“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

This Weekend’s Made-to-Order Weather for Your Farm-to-Table Adventure; Pick Your Own Apples, Pumpkins, and Brazzle Sprozzles; Sweet Cider & Donuts; Seed Garlic for Your Garden; High Harvest for U-Pick Heirloom Apples!

DEAR FARMKETEERS:  Which one of these words does not belong?  Shilly-shally, dilly-dally, helter-skelter, hoity-toity, higgledy-piggledy, pell-mell, pall-mall, zig-zag, wing-ding, ding-dong, mish-mash, argle-bargle, itsy-bitsy, easy-peasy, hanky-panky, okey-dokey, namby-pamby, bric-a-brac, flim-flam, handy-dandy, heebie-jeebies, hokey-pokey, hurdy-gurdy, loosey-goosey, twiddle-twaddle, willy-nilly, yadda-yadda.  Do you know which is the oddball?

Hint:  Bric-a-brac.  If you guessed bric-a-brac, you’re right as usual.  Bric-a-brac does not belong.  It has three word-pieces instead of two.  Obviously therefore bric-a-brac cannot be part of this Fresh Crop Alert.  Adios, Bric-a-brac!  Now let us consider the others in turn…

Heebie-jeebies.  Let’s try it in a sentence.  How about:  “My little sister gets the heebie-jeebies when she daydreams about rabid cider donuts attacking a gentle zombie fruit farmer by the woodstove.”  Fair enough, that is creepy!  But it’s just a dream.  There’s no such thing as zombie fruit.  Anyway, you can get your freshly fried toroids of fructotic doughnutude 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 grok your meaning.  You can wash down your donuts with freshly pressed sweet cider, known around here as “Orchard Ambrosia” – 100% unpasteurized old-time juice of apples and pears.  Freezes great.  We’re brewing hot mulled cider, too, what with all the autumnals nipping around the ears.

Handy-dandy.  You can pick your own Mutsu apples, also known as Crispin, and golly are they handy-dandy.  The most versatile apple on the farm.  Mutsu is a dessert apple.  A pie apple.  A bake-it-right-in-the-oven apple.  It is the versatile little black cocktail dress of apples.  Appropriate for any occasion – and irresistible with that fetching hint of Mutsu blush.  Plus they get as big as pumpkins.  Dad planted the Mutsu orchard back in ’84.  We could rhapsodize about the Mutsus for weeks.  The British call them “oven busters” since 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 stitch-n-bitch.  But – as we have opined 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.

Hoity-toity.  Yes, please DO explore our exotic, antique, and heritage apples; but, no, don’t get hoity-toity about your apple savvy.  The world almost certainly does not need another self-satisfied foodie.  Rather, you can adopt beginner mind in the Dwarf Orchard, where you can still pick your own Golden Russet (pictured), Roxbury Russet, Calville Blanc, Newtown Pippin, Golden Delicious and many 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!  Please help us harvest these gems and expand your palate in a single visit.

Higgledy-piggledy, pell-mell, helter-skelter.  These words are birds of a feather.  They mean jumbled or scattered or disordered.  Evincing entropy.  A willy-nilly mish-mash.  Much like our Vintage Orchard, with Red Spy (ready now) and Rome Beauty and other classics planted all hither and thither.  Please zig-zag therein unhurriedly, have a picnic, hike around.  Keep your eyes peeled for red ribbons on trees with red apples.  Those are the Red Spy apples – possibly the best pie apples in the Lower 48.  And, yes, you can still get HONEYCRISP apples and other varieties of apples and pears at the farm stand.  *Note:  Some of the red ribbons have faded to pink.  But they are still Red Spy.

Shilly-shally.  Dilly-dally.  It is October 18 – come pick your dream pumpkins now!  Last year the Pumpkin Patch got picked clean well before Halloween.  So the prudent picker dare not shilly-shally.  Nor dilly-dally!

Boopy.  Overheard in the Pumpkin Patch:  “Ew mama these pumpkins are so boopy.”  Thus we have an unofficial addition to the word list, courtesy of a 4-year-old Farmketeer, though we might recast it as “boopy-doopy” to fit the formula.  (Lest we have to let bric-a-brac back into the fold; after all, exceptions ARE invidious.)  These boopy pumpkins might make Thoreau want to rethink his famous assertion:  “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”  Suit yourself, pal!

Pall-mall.  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 “Brouts” and the week before that was “Sprussel Brouts.”  This week, in the spirit of compound words, we elected Brazzle-Sprozzles.  Please come cut your own sprozzles – just be sure to use the loppers and CUT the whole stalk rather than picking individual sprouts off the stalk, which wrecks the plant.  But what is pall-mall you ask?  Well first, not to be confused with pell-mell which we discussed in lesson 4 above.  Pall-mall was a popular lawn game in 16th-century England, a precursor to croquet.  In a pinch you could use large brazzle-sprozzles as your pell-mell balls.

