Tomato Time! Ginger Gold Apples! And 1,000 Veggies on the Vine; Come Pick Summer Food.

DEAR FARMKETEER, if you have been a Farmketeer for a few years, you know that the tomatoes hold a secret August caucus.  No people, no farm dogs.  Tomatoes only.

Last night the tomatoes convened.  A midnight leak revealed the agenda:  Choose a date for their initial public offering.


Today we saw the broadcast.  TOMATO TIME IS NOW!

There are bountiful beefsteaks.

Fields rich with romas.

Vines with ample heirlooms.

And copious cherries.

The extended Nightshade family is here for the party.  You can pick Japanese, fairy tale, and classic eggplant.  The classic is rebounding from heavy picking; tons of the others.

Peppers are profuse.  Sweet bell, sweet Italian, cayenne, jalapeño, habanero, serrano, red rocket, and Thai chili.  The sweet peppers are currently green and purple, while red rockets and serranos are starting to turn red.  Everything else is still green.  Thai chilis are just starting to grow in.

Pick Ginger Gold apples.  For casual consumers, these are the first worthy apples of the year.  They are a tasty cross between Golden Delicious and Albemarle Pippin.  Download the farm brochure containing our Mapple™ to help yourself find varieties as you wander the orchard.

Pick William’s Pride apples.  Our first RED apples of the year.  Rich, aromatic flavor perfect for eating fresh.

Squash, herbs, and flowersPick zucchini, yellow squash, basil, sage, dill, cilantro, parsley, and oregano.  Watch this silent Instagram short from the flower patch.  An essentially pointless movie, but perhaps a small counterweight to the great mass of outright fatuous internet content.

This week’s Washington Post shares a teachable moment for tomato touchers.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Bring Your VEGGIE Dreams to FRUITion; Open Every Day for U-Pick Vegetables & Apples.

DEAR FARMKETEERS: A little rain does a lotta good.  Oh sure, it slakes the crops and softens your lawn underfoot.  But water from the sky magically… alchemically… turns one thing into another.  Behold the transformation.

Just last week, you saw this pokey old door swinging in the summer wind.  You weren’t sure if it was okay to go through.

A few nights of summer rain and voila!  THE PRODUCE PORTAL.  Open for business.  Come pick your vegetable haul.  The tomatoes are about to go supernova.

Now Picking:  Apples (yellow transparent and pristine); raspberries (first come first find); zucchini and yellow squash; Swiss chard; eggplant (although a gentleman picked 60 pounds so the patch is bouncing back); sweet peppers and hot peppers; tomatoes (we are picking it heavily to supply the stand but the patch is going to go BOOM with radical ripeness very soon); herbs of 7 varieties; flowers galore.  Now Stocking:  melons, nectarines, blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, onions, garlic, scapes, syrup, honey.  Yep.

So this week is basically rinse and repeat — vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers.  As always be vigilant, for the signage team is up to their old tricks.

A place to park your arse and swing.  Cut a bouquet of flowers to take home.

One more thing to tell you all this week.  You are unswerving and steadfast ‘Creekniks.  We see it and we know it.  For your loyalty, you deserve the best in life.  Don’t let anyone tell you different.  Poo poo on them that poo poo you.  We got your back.  A token of our appreciation?  This diamond doorhandle on the Produce Portal.  We spared no expense.

The vegetables appreciate you.  The fruits appreciate you.  Come feel appreciated.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Apples, Flowers, Tomatoes, Squash, Peaches, Peppers, Berries, Melons, Eggplants, Herbs, Honey…

THE EGGPLANTS were born here.  The peaches are from PA.  So the eggplants are grooming the peaches, teaching them about local social mores and how to be a ‘Creeknik.

Peach says, “How do Ithacans pronounce the phrase public swimming laws?”  Eggplants answer in unison, “Fascism.”

Aaaaanywayyy.  Time to pick Pristine apples.  Come on, folks.  They’re not red but they are blushing with flirtatious buzz.

