass.  Expect crowds on farm.

Playground – The playground hits prime time with Apple Mountain, ping pong, table tennis, swingset, climbing tractor, giant sandbox, and a picnic table for 28.

Farm Shirts & Red Bags – Amanda here at the stand says this shirt is ugly.  Maybe she is right.  Nonetheless, these handsome farmers are in the primes of their lives and they display their farm merch with pride.  Beauty is boring.
From Apple Fest to Happy Harvest – You guys made our weekend at Apple Fest a blast.  Now you can come to the farm any day of the week for the ongoing delight of October apple and pumpkin harvest.  We’re open every day til dark.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Aren’t You Excidered? Time for Apples, Pumpkins, Donuts, Cider, Festival, and Special Events.

DEAR FARMKETEERS:  Water levels are historically low, but The ‘Creek is running all the way downtown.  That’s right, our unruly band of farmhands and ciderlings will be at the 34th Apple Harvest Festival on the Ithaca Commons, Friday through Sunday!  Rain or shine.  It usually rains.

Find us on the corner.  Last year was our first time and it was a whopper of a hoot.  Find our ramshackle booth where we will be slinging hot and cold cider, caramel apples, boring apples without caramel, pumpkins, Brussels sprouts, and glee.  The glee is free.  The caramel is gooey.

Meanwhile the farm is OPEN for apple picking.  This week’s fantastic crop is Cortland, Empire, Early Fuji, Liberty, Spartan, Jonagold, Macoun, and the last of the Macs.

The apple and pear display gets big!  Discover new types.  Weird ones you never heard of.  Some are amazing, some are meh, some are bleh.  You won’t know til you try.  This game has all the thrill of black-jack without the dirty dealing.

New this week — Pick a Bag o’ Pumpkins!  Pick all the pumpkins you can fit into our new reusable bag for only $12!  You keep the bag, and outfit your whole gang with pumpkins.  And yes we did fit all 28 pounds into that bag.  Booyah.

Pumpkins love company.  You don’t want to separate a single Jack- or Jill-O-Lantern from their mates.  They thrive in numbers.  Pick a bag full and your porch will sing.

Fresh cider served hot and cold.  This is plain tree juice, nectar of the dogs gods, a straight-shooting fruit bev.  Pressed here from fresh apples and pears.  No added sugar.  Not even pasteurized.  Just squeezed fruit.

Donuts.  These toroidal flavor poppers speak for themselves.  Line up at the Donut Hole (which is rectangular, as luck would have it) on Saturdays and Sundays 10 AM to 6 PM.

Sunflowers!  More than you can shake a flower at.  Fill your home or office with sun.  You will find them planted between the pumpkin rows and growing around the farm.

Professional flowers.  These sunflowers are professionals.  They go to work locally with @bizbloomfloraldesign.  Good enough for the pros, good enough for home and office.

Last wave of veggies?  Green and purple bell peppers, lots of hot peppers.  Tomatoes are more of an effort.  Heaps of eggplant.  Will this be the last easy picking weekend of the season?  Note the new reusable bag!  Good customer!

Pick, cook, eat.  This really is the time.  Veggies will soon go poof.  Apples, too.  Check out this drool-worthy Japanese curry by rising star Farmketeer @mapleandmatcha.  She used apples from the farm and grated them to “make it a little sweet bento buddy.”  Unimpressed Giraffe was unimpressed.

Playground for bigs and littles!  Cornell grad students have it rough.  You’re not exactly a student and you’re not exactly a professor.  You’re a tweener.  Here at The ‘Creek, we offer safe harbor to tweeners.  You can prance and frolic and be silly with no judgey professors being all judgey.  You can work on your second career as badminton champs, like Sanlin and Yolanda here.  Scientists by weekday, shuttlecockers of great pizzazz on weekends…  Go Big Rad.

Amanda’s Platypear.  Or Peartypus.  This is what happens when you work with fruit all day.  You start seeing things.  The fruit talks back.  Illusion and reality coalesce.  Please come give our farm stand folks compassionate human company.