Wing-ding.  Take a pan full of fresh-plucked sprouts, fry them with bacon and chopped nuts, invite your best friends, and BAM, you’ve got a wing-ding.  Season the sprouts – and the guests! – with a good hard cider, just like wine or sherry.  The wing-ding pros at Eve’s Cidery taught us that.

Ding-dong!  That’s the ALARM BELL telling you it’s time to plan your spring garden – and get deluxe seed garlic this weekend.  Special seed garlic sale!  Our neighbor Paul will be selling his organically grown garlic bulbs at the farm stand Saturday, October 19, 10:00 to 5:00.  You can find the likes of Georgia Fire, Italian Easy Peel, Tochliavri, Persian Star, Romanian Red, Chesnok Red, Georgia Crystal, and others.  Soft necks and hard necks.  Large bulbs and cold-hardy.  Paul has grown these lines of garlic for over 10 years in his home garden on Indian Creek Road.  Come support a local gardener and get your own garlic patch planted!  He will also have utility garlic for sale and specials at his table.  You can contact him at (607) 279-4866 and pac30@cornell.edu.

Itsy-bitsy.  You only need to taste an itsy-bitsy slice of fresh ginger root to be a convert for life.  Good enough to eat fresh, not to mention bringing life to your cooking creations.  Same with the fresh turmeric root.  Sharon and Dean from TreeGate Farm around the corner have been delighting farm fans with these tropical roots grown here in the Finger Lakes.  Same deal with Cal’s radishes grown here at The ‘Creek – 5 kinds now available at the farm stand and they add proper zing to your noshings.  Also last chance to pick peppers (sweet and hot) and possibly score the last tomatoes on the farm.

Hurdy-gurdy, hokey-pokey.  When Bowie is not doing flower tricks, he plays the hurdy-gurdy and does the hokey-pokey.  You can still cut your own flowers by the bouquet or 5-gallon bucket (bring your own bucket).  Could be the final week for flowers.  Also, bring your own bags for apple picking and shopping – or get our reusable farm totes.  No more single-use plastic bags on the farm!

Easy-peasy!  Kids at Belle Sherman Elementary School painted pumpkins during their International Harvest Festival.  See, kids, it’s not so hard once you get started.  Easy-peasy.  We sent a trunkload of gourds to support the party.  Thank you.

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

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz

Diamonds Are Forever, but Donuts Are for NOW; Come Pick Your Own Apples & Pumpkins & Brouts; Drink Sweet Cider & Hot Mulled Cider; Open Monday Holiday & Every Day; Moonshine Sale Ends Sunday.

DEAR FARMKETEERS:  Little Bobby will become Bummed Out Bobby if you wait til the final week before Halloween to come pick your dream pumpkins.

Just a heads-up.  You don’t want to have to tell Little Bobby that her jack-o-lantern is a JOKE-o-Lantern.  A big, gray, lumpy Blue Hubbard.  And no, she won’t be fooled by orange paint.  (But good try, Sneaky Parent of the Year!)  Last season the pumpkin patch got picked clean well before All Hallows’ Eve.  So come pick now.  Pumpkin envy never did anybody any good.  And it can stick around a good 2 weeks.  Freud would say years.

Luckily, the preventative is at hand.  Surely you’ve heard the old rhyme?  Oh how it’s been said a thousand times before… an ounce of pumpkin is worth a pound of cure!   You can pick your pumpkins in the patch or find them right at the farm stand.  (Plenty of Hubbards and other squashes, too, for the revolutionaries out there – you who might like to disrupt the perennial October tyranny of the Orange Ones.)

Come pick apples as big as pumpkins.  That’s right, it’s MUTSU season.  We know you Mutsu fanatics come out of hiding in mid-October every year.  Mutsu is a dessert apple.  A pie apple.  A versatile apple.  The versatile little black cocktail dress of apples.  And they get as big as pumpkins.  Dad planted the Mutsu orchard back in ’84.  We could rhapsodize about the Mutsus for days.  The British call them “oven busters” since 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 stitch-n-bitch.  But dudes can do that, too.  Just saying.  Ovens and stitching and b*tching aren’t just for girls.  And dessert.  And feelings.  And sharing.  And little black cocktail dresses.  All welcome at The ‘Creek.

ALL!  APPLE!  VARIETIES!  Now open for picking!  This is the last big wave of u-pick apples.  In addition to Mutsu, you can pick Northern Spy, Prairie Spy, Spigold, Jonagold, Winecrisp (pictured), and more.  Ask at the stand and we’ll circle them on the map.  For many of us apple lovers, these October specimens are the cream of the crop, the creme-de-la-creme, the pommes-de-les-pommes.  The Big Show.

