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.
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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.
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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!
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New this week – Pick your dream pumpkin!  Or warmup pumpkins for carving practice.  The field is ready and striped with towering sunflowers.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Cut your own flowers Many varieties in many gardens around the farm.  But sunflowers are going nuts.  Pick your own, get a meditative smile.
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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.
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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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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.
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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.
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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!
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New this week – Pick your dream pumpkin! Or warmup pumpkins for carving practice. The field is ready and striped with towering sunflowers.
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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.
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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.
6

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.
7

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.
8

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.
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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.
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Cut your own flowers Many varieties in many gardens around the farm. But sunflowers are going nuts. Pick your own, get a meditative smile.
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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.
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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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Oh wait, what’s that?  Homemade tomato soup?  When the gastronome goes back to basics, it sure tastes like home.
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Going international!  Soumen with fresh tomato wedges and a heart-healthy helping of freshies.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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PEAR season begins!  Pick your own Bartlett pears from trees along the dirt road.  Easy picking, lovely crop.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.) 
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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!
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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?
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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.
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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.)
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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…
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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?
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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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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.
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Last night the tomatoes convened.  A midnight leak revealed the agenda:  Choose a date for their initial public offering.

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Today we saw the broadcast.  TOMATO TIME IS NOW!
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There are bountiful beefsteaks.
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Fields rich with romas.
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Vines with ample heirlooms.
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And copious cherries.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Pick William’s Pride apples.  Our first RED apples of the year.  Rich, aromatic flavor perfect for eating fresh.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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A place to park your arse and swing.  Cut a bouquet of flowers to take home.
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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.
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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.
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Peach says, “How do Ithacans pronounce the phrase public swimming laws?”  Eggplants answer in unison, “Fascism.”
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Aaaaanywayyy.  Time to pick Pristine apples.  Come on, folks.  They’re not red but they are blushing with flirtatious buzz.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Of course you have been hearing TRUMPets for months.  All that noise can be filtered out by meditating on these lovely fairytale eggplants.  Ommmmmmmmm.
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These nonpartisan zucchini and yellow squash are similarly refreshing, sauteed and drazzled with parsley-garlic drizzle.
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The raspberries are ebbing somewhat — lots of pickers have been bopping through.  You can still hunt and pick.
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New attraction on the farm:  The Deer Door.  Go in and out as you please.  It’s the shortcut to the veggie field.
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The signage department continues its Sisyphean labor of making the farm more user friendly.
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But even the best laid plans need structural reconsideration.
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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?
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First we confirmed the rumor:  We got gorges, but they got Gunks.  Touché.  Well played, Hudson.
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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!
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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!
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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.
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Continue to the west end of Row 7 in the Dwarf Orchard.  There you will find Pristines.  Pick yourself a peanut butter vehicle.
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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.
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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.
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Flowers:  Cut your own or grab a bouquet at the farm stand.  Also don’t miss the Lavish Lilies™ in the cooler.
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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…
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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.
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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.)
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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.
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Meanwhile, Tracy on Instagram did heroic work in a hot kitchen:  homemade raspberry breakfast bars.  Follow the Farm Instagram for daily updates between newsletters.
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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.
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Come pick vegetables!  Farmer Allie says you can now pick zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and Swiss chard.
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Cut your own flowers!  Nobody will bother you here in the flower zone.  Wander and create your boo-kay.
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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.
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Blueberries, too.  Try them in your berry bars or gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, flavor-free muffins.  Yum.
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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.)
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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.
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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.
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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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