Special event on the farm October 5, 4-6 PM!  Register now online!  This is a rare chance to talk shop and break bread with a nationally recognized cidermaker and your veteran neighborhood fruit tree farmer.  Autumn of Eve’s Cidery and Steve of Indian Creek will host “Twilight Walk, Talk, and Picnic Dinner” here at the farm.  You will tour the nursery, learn which apple varieties make the best cider, and finish with dinner and drink by The Piggery and Eve’s!  Space is limited and the event is NEXT WEEK, Wed, Oct 5 at 4-6 PM.  Register now.  Cost is only $15 per person including dinner and drink.  Click here to register online.

The event is rain or shine.  Come hang with us for an informal, educational, agriculinary soiree.  Help us celebrate Cider Week Finger Lakes!  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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11 Reasons to Visit the Farm Now and Breaking News of Donuts; Come Be Here, Farmketeers!

DEAR CREEKNIKS, this Fresh Crop Alert is sponsored by the autumnal equinox.  Such a lovely word, equinox.  Tacked on the end is nox, night.  But the dark times are not yet nigh.  And they are farther still if you expaaaaand your autumn.  If you get outdoors for fresh air and fresh food.  Here are 10 reasons to be… here… now.  And 1 bonus for careful readers.

New apples this week – Pick Cortland, Empire, Sweet 16, Elstar, Pixie Crunch, McIntosh, and more varieties that are ripening as the days roll by.  Wander, mix, and match.

Even more apples – Down at the farm stand you will find the apple display filling with varieties you’ve never heard of next to farm fan favorites like Honeycrisp!

New this week – Pick your dream pumpkin!  Or warmup pumpkins for carving practice.  The field is ready and striped with towering sunflowers.

New this week Fresh hot apple cider donuts!  You can waltz right up to the new “Donut Hole” every Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM to 6 PM, and get these poppable treats.

Fresh cider – Behind every good donut is an orchard-based cider.  We call it Orchard Ambrosia, and it is just fresh fruit, unpasteurized, no sugar added, squeezed and bottled here.

Family playground The hilltop has become a favorite place to hang for picnics and games.  You’ll find a swingset (big enough for grownups), a giant sandbox, a real tractor to “drive” and an open playing field for running about.

Apple Mountain True, it looks like a pile of dirt.  But Apple Mountain is the kids’ special place.  They run up and slide down and generally make a mess of their outfits.

Ping Pong and badminton – The playground just got more gamesy with 2 concrete outdoor tennis tables and a badminton court on the grass like Wimbledon.  Farmbledon, hereafter.

Pick vegetables – Veggie season is waning but the fields are still ready for pickers.  Plenty of bell and hot peppers, still delicious tomatoes, and lots of eggplant.  U-pick Japanese eggplant are on sale for only $1/lb thru Friday.

Cut your own flowers Many varieties in many gardens around the farm.  But sunflowers are going nuts.  Pick your own, get a meditative smile.

Cidergarden – The “front porch” seating area enters its second season and you will find it a shady place to eat donuts, drink cider, and maybe even hear some guitars plucking.

Cider Week event at Indian Creek Farm – Please join us at 4 PM on Wednesday, October 5, 2016.  You will learn about cider apple varieties with Steve of Indian Creek and Autumn of Eve’s Cidery fame.  They’ll tour you around our tree nursery, sample cider apples, taste hard cider, and geek out good and proper.  Stay tuned to next week’s newsletter for details.  Happy fall and hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Pick the Best of Summer and Fall with 3 Kinds of Apples, 5 Kinds of Tomatoes, and Sweet Cider.

“CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN PEAR.” That’s what one of our best Amandas calls her latest still life:

Hidden pear, indeed. If you didn’t pick Bartletts when we first sounded the horn, you’ve missed pear picking season. But you can get them at the stand.