Cut your own “Brouts.”  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 “Sprussel Brouts” which worked pretty well.  Most everybody figured it out.  This week is the obvious contraction (why didn’t we think of this before?!) – BROUTS.  But careful!  Not to be confused with brots.  Brots is short for brotwursts.  Brots are made of food.  Brouts are made of plants.  But plants can be food too.  And not just ‘rabbit food’ like Old Grandad “It’s-Not-a-Meal-Unless-It’s-Meat” used to call it.  There’s even that new Impossible Burger.  Okay, ready… everyone run to Burger King or McDonald’s or wherever has those Impossible Burgers and order some!  Or let’s not and say we did!  Instead come pick your own Brouts.  They are delicious and nutritious.  Animal Exhibit A is a rabbit named Donut noshing on brouts.

Exhibit B is a horse named Truffle eating Honeycrisp.  The Honeycrisp trees have been stripped clean, but you can still get Honeycrisp apples at the farm stand.  We only get 37 emails a week asking if we still have Honeycrisp.  Yes, we still have them.  By the way, to all you so-called Honeycrisp champions, nobody can eat a Honeycrisp like a pony can.  Prodigious munchings and crunchings.  Juice flying everywhere.  Teeth on the move, nostrils flaring, tail wagging – and that special shimmy they do with their ribs, and that ripple in the withers.  You’d have to really practice to match that.  Prepare for a tummy ache.

Exhibit C is a cat named Chickadee eating sunflowers.  The Sunflower Maze, just FYI, will probably be the Dead Brown Sunflower maze by the time you get here this weekend.  It will still be standing, and you can wander through, and even cut your own sunflowers like before.  Dead brown ones are free.  If you find a nice bright yellow one, it survived the frost and you are a lucky person.  Please return the scissors to the bucket.

Eat donuts and sweet cider.  Get your freshly fried toroids of fructotic scrumption 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 catch your drift.  Wash down the donuts with freshly pressed sweet cider, known around here as “Orchard Ambrosia” – 100% unpasteurized old-timey juice of apples and pears.  Freezes great.  We’re brewing hot mulled cider, too.

Get fresh ginger root and turmeric root, notably recherché rhizomes here in the Finger Lakes.  Few people know that fresh ging and turm have been growing in Ithaca.  Sharon and Dean of Tree Gate Farm, our friends around the corner on Coy Glen, are delighting Farmketeers for a second year.  Last year Farmies snarfed up the roots as fast as Tree Gate could deliver.  Great for ginger tea and golden milk.  Sharon explains how they grow them:  “The seed comes from Hawaii, arrives in March, and using a greenhouse and a lot of compost, we spend 7 months working to convince it that the Finger Lakes region is almost as wonderful a place to grow as the tropics.  Unlike what you find at the grocery store, our uncured ginger is snappy and sweet, roughly the texture of an apple or a slice of water chestnut.  And no peeling required!  Just be sure to use or freeze within a week; it’s perishable.”

New this week:  Cal’s Five-Color Radish Mix.  The eagerly awaited October blend of yellow, white, burgundy, pink, and red.  You can also get French breakfast radishes, which are tender, white and red, crunchy, with mild spice.  Also Sora radishes, the classic, reliable, round red radish for all purposes.  Also watermelon radishes.  All these spicy little treats are versatile.  Roast them.  Make quick “fridge pickles” for a piquant addition to tacos, burritos, salads.  Eat them raw to power up your personal spice.

Get bulk cider on sale through Sunday October 13!  Hello, homebrew cider fans!  Bring your 5-gallon carboys to Indian Creek by OCTOBER 13 and we will fill them with 100% unpasteurized cider for $30 each (only $6/gallon) OR $5/gallon when you buy 10-45 gallons (2-9 carboys) OR $4/gallon when you get 50 gallons (10 carboys).  That’s backcountry moonshine prices!  It’s the best cider we’ve had in years.  Blend includes Mutsu, Gala, Empire, Mac, Autumn Crisp, Honeycrisp, Virginia Crab, and Elstar.  Just leave your carboys inside the double doors at the farm stand with your name and number attached.  We will call you when filled.

Pick the last peppers.  Maybe tomatoes.  Maybe eggplant.  Farmer Steve’s official report from the nightshade field was:  “Peppers, yes!  Tomatoes, piddling along.  Eggplant, piddling along.”  You won’t find that kind of advanced crop reporting in the Farmers’ Almanac.  No sirree, Bobby.

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

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz

Top 11 Reasons to Hit “The Creek” This Week; Pick Apples & Pumpkins & Sprussel Brouts; Fresh Donuts & Hot Mulled Cider; Cut Your Own Sunflowers in the Maze; Huge Bulk Cider Sale; Got Honeycrisp?

DEAR FARMKETEERS:  Breaking news – The president’s personal lawyer has just hired a former Watergate prosecutor to be his personal lawyer.  Isn’t THAT a love triangle for the ages?  Who knew democracy could be so cozy?  So tidy and sweet?