Even fewer people care about these, the Yellow Transparents.  It would be nice if a few of you at least tried to care.  They’re not Honeycrisp, but life is not a bowl of Honeycrisp.

Here’s something you’ll care about:  hot peppers are now open for picking!  Farmer Allie said, “Really only the jalapeños are ready, but people will pick them all anyway.”  So that sounds like license to party.  Hot peppers are open.

The moment you’ve all been waiting for — tomato season — is kinda sorta here.  Farmer Allie:  “Don’t sound the trumpets yet, because it’s just 1 kind of beefsteak, a few romas, cherries, and heirlooms.”  Listen for trumpets in the coming weeks.

Of course you have been hearing TRUMPets for months.  All that noise can be filtered out by meditating on these lovely fairytale eggplants.  Ommmmmmmmm.

These nonpartisan zucchini and yellow squash are similarly refreshing, sauteed and drazzled with parsley-garlic drizzle.

The raspberries are ebbing somewhat — lots of pickers have been bopping through.  You can still hunt and pick.

New attraction on the farm:  The Deer Door.  Go in and out as you please.  It’s the shortcut to the veggie field.

The signage department continues its Sisyphean labor of making the farm more user friendly.

But even the best laid plans need structural reconsideration.
And even the prettiest field of flowers is temporary.  Come cut them while you can.  It is August, Dear Farmketeers, and time’s a-wasting.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Pick Apples, Berries, and Vegetables to Become a Varsity Foodie with Finger Lakes Pride.

DEAR ‘CREEKNIKS:  One of us farmers made a foray down to Hudson Valley apple country this week.  Aren’t you insane with curiosity about what we discovered there in the mountains?

First we confirmed the rumor:  We got gorges, but they got Gunks.  Touché.  Well played, Hudson.

Next we nabbed the copy cats.  We got a wine trail and they got a wine trail.  We got a CiderWeek and they got a CiderWeek.  They got an apple trail, and we… well… we don’t really have an apple trail.  But everybody knows we got the best apples.  Team Finger Lakes!  Champions foreverrrrrr!

But you don’t get credit just for living here.  You got to earn it by picking Finger Lakes food.  What is your first step toward becoming a varsity foodie?  Pick the first apples of the year — Transparents and Pristines — by August 1!

Yes, all you have to do is eat the apples of July.  The JV squad doesn’t start picking til Honeycrisp drops in the fall.  But you can start with Yellow Transparents in the Vintage Orchard.

Continue to the west end of Row 7 in the Dwarf Orchard.  There you will find Pristines.  Pick yourself a peanut butter vehicle.

Raspberries are still going, but you have to learn how to hunt.  It is just like the grocery store:  Everybody sees the eye-level product.  If you look low on the plant, and behind the leaves, you can find ripe berries even after a surge of rival pickers has spun through the patch.

New this week:  Pick sweet bell peppers!  This is your chance to check out our amazing NEW veggie fields, the biggest we’ve ever had.  Start with peppers and eggplant.  Tomatoes are still percolating.  Stay tuned.

Flowers:  Cut your own or grab a bouquet at the farm stand.  Also don’t miss the Lavish Lilies™ in the cooler.

What else can you find at the farm?  Everything that we listed in last week’s crop alert and more:  squash, eggplant, Swiss chard, flowers, basil, Thai basil, sage, dill, cilantro, parsley, oregano, peaches, blueberries, garlic scapes, onions, potatoes, melons, peppers, apples…

And the last few t-shirts.  These are stupid cute.  We have orange and yellow left in kid sizes only.  Printed front and back with hand-drawn farm doodles and silk-screened by hand in Ithaca.  Thanks for reading.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Pick Your Own Raspberries, Veggies, Herbs, and Flowers; Get Peaches and Blueberries, Too!