The apple display is filling up beautifully. A favorite time of year for us. The orchards yield a pomological rainbow. Starting now you can get Honeycrisp apples at the stand.

Please pick now — McIntosh apples! They are dropping from the trees in the Vintage Orchard. Save them! Find the trees with ORANGE ribbons. The Mac is your classical, flexible apple: great for eating fresh AND making sauce AND pressing cider. Our man in Pocklington, Yorkshire, England, says, “McIntosh is without doubt one of the great North American apple varieties, typified by attractive crimson colours and a crunchy bite. The flavor is simple and direct, generally sweet but with refreshing acidity, and usually a hint of wine — often referred to as vinous.”

New this week — pick Autumn Crisp apples! You’ll find 20 trees in the Dwarf Orchard where the sign says cryptically, “NYS 674.” Here is how Autumn Crisp is described in Apples of Uncommon Character: “The apple is a dead ringer for Honeycrisp. Its cells shatter when you bite into it, like an apple-flavored Cheeto, spraying juice everywhere and leaving you with a mouthful of apple water. Wicked fun to eat…”

New this week — Pick Gala apples! You’ll find them at the west end of Row 15 in the Dwarf Orchard. Our homedog in the United Kingdom describes Gala thus: “Gala is a cross between Kidd’s Orange Red and Golden Delicious — a highly promising start. Bearing in mind that Kidd’s Orange Red is the offspring of Cox’s Orange Pippin and Red Delicious, Gala is effectively a union of three of the world’s most important and distinctive apple varieties.” Well said, royal subject.

Drink now — Orchard Ambrosia! We are pressing fresh cider several times a week and it gets better every time as the apple varieties ripen. Delicious cold or hot, it is unpasteurized with no sugar added and nothing but fruit.

You can still pick 5 kinds of tomatoes! Beefsteaks are plentiful and you can pick those for $1/pound during the weekdays. Roma, San Marzano, cherry, and heirloom (not included in sale) take a little more poking around, but you can still find them for your sauces, snacks, and recipes.

Big Beefsteak Box Sale continues! Get pecks of fresh-picked Beefsteaks for only $15 each, which is about $1/pound. We’ve done the picking for you. We’ll have these til we don’t. Time to load up, seriously. Tomato season will end abruptly without much warning.

You can still pick eggplant, peppers, and herbs! Let’s make the most of the season by harvesting the remaining heaps of hot peppers, plenty of eggplant, and herbs you can cut yourself. For inspiration, see this eggplant parm stack from Featured Farmketeer @weeeese, starring fresh tomatoes and eggplant from The ‘Creek. (The farm is on Instagram.)

Behold the DONUT HOLE. Yes, we just cut a hole in the barn for donuts. It is a rectangular donut hole. Very soon you will waltz up to this magic door and get fresh hot apple cider donuts. Kids will be able to peek inside at the donut machine, apple washing machine, and cider press. STAY TUNED!

Ping Pong! The newest craze at the playground! Outdoor table tennis with a view of orchards and distant hills. Two tables are already built. You will find paddles and balls in the wooden box next to the new… badminton court! Yaa haa! It’s grass like Wimbledon. The playground just got so much funner, especially for adults who don’t want to play TWUCKS in the sandbox or climb on the big TWACTOR.

It is still summer. But it is harvest season. Weekends on the farm are going to be livelier than a 2-tailed puppy. Sneak over during weekdays for quiet time in the orchard and the weekday u-pick tomato sale. Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Apple Season Begins with U-Pick Macs and 1st Cider of the Year; Big Tomato Sale Continues Apace.

DEAR ‘CREEKNIKS:  High apple season starts today!  You can pick McIntoshes off century-old trees in the Vintage Orchard and drink the first cider of the year.  Yes, Orchard Ambrosia is here!  Gallons and halfers chilled at the stand.

McIntosh apples are the harbingers of high apple season.  And they’re cute little buggers, showing none of the smugness associated with their Cupertino cousins.