Dang near sweet as apple pie.  Yes, Farmies, while your leaders have been preparing for a bipartisan slobberknocker of historic proportions, your fellow ‘Creekniks have been keeping it real down here in farm country – picking apples and baking drooly pies.  Thank you for the ins-pie-ration, @4lettersfood!  (Also for the adorbs cover photo in the kitchen!)

Come pick 11 kinds of apples.  Or was it 13 kinds of apples and 11 reasons to get out here?  But who’s counting?  All you need to know is there’s a veritable “crap ton” of apples still hanging here on the trees.  That’s what old cousin Owen would say.  Crap ton.  We called him Onion Ring since he didn’t like onions.  Just kind of joking around, you know, calling somebody a food they don’t like.  All in good jest.  And he secretly did kind of like onion RINGS since they were breaded and deep fried.  We called him Onion for short.  Anyway, Farmketeers, your work here is not done.  Please come pick Jonagold, Fuji, Macoun, McIntosh, Cortland, Liberty, Spartan, Pixie Crunch, Fortune, Snow Sweet, and probably more that have ripened in the 2 days since Farmer Steve surveyed the orchard.  Thank you to everyone who has come apple picking in the rain this week.  Surprisingly active round the farm, and we’re always humbled by your dedication.  By the way, you can still get Honeycrisp apples at the stand.

Bake apple, pecan, cranberry, brown butter bread You’re on a roll, @4lettersfood.  Epic farm-to-table action.

Make your own apple butterrrrrrrrrrrrr!  Thank you, @emmyinthekitchen, for reminding us that it is time to be “putting up” stuff for after harvest.

Cut your own Sprussel Brouts.  Most people have never seen a stalk of sprouts, let alone cut their own.  Even fewer have traveled from New York City just to wear a sprout leaf on their head.  Try it if you like – it is strangely calming.  Famously paired with bacon, Brussels sprouts also pair magically with fresh ginger root.  How about cooking gingered sprouts?

Eat fresh donuts and sweet cider.  Get your freshly fried toroids of fructotic splendor 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 know what you mean.  Wash down the donuts with freshly pressed sweet cider, known around here as “Orchard Ambrosia” – 100% unpasteurized old-timey juice of apples and pears.  Freezes great.  We’re brewing hot mulled cider, too, now that a nip is in the air.

Get bulk cider on biggly sale!  Hello, homebrew cider fans!  Bring your 5-gallon carboys to Indian Creek by OCTOBER 13 and we will fill them with 100% unpasteurized cider for $30 each (only $6/gallon) OR get it down to $5/gallon when you buy 10-45 gallons (2-9 carboys) OR only $4/gallon when you get 50 gallons (10 carboys).  That’s backcountry moonshine prices!  And it’s the best cider we’ve had in years.  Blend includes Mutsu, Gala, Empire, Mac, Autumn Crisp, Honeycrisp, Virginia Crab, and Elstar.  Just leave your carboys inside the double doors at the farm stand with your name and number attached.  We will call you when filled.

Cut your own sunflowers in the sunflower maze.  Don’t wait long, these suns won’t shine forever.  Thank you again, @4lettersfood.  Seems like an exemplary visit.

Pick the last tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.  The Indian Creek Tomato Council – pictured at their October conclave – will soon shutter the season.  The nightshade field is plugging along.  Diligent pickers, who plod along patiently and look below the leaves, can still find fresh tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), and eggplants.  These summer vegetables will be gone soon.  Pick up and put up.

Explore new realms with Cal’s radishes.  New this week – Watermelon radishes (pictured).  Cal just started harvesting these earthy, spicy gems with green rind and bright pink center.  They are great for roasting, pickling, shredding into salads.  You can also get French breakfast radishes, which are tender, white and red, crunchy, with mild spice, the best fresh-eating radishes.  Also Sora radishes, the classic, reliable, round red radish for all purposes.  Coming soon will be the “five color mix” of yellow, white, burgundy, pink, and red.  All these spicy little treats are versatile.  Roast them.  Make quick “fridge pickles” for a piquant addition to tacos, burritos, salads.  Eat them raw to power up your personal spice.

Get fresh ginger root, surely a recherché rhizome here in the Finger Lakes.  Few people know that fresh ginger has been growing in Ithaca.  Sharon and Dean of Tree Gate Farm, our friends around the corner on Coy Glen, are delighting Farmketeers for a second year.  Last year Farmies snarfed up the roots as fast as Tree Gate could deliver.  It’s great for ginger tea and myriad culinary uses.  Sharon explains how they grow it:  “The seed comes from Hawaii, arrives in March, and using a greenhouse and a lot of compost, we spend 7 months working to convince it that the Finger Lakes region is almost as wonderful a place to grow as the tropics.  Unlike what you find at the grocery store, our uncured ginger is snappy and sweet, roughly the texture of an apple or a slice of water chestnut.  And no peeling required!  Just be sure to use or freeze within a week; it’s perishable.”  Ginger now, turmeric soon!