WHEN PIGS FLY.  When doves cry.  When heck freezes over.  Even frosh Farmketeers know what these old phrases mean.  But only veteran ‘Creekniks know what it means “when the chicken plays the keys…”

It means farm season proper!  We are open every day, we are tending the stand, and there is good stuff to find daily.  FYI this is the most viewed piano-playing chicken of any small farm in the 12-county Finger Lakes region.

But she’s not the only flamboyant farmbird in town.  Jimbird stuffed himself with magical black cap raspberries on a recent visit with his pet human @carolinemanring.  (Farm Twitter.)

Meanwhile Farm Facebook fan Laura got a pretty pic of her berry haul.  The crop comes in waves — and so do the pickers.  Just do your best.  Look low on the plants behind the leaves if you’ve arrived after a surge of rival berry hunters.

Meanwhile, Tracy on Instagram did heroic work in a hot kitchen:  homemade raspberry breakfast bars.  Follow the Farm Instagram for daily updates between newsletters.

Foodies, it is time to up your game.  You can talk all day about terroir and pairings, but until you have eaten July apples — the first apples of the year — you’re all vine and no taters, as they say around here.  According to our fellow applers in England, these Yellow Transparent apples are crisp, light, and juicy.  Ideal for drying, freezing, saucing, and juicing.

Come pick vegetables!  Farmer Allie says you can now pick zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and Swiss chard.

Cut your own flowers!  Nobody will bother you here in the flower zone.  Wander and create your boo-kay.

Peaches a-plenty at the farm stand.  None to pick yourselves this year on account of the freak winter weather.  But these will dribble down your chin all the same.

Blueberries, too.  Try them in your berry bars or gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, flavor-free muffins.  Yum.

Don’t miss Alice’s Lavish Lilies™ — they’re wowwy.  (Linguistic sidebar:  Say lavish.  Now say slavish.  Now say Slavic.  Three different ‘a’ sounds.  English is an unruly beast.)

You must transcend the indolent masses and pick up a 2016 brochure.  The picking fields have changed, so you need to see the new map inside.  Also includes picking tips-n-tricks.

Finally, read quotes from Farmer Steve about how this extraordinary drought is impacting the farm.  As you can see by the diving board in the farm pond, the land is thirsty.

Okay, folks, thank you for tuning in this week.  It is a drought year.  There are no peaches or apricots to pick.  The political climate is a mess.  There is violence in the streets.  But we are tending the crops and the farm is open to all.  Here’s to the start of a fruitful season.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Pick Your Own Raspberries in the Cool Mornings & Evenings; Buy Cut Flowers at the Farm Stand.

DEAR FARMKETEER:  Every July 6th you must ask yourself, “Am I a rabid raspbopotamus?”

If the answer is yes, come pick now!  Hot days and sunshine have summoned the first wave of raspberries.

Please don’t leave ’em hanging!  These berries are seeking their forever homes.

The farm is open self-serve EVERY DAY, meaning you can get supplies at the stand, go pick berries, and pay in the box.  $4/pint, $6/quart, labor of love.

You might also find the first cut flowers at the stand.  Take some home to your boo.  Or to you!  $5 small bouquet, $8 large.  Mainly lillies with other flowers mixed in.

Feel free to hike around, have a picnic, and generally goof.  It is the quiet time before the farm goes full monty.  Please pick some of these early raspberries and stay tuned for the sound of Piano Chicken hailing in the new season with the Indian Creek anthem.  Meanwhile get our daily updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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The Farm Will Open in Mid-July with Vegetables and More; Now, a Short Story and Fruit Report.