Perfectly palm-size for a lunchbox.  Grab a Mac, groovy snack.  The trees are easy picking right now.  Please help us make great use of this crop which we’re lucky to have this year.

Liquid gold flows again!  The gang picked and pressed the first cider of the year.  Nothing but apples and pears, no added sugar, unpasteurized.  Plain old tree juice.

Foodies take note:  Orchard Ambrosia changes profile as apple season unfurls.  Taste it now, then next week, then the week after that.  New apple varieties — new flavor, aroma, mouthfeel, and finish.  But always refreshing.

The Big Beefsteak Box sale continues!  These $15 pecks are ready for your saucing and canning.  Works out to about $1/pound, which (absurdly) is cheaper than u-pick.  You can also catch the last day of the $1 weekday u-pick sale, which ends today, Friday, September 9:  $1/pound for u-pick beefsteaks.  Does not include Roma, San Marzano, cherry, or heirloom, which are rapidly diminishing as tomato seasons enters its final… er… finale.

So we celebrate the tomato.  Just look at this glorious gutbuster by our Featured Farmketeer, @mapleandmatcha.  A thousand times YES to your local tomato, basil, veggie pizzas.  We drool and bow before you.  Extra gluten, please.

Oh wait, what’s that?  Homemade tomato soup?  When the gastronome goes back to basics, it sure tastes like home.

Going international!  Soumen with fresh tomato wedges and a heart-healthy helping of freshies.

And finally this Provençal tian, shown in progress and served with couscous, starring tomatoes and squash from The ‘Creek.  Thank you for the inspiration, @mapleandmatcha!

A cute mosaic from another ‘Creenik, @clabs21.  You are welcome to hunt for everything you see here:  fall berries, assorted tomatoes, and cut-your-own flowers.  Our prime directive will be apples for the next 6 weeks, but you can forage for vegetables and other bits-n-bobs around the farm.

And this show-stopper from @lauroonbert.  Speaking of little dumplins, new kid shirts are here!  They’re awfully cute.  Made in USA.  Silkscreened in Ithaca.  Get ’em at the farm stand.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Now Picking! Bartlett Pears, Big Tomato Sales, and Everything You Need for Fruit & Veggie Meals.

DEAR FARMKETEERS, if you get only 1 thing out of this fresh crop alert, it should be these 2 things:  pears and tomatoes.  We are in the season of pears and tomatoes.  And tomatoes.  And tomatoes.  And pears and tomatoes.  And pears.

PEAR season begins!  Pick your own Bartlett pears from trees along the dirt road.  Easy picking, lovely crop.

Now is your chance to beat the September weekend crowds.  The Sat-Sun crowd is going to bumrush the pear orchard.  That gives you today and tomorrow to sneak in.

Teachable moment — pears are unusual.  They ripen from the inside out.  You can’t tell ripeness by looking or squeezing.  Then suddenly it’s too late and they are smushy and rotten.  So here’s what you do.  Pick the pears now, just before they are fully ripe.  Put them in your fridge for 1-2 days, then ripen at room temperature for a day or so.  You can also kickstart things with the old brown bag trick.  Learn about ripening pears to perfection on this page and this page.

We have a monster bumper tomato crop.  Pick your own Beefsteak, Roma, San Marzano, cherrry, and heirloom.  Kids love how easy the picking is.  Our crates runneth over!

Weekday u-pick tomato sale!  Come pick your own tomatoes for only $1/pound thru Friday, September 2!  This  stupendous sale includes u-pick Roma, Beefsteak, and San Marzanos.  (Cherry and heirloom not included.) 

People are doing amazing things with the tomato sale!  These tomatoes traveled to their new homes in Harlem where they became sauces, soups, roasters, and canners.  Nice work, Chef Greg Silverman.

Pick now, eat now (and later)!  Sure these babies taste terrific fresh off the vine.  But the great promise of the tomato is a winter full of luscious, life-affirming homemade sauce.