Ready or not, it’s pumpkin season.  Nobody cares about pumpkins before October 4th and nobody cares about them October 32nd.  That gives pumpkins some 28 days to matter.  Please come get yours.  Last year there were no leftovers.

Please, Dear ‘Creekniks, no jokes about impeaching the Great Pumpkin or the Pumpkin of the United States (POTUS).  These are grave matters and not to be trifled with for cheap comedic effect.  No mudslinging and tittle-tattle about the highest office in the land when the elected executive hasn’t had a chance to meet his accuser.  Not fair!

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

(Thank you to Farmketeer @adri.m.darcy for that last photo!)

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz

Pick 15 Kinds of Autumn Apples, Knock Back Fresh Donuts with a Cider Chaser, Cut Sunflowers in the Maze, and – New This Week! – Control the Universe with Ginger, Radishes, and Brussels Sprouts!

DEAR FARMKETEERS:  The days are getting shorter, but do not fear!  Your to-do list is shrinking even faster.

Yes, intrepid locavores!  You have already picked ALL the strawberries, raspberries, peaches, pears, plums, nectarines, apricots, and garlic that we could grow on the whole farm.  And a half-orchard of apples.  And a barnload of veggies besides.  Bravo!  Here is all that’s left on your September to-do list…

#1 – Pick a gigunda crop of apples.  Gigantic doesn’t cover it.  Gigunda is the proper aggie word for a bumper crop.  Please come at once to pick your own Jonamac, Early Fuji, Pixie Crunch, Macoun, Empire, Sweet 16 (hello Cherry Twizzler!), Sir Prize, McIntosh, Cortland (doesn’t turn yellow!), Liberty, Spartan, and more.  Farmer Steve’s orchard report actually said, “Macoun, Macoun, Macoun, Macoun…” which we might take to mean that there’s an especially copious and delicious crop of Macouns this year.  And he wrote MCINTOSH and CORTLAND in all big letters which counts as shouting on the internet.  Pick Macs and Corts off the big trees in the Vintage Orchard.  Find orange (Mac) and yellow (Cortland) ribbons.

#2 – Discover exotic apples and pears at the stand.  You can finish your picking adventure at the roadside farmstand where you’ll find heritage and heirloom fruits that we’ve picked for you.  Treasures you won’t find in a grocery store.  Apples like Ellison’s Orange, Chestnut Crab, Burgundy, Kerr, and Golden Pippin.  Pears like Flemish Beauty, Anjou, Bartlett, and Madame Boutant.  Madame’s card says “old French pear,” not “old Fresh pear” – a probable oxymoron in most construals.

#3 – Cut your own sunflowers in the maze.  Wander the path, harvest as you go, and put the scissors back where you found them.  As it is in life, so it is in the sunflower maze.

#4 – Do a deep-dive into donuts and cider.  Get your freshly fried toroids of fructotic cidericiousness 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 know what you mean.  Wash down the donuts with freshly pressed sweet cider, known around here as “Orchard Ambrosia” – 100% unpasteurized old-timey juice of apples and pears.  Freezes great.  We’re brewing hot mulled cider, too, now that a nip is in the air.

#5 – Stock up – and spice up – on this recherché commodity:  fresh local ginger root.   “The most precious substance in the universe is the spice… The spice extends life… expands consciousness… gives one the ability to fold space… that is, travel to any part of the universe without moving.”  Of course Sci-Fi fans know that from Dune.  But few people know that fresh ginger has been growing right here at home in the Finger Lakes.  Sharon and Dean of Tree Gate Farm, our friends around the corner next to Coy Glen, will try to keep us supplied for a second year.  Last year Farm Fans hoovered up the rhizomes as fast as they could deliver.  It’s great for ginger tea and myriad culinary uses.  Sharon explains how they grow it:  “The seed comes from Hawaii, arrives in March, and using a greenhouse and a lot of compost, we spend 7 months working to convince it that the Finger Lakes region is almost as wonderful a place to grow as the tropics.  Unlike what you find at the grocery store, our uncured ginger is snappy and sweet, roughly the texture of an apple or a slice of water chestnut.  And no peeling required!  Just be sure to use or freeze within a week; it’s perishable.”  Ginger now, turmeric in October!

#6 – Double your spice power with Callie’s radishes.  “He who controls the spice controls the universe.”  Another science fiction fact that spawns an obvious corollary:  YOU must control the spice in your kitchen.  Time to mine Planet Radish for new culinary booty.  Cal has been harvesting these French breakfast radishes (left) which are tender, white and red, crunchy, with mild spice, the best fresh-eating radishes.  Also Sora radishes (right), the classic, reliable, round red radish for all purposes.  Ripening soon will be watermelon radishes – earthy, spicy, with green rind and bright pink center, great for roasting, pickling, shredding into salads – and the “five color mix” of yellow, white, burgundy, pink, and red.  All these spicy little treats are versatile.  Roast them.  Make quick “fridge pickles” for a piquant addition to tacos, burritos, salads.  Eat them raw to power up your personal spice.