Once upon a time there was an apple.
Her name was Edelborsdorfer.
‘Twas a dandy name for a girl.
Dorf was famously smart.
She was prettier than a store-bought doll.
She was quick to praise, slow to criticize.
She always let her suitors down easy.
And she knew all the key facts.
The farm recently hosted the 27th Annual Celebration of the Finger Lakes Land Trust, a local nonprofit that has protected over 18,500 acres of land and water in the region.  You can donate and volunteer to help them save our forests, farms, and gorges.  Did you know that Indian Creek is protected by a conservation easement?  Cool stuff.  More on that later.
The farm will open in middle July with vegetables, raspberries, and other goodies.  The great news is, we will have an apple crop this year.  WHEW!  We will not have pick-your-own peaches.  BOO!  Peaches and apricots got nipped in the buds by effed up weather.  (See the story in Fruit Growers News with quotes from Farmer Steve.)  We will still have a great selection at the stand, but no peaches to pick yourselves.  We are hoping you will rally round the farm and come cheer us up.  There are brand new fields (biggies!) this year with more local foods than ever.  Stay tuned for our opening day alert.  Love and summer breezes to you all.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Big Sale: 25% Off Fruit Trees for Planting in Your Backyard or Upstate Country Manor.

DEAR CREEKNIKS:  “Tell the truth, shame the Devil.”  That’s what Mom says.  So we are going to give you the straight dope.  Old Screwface can put THAT in his Pipe of Pain and smoke it.  With a molten lava chaser.  On the house.

But first… If you are not ready for a full dose of reality… You can jump right into the BIG SPRING FRUIT TREE SALE.  That is our sister business, Cummins Nursery.  We are the same people wearing different hats.  GET 25% OFF when you buy fruit trees for spring planting!  There are apples, pears, plums, and cherries.  See our remaining inventory and order online, email, or call (607) 592-2801.  Use coupon code SPRING25.  We’ll ship your trees or you can pick them up.  Screen-Shot-2016-04-19-at-9.53.52-AM

Now is your chance to plant your own ‘Creek.  Planting fruit trees is pretty basic.  Heck, if we figured it out, so can you.  It is very much like digging a hole to bury your 1982 Tupperware time capsule.  Except you pop a tree in the hole instead of Journey tapes and deely bobbers.  Now, during our big sale, for the price of 5 cappuccinos you can have an apple tree that gives fruit til 2077 or the apocalypse, whichever comes first.

And now the truth:  We skipped sending your Fresh Crop Alert in March because we couldn’t get up the gumption to tell you what mighta coulda maybe happened to the peach and apple crops this year.  We just couldn’t quite say it out loud.

Partly because we don’t totally know yet.  But we’re gonna tell you this:  Stuff froze dead.  A lotta stuff.  A greehouse winter capped off by bitter spring nights.  Global warming?  Perfect storming?  January was hotter than the previous 1,620 months.  Then it got down to 8°.  Frozen fruit buds.

But you are Intrepid Farmketeers!  Crack Corps of Locavores!  You are not panicked.  You are going to stay tuned for our next report, after a few weeks when the future unfolds.  For now, we are keeping the Cropsday Clock frozen in time.  See our previous issue to understand the scientific misterpiece that is the Cropsday Clock.  And keep the apples in your prayers.

We are very lucky at Indian Creek.  We have some of the world’s best soil for growing fruit trees — Howard’s Gravelly Loam — and auspicious airflow down the gentle post-glacial slopes.  We usually have a good crop.  But we never signed a contract with that dirty dealing Beelzebubbles, so there is never even the illusion of a guarantee.  It’s one season at a time.

So, Farm Fans, why not plant a few fruit trees of your own?  Collectively we can create an extended orchard and hedge against crop failure.  GET 25% OFF when you buy now for spring planting!  See our remaining inventory.  There are still apple, pear, plum, and cherry trees.  You can order online, or email, or call (607) 592-2801.  Use coupon code SPRING25.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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First Farm to Harvest Gravity Waves; a Big Month Generally for Science at the ‘Creek.

DEAR FARMKETEERS:  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists sets the Doomsday Clock.  It is 3 minutes to midnight.  That means we are closer to a global calamity than when the clock says 4 minutes before doom.

It is a dark and serious business.  But somebody has to do it.  Two cheers for the scientists.  (Three cheers would be an impertinence given the subject matter.)