Whoa.  Dried tomato skins!  Chef Greg reminds us to get creative and use the whole fruit, even if you peel the skins for your canning.  He says, “Grind ’em up and use ’em as tomato spice for soups, stews, and my favs… coating for pan-seared fish or rubbed over lamb shanks.”

Not feeling the u-pick spirit?  You can still get our Beefsteak Boxes for only $15 — which works out to about a buck a pound, and we’ve done the picking for you!  Please come get some, we’re swimming in them.  Spread your extras around the neighborhood or the workplace.

There is so much more at the farm right now.  Pears and tomatoes are the headliners, but you can get peppers, eggplant, squash, flowers, herbs, onions, garlic, scapes, and lots more.  These cuties made the trip to Harlem, but were scared to leave the apartment and explore the city.  Bumpkins!

New farm shirts!  Adult sizes are here in multiple colors.  Next week the new kid shirts arrive.  These are $15 each.  American Apparel.  Made in USA.  Doodled in Ithaca.  Silkscreened by Comet Skateboards in Lansing.  2-color art on front and back.  Flash your Creeknik Pride?

Is this the prettiest apple you ever saw?  We are currently between waves of apple ripenings, so stay tuned for next week.  Meanwhile let’s PICK ALL THE PEARS.  They will rot on the branch if we miss the fleeting moment.  Comedian Eddie Izzard has cried:  “Pears can BLEEP off because they’re gorgeous little beasts but they’re ripe for half an hour…”  (Alert:  language)  He talks about the squeezy-squeezy game that you really can’t win.  So take our word for it.  Time to pick the Bartlett pears!  And buckets of tomatoes.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Big Tomato Sale, 3 New Kinds of Apples to Pick, and Rumors of the First Cider Pressing!

LOYAL CREEKNIKS:  You are patient and you are kind.  You are soft but you are firm. You are quick to praise and slow to criticize.  You are always wise and often wonderful.

Time to reap what you sow.  Cash in those karma points for DEEP DISCOUNTS on juicy fresh tomatoes.  The Ithaca Tomato Council, pictured here after emerging from their plenary session, has approved the following deal exclusively for Farmketeers.  (Only the heirlooms abstained.  Typical.)

BIG TOMATO SALE.  Get $15 pecks of field run beefsteaks!  These are fresh and juicy specimens that we picked for you — no work required!  A peck runs 12-15 pounds, so this is even cheaper than U-PICK!  Perfect for canners, stuffers, juicers, and tomato fanatics who don’t want to go picking!

Act fast while they last.  Who knows when that will be?  As early as tomorrow there could be a catastrophic outbreak of blossom end rot.  Eww.  Or a cataclysmic attack of nocturnal tomato-smashing kangaroos.  That’s what farming feels like.  A real crapshoot and the dice are loaded and the house always wins.

But scared money can’t win and a worried man can’t love.  So let the gods do the worrying for once.  Give yourself an emotional vacation in Tomatoland.  Load up on juicy, local, fresh-picked beefsteaks and live your lycopene dream.

Meanwhile, 3 new kinds of apples are ready to pick!  Try Sansa, Zestar (pictured), and Akane.  These are bona fide “eaters” — fully flavored apples ideal for snacking.

For some of you this will mean stepping out of your Granny Smith comfort zone.  It’s okay, these apples don’t bite, try something new.  See these Sansas.  Ain’t they tasty?

Pick vegetables, too!   Remember that the farm is a one-stop shop.  Fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, and more.  Just pull in and pick a peck.  The locavore’s cornucopia:  apples, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, Swiss chard…

And stocked shelves at the stand.  We got lots of seasonal goodies.  From fresh taters dug outta the ground with our own hands to local maple syrups and honeys.  That’s right — honeys.  How do you say it?  Honies?

Well, farmies, that ain’t the half of it.  But we can’t sit here yammering all day.  There’s fresh crops to pick.  Oh, and one little tidbit of gossip to chew on:  Rumor says the first apple cider will be pressed NEXT WEEEEEEEK!  Stay tuned for Orchard Ambrosia.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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