#7 – Cut your own Brussels sprouts. Most people have never seen a stalk of sprouts, let alone cut their own. Famously paired with bacon, but in the spirit of spice, how about cooking your own gingered sprouts?

#8 – Pick the last tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.  The nightshade field keeps plugging along.  Diligent pickers, who plod along patiently and look below the leaves, can still find fresh tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), and eggplants.  These summer vegetables will wrap up soon.

#9 – Bake an apple pie!  How about apple ginger pie or ginger apple pie since we have fresh ginger at the stand (first come, first get!)?  Thank you to loyal ‘Creeknik Tamarynde Cacciotti for the mouthwatering pic.

#10 – BYOBag.  Please bring your own bags for picking and shopping, or get our reusable farm totes at the stand.  No more single-use plastic bags at The ‘Creek!  The totes come in 2 sizes for only $1.50 and $2.00.  They’re great for apple picking, but also for groceries and picnics and “various and sundries.”

#11 – Find us at the Festival.  Yes we will be on the Ithaca Commons from Friday through Sunday this week.  Follow your nose to our donut stand.  Look for our big green hut with spinning signs and fresh apples and sweet cider and mulled cider and Brussels sprouts and donuts and other farm treats.

#12 – Help us support farmland protection!  This year Indian Creek donated $1000 to the Finger Lakes Land Trust, our hometown conservation nonprofit, to advance farmland protection efforts in the region.  Land Trust Executive Director Andy Zepp (left) came to chat with Farmer Steve at Indian Creek, which is protected by a conservation easement held by the Town of Ithaca and located within the West Hill Wildway – a proposed greenbelt that extends the length of town and includes both natural areas and farms.  You can help permanently safeguard prime Finger Lakes farmlands by making a gift to the Land Trust.  They have worked tirelessly for 30 years to conserve over 23,000 acres of our most cherished lakeshores, gorges, waterfalls, and open spaces.  Thanks to Chris Ray for this photo and the next.

(Oops, blooper.)  (Corn → Steve.)

Stay tuned for your October to-do list.  We will send it next week.  It is even shorter.  And oranger.

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

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz

How to Make a Love Apple; Orchard Season Hits Stride with Honeycrisp, Gala, Mac, Cortland; Urgent Weekday Sale – Pick Vintage Apples for Less Than $0.99/lb; Weekend Donuts and (New!) Radical Radishes.

DEAR FARMKETEER:  You could continue to be an average lover.  Yes, like millions before you, you could send roses to your sweetheart every Hallmark holiday.  You could leave a trail of chocolate bon-bons from the bedside to the breakfast nook, where Aruba tickets are tucked under the eggs Benedict.  You could even sneak new a Mercedes Benz into the driveway, wrapped in red ribbons (diamond earrings on the keychain!) for an autumnal morning surprise.  These techniques are all part of being average.  Would you like to go from average to awesome?

You must learn to make a Love Apple.  We can show you how.  We do it every day.  We can do it with our eyes closed.  You might even say it is WHAT we do.  We are farmers, growing Love Apples.  Sowing love and growing love.  Magic orbs of eros jumping off the trees.  (Squeezed weekly into unpasteurized Orchard AmbrosiaNectar of the Gawds!)

Put an apple in your armpit.  Let it soak.  Send it to the apple of your eye who will savor the fragrance.  This was called a Love Apple in Elizabethan England, according to zoologist Desmond Morris, who describes the practice in The Naked Woman: A Study of the Female Body.  The apple should be peeled for best absorption, but we are showing fully clothed apples as this is a family channel.  (Important note!  It is still tomato season here at The ‘Creek, so please do not confuse the Love Apple with a love apple.)

You couldn’t make this stuff up.  And you don’t have to.  It is true historical fact according to our friend at Eve’s Cidery who read the book.  Of course, history is written by the victors; to the victors go the spoils; and, from the spoils comes the… compost.  So pick an old apple off a tree – the scabbier and mushier the better – place it in your armpit, and thereby complete the circle of life, love, and decomposition.