Our farm work is not as important.  But we try to do a halfway decent job.  Our task is to set the Cropsday Clock.  It is a different kind of clock.  It is just past midnight NOW.

FIRST CROPS WILL BE AT 4:00 PM!  Now don’t get all literal.  4 o’clock means 4 months.  It is a metaphor.  Like when the atomic folks say 3 minutes, they don’t mean 3 actual minutes.  Or like that phrase, “circle of friends.”  Are you really in a circle?  Or is it a disfunctional fractal rhombus of friends?  To keep it simple, you say circle.

The Cropsday Clock is a circle, too.  But it doesn’t mean we will have garlic when the hand hits 4.  It doesn’t even mean we will have garlic at all.  It simply means, “There will be something to eat in about 4 months.”  That’s the best we can do.

Who has time to build a better clock?  We are already busy with the next big thing:  Gravitational Waves.  Scientists finally found them this month, 101 years after Einstein said, “Go find them.”  We will harvest gravity waves for sale at the farm this year if we can get them past the unicorn.  (Unicorns do NOT like gravitational waves.)

We have our best people on it.  The very same ones who first confirmed the Farmonic Oscillator, a foundational concept that undergirds all of our work here at The ‘Creek.

The team is led by our own Professor Jen.  Her plan is encapsulated by this image from her new paper in Physical Review Letters.  Her diagrams were on the cover!

That’s a different kind of cover girl.  She blinded you with science!  Title of paper:  “Rigid Cluster Decomposition Reveals Criticality in Frictional Jamming.”  Whatever you say, Prof!

Well, ‘Creekniks, Happy Leap Year.  Let us conclude today’s message with a note about leaps—quantum leaps.  When you say “quantum leap,” you are using it wrong.  It doesn’t mean big.  It means jumping from one discrete energy level to another, rather than sliding on a continuous spectrum.  Most quantum leaps are small.  Subatomic!  Correct somebody next time they use it wrong.  You’re sure to make a friend.

As you can see, farming isn’t kidstuff.  It’s not all scenic vistas and warming our toes by the fire and Maw making hot chocolate and dogs snoring fitfully.  It’s hard work.  It’s hard MENTAL work and it gets us down.  But with your love and encouragement, we make it through.  The countdown has begun.  Tune in each month to watch the Cropsday Clock go tickety-tock.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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2015: From Chicken to Chicken, the Farm Year in Review.

BELOVED FARMKETEERS, we welcome every new year with the Indian Creek theme song, rendered most delicately by our own Archie the Chicken:

A catchy number, to be sure… and the farmer’s sentimental favorite.  But it was never bound for the big screen like this cinematic coup, starring our OTHER Archie the Chicken:

This particular Archie has been seen by over 96,000 Facebookers.  Thus the tradition grew:  We start each year with Piano Chicken and end it with Primordial Chicken.

But the years are an endless loop; one season births another; and, we kind of lose track.  Which came first?  The chicken or the chicken?  Won’t you smarty-pantses stew on that Sunday crossbird puzzle as you trip through the year in review?  Here we go…

In 2015, the highlights were many.  The lowlights were few.  Spring started off with a bunch of brainy ideas.

By the end of June, when everybody was begging for news of the food, we received encouraging words from the crops.

By August, we had a dazzling show of peaches, apples, pears, tomatoes, herbs, flowers, cider, donuts and more!

When high apple season hit, there was a stunning sunflower maze and 10 good reasons to visit the farm.

Your October picking efforts had us floating through the orchard above bountiful apples and pumpkins.

Just in time for the last big picking session, Grampaw showed up to kick everybody’s butt.

And that ain’t even the half of it.  You can see the whole bumbling chronicle of 2015 on our site.  It was our best year ever thanks to you ‘Creekniks.  What a show of local food enfoosiasm.

In current news, the farm stand is closed for the winter.  The newsletter will be pretty quiet for a few months.  We’ll send you a note once in a while.  See you soon at The ‘Creek.

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