May we recommend starting with Vintage Apples – Mac and Cortland – straight out of history?  Big sale!  Now is your chance to pick the classic varieties McIntosh and Cortland in our Vintage Orchard for less than 99¢ a pound.  Here’s how it works.  It’s a big weekday u-pick apple sale through Friday, September 20, 2019.   Ends tomorrow if you are reading this today.  Fill a peck bag for only $10.  Should should work out to 10+ pounds.  Thus you would pay less than $1 per pound which sounds even better when rounded down to 99¢.  Report to the farm stand to get the special bag and map, and we will direct you to the Vintage Orchard where you can hunt for orange ribbons (Mac) and yellow ribbons (Cortland).  Easy picking.  But note!  The bag is $10 whether you fill it or not, so fill it up and it will work out to sweet savings – perhaps less than $1 per pound when it is normally $2.25!  This sudden sale applies only to u-pick McIntosh and Cortland apples.  Don’t wait til the weekend for love.  Get your Vintage Orchard Love Apples before Friday COB.

May we recommend also trying Honeycrisp?  Pairs well with donuts.  That would be the “Love Apple Plus” package.  Only recommended for glutenicious suitors.  This is probably the final weekend of major Honeycrisp picking.

How about Gala, Autumn Crisp, Jonamac (pictured), and others?  Apple season is in full swing now.  Monday is the autumnal equinox.  New apple varieties will ripen each week.  They come and go.  Pick your favorites and try new ones.

Gala apples in the “Love Apple Plus PLUS Package.  A smashing Dutch apple pie by @naturally.hungry.

Apple and raisin bread with spiced apple butter.  Yes, please @redkettlebb!  Hello over there in Watkins Glen.

No running by the pool – but please run to the orchard!  The Mac & Cortland sale is only through Friday, and Honeycrisps will get heavily picked this weekend.  Thank you, heather.abril, for the action shot.

U-pick peaches are kicked.  U-pick pears are hosed.  But don’t fret.  Just switch gears to apple picking.  You can do it.  Thanks for the inspiration @studiofortehenna.

New this week!  Cal’s gourmet radishes at the farm stand.  French breakfast – tender, white and red, crunchy, mild spice, best raw eating radish.  Sora – classic, reliable round red radish.  Watermelon radish – later season, hearty, spicy, green rind with bright pink center, great for roasting, pickling, shredding into salads.  Five color mix – yellow, white, burgundy, pink, and red.  Roast them.  Make quick pickles for a piquant addition to tacos, burritos, salads.  And everyone loves a raw radish.  You might not know it yet, but you do too!

If you want to meet some of the Love Apple armpits, come to dinner at Eve’s Cidery.   You are invited Thursday, October 3, at 6:00 PM.  Dine with the cider makers, Chef Brad Marshall from The Piggery, and special guest, Author Jason Wilson.  Please see the menu and sign up for this six-course farm-to-table cider dinner hosted in Van Etten.  Your ticket includes dinner, drinks, and a signed copy of Jason’s new book that covers so many familiar businesses in our burgeoning regional cider scene.  Last chance, only 4 tickets left!

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

Posted in Crop Alerts & Farm Buzz

Double Your Pleasure – Pick the Final Rows of Peach Season AND a Bangin’ Croppa Honeycrisp Apples! Also Pick Gala, McIntosh, Jonamac; Secret Tomato Deal; Secret Cidery Dinner; Fresh Weekend Donuts.

ESTEEMED FARMKETEERS:  Have you ever said this to yourself?  “Wow, I’m amazing.”  If you have said it, three cheers for you.  You probably really are amazing.  If you have not said it, don’t worry.  Let us help.  It’s pretty easy.

All you have to do is:  Turn left when you see these arrows by the pear trees.  If you turn left, you will have achieved all that is asked of you at that moment in your life.  And that IS amazing.  Go ahead and say, “Wow, I’m amazing.”  You would be amazed by how many people turn right –or– drive straight when they come to this farmy intersection.  (For the record, nobody has “turned straight” or “gone straight” here, as far as we know, but that would be fine too.  The pears are experts at minding their own business.  They would never think of telling you how to live your one wild and precious life.)

“But I couldn’t find the pear trees…!”  Good point, by the time this Fresh Crop Alert hits newsstands, the Bartlett pears will be scarcer than deviled eggs after a church picnic.  Same for the Asian pears.  Thank you for being such radically fervent parishioners.  Pear-ishioners.  Truth is, by the time this Fresh Crop Alert hits newsstands, the red arrow signs might be gone too – sneakily moved to another part of the orchard and FLIPPED OVER to point right and stuck, absurdly, to an AMPERSAND.  This state of affairs is called ‘entropy’ and our signage team has received commendations for excellence in that most esoteric discipline.  Meanwhile more exotic pears are ripening and you can find them at the farm stand.

Pick your own peaches – or load up at the stand.  This is the last major weekend of peach season.  The final 2 rows are open for picking.  If doing the labor of picking peaches yourself sounds too… laborious… and also makes you ask yourself, Why I am paying these people when I am doing the labor myself? – don’t be ashamed, you are not alone.  Perhaps one thousand pickers before you have carried that ponderous notion around the orchard and departed with a bag full of fruit and head full of additional questions they picked up along the way.  You should expect to leave the farm with at least one unanswered – even unanswerable – question for every pound of produce you buy.  To make the u-pick equation even weirder, you can buy peaches at the stand in various configurations, some of which end up at a better price per pound than u-pick (while supplies last).  Thus trying to leave The ‘Creek in a state of mental clarity is like slinging a hammock between two cornstalks.

Pick your own apples – HONEYCRISP and others!  Did somebody say HONEYCRISPPPP?!  Well does a cat have climbing gear?  Yes.  Yes it does.  And today is the official start of Honeycrisp season.  Some of you started last week but now is your chance to conform and be like the rest of us.  No crop motivates pickers like Honeycrisp and we expect the orchard to be livelier than a flock of two-tailed puppies on Coke Zero and catnip.  Also in the Dwarf Orchard you can find Gala, Jonamac, and Autumn Crisp.  Autumn Crisp used to be called “NYS 674” but somebody thought a rebrand would sell more apples.  Can a name influence your perception of taste?  Think of chocolate mousse versus chocolate mouse, like in the cinematic classic Rosemary’s Baby.  An altogether creepy gig once you factor in Roman Polanski, Mia Farrow (with eery Frank Sinatra sending her divorce papers while she was on set), and the occult-obsessed neighbors canoodling in the closet.  Not to mention “tannis root,” which we do NOT grow at The ‘Creek.  But we digress.  You can also pick McIntosh – a classic of its own – in the Vintage Orchard.

High time to load up on tomatoes and peppers – sweet and hot.  There are a few dozen varieties of tomatoes and peppers and you simply have to come out and rummage around under the leaves to see what’s in abundance.  It’s too hard to tell you here, or in response to Facebook and Instagram questions, exactly what kinds you will find when you come.  Eggplants, meanwhile, are mostly small and scattered since your collective appetite for them has been voracious since first mention a couple months ago.  Anyway, don’t delay, it’s time.

Super secret tomato sale – prepicked pecks of Beefsteak ($18) and Romas ($15).  These would normally be about $25 by the pound.  The sale is so sudden and so super-secret because it might only last one day… or LESS.  Kelsey here at the farm stand said we have about 5 or 10 pecks of each that must be sauced NOW, so first come, first get.  This Fresh Crop Alert might reach 10,000 people in the first few hours, and there are only a few pecks.  So ask as soon as you get here, and if they are gone, please be nice to the stand worker.  Try your hand at picking and hopefully find some beauties in the field.

Fresh cider & cider donuts.  Everyone is back to school and this topic is going to take some explaining.  Okay here we go.  There is fresh cider in our donuts, but if you want cider, you don’t have to squeeze it out of the donuts.  You can just buy a half-gallon or one-gallon jug.  That’s Part One of the lesson.  Part Two:  A baker’s dozen is 13, a farmer’s dozen is 14, but Nick the Donut Kid isn’t really a baker or farmer so he’s serving 12 donuts per dozen like a dozen is supposed to be.  Just like Grandma said.  Sometimes it takes a thoughtful teenager to bring things back to the Old Ways.  If you find that your bag of donuts has one or two extra in the bottom, please count that as dumb luck and don’t get uppity and start thinking you deserve that bonus every time.  Bonus donuts aren’t a right or a privilege – they’re a mistake.  Our free advice is don’t get all high and mighty; because remember, the higher a monkey climbs the more he shows his BUTT.  You can get your freshly fried toroids of fructotic splendor by the dozen or half-dozen between 10:30 and 6:00 on Saturday and Sunday.  If you want cinnamon sugar, just whisper, “A sprinkle of SIN, SUGAR.”

You are invited Thursday, October 3, at 6:00 PM – Dinner Party with the Cider Makers of Eve’s Cidery, Chef Brad Marshall from The Piggery, and Special Guest, Author Jason Wilson.  Get info and tickets now!   You have probably heard about the nationally acclaimed cidery just south of Ithaca, Eve’s Cidery – often credited with stimulating the artisan cider revival here in the Finger Lakes.  They are our old friends and indeed many of the trees in their orchard come from our nursery here at The ‘Creek.  Eve’s Cidery features large in the new book The Cider Revival by leading food and wine writer Jason Wilson.  Please see the menu and sign up for this special six-course farm-to-table cider dinner hosted at Eve’s Cidery in Van Etten.  Your ticket includes dinner, drinks, and a signed copy of Jason’s new book that covers so many familiar businesses in our burgeoning regional cider scene.  See you there?

Want to know what’s prettier than a pat of butter melting on a short stackA fresh-fired, farm-to-table pizza with peaches from The ‘Creek.  Whoa @stonebendfarm.

A special guest in the flower patch.  Say hello to Magnolia Pie Adventure Dog, @magnolia.pie_adventure.dog.

Thank you… for being cherubic and helpy Farmketeers.

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

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