Strawberry Solstice: Long Day & Short Season; Come Pick Your Own Berries Before They’re Gone; First Donuts This Weekend.

FARM FANS, there once was a strawberry named Raspberry.  Quite confusing.  For everyone.  Get the thrilling conclusion to that epic drama in next week’s Fresh Crop Alert.

Meanwhile, another confusing story:  You can come NOW (Thursday and Friday) to beat weekenders to the strawberry patch OR come Saturday and Sunday to munch the first donuts of the year.  Possible solution:  Try both.  Thanks to Farm Fan @heather.april for the fun photo.

It’s true, donuts are starting earlier than ever before.  Why wait?  The solstice is the longest day of the year, but that means the days are already getting shorter.  So let’s start living.  Nothing says “I’m taking charge of my NOW” like a baggie of fried dough.  Nuts.  Donuts.

Another good living tip:  take your strawberries into the wilderness.  Yes, camping turns to glamping with a homebaked strawberry pie.  Find the best spots for your next outdoor adventure at gofingerlakes.org, a web site by the Finger Lakes Land Trust, the conservation organization supported by individuals who love our region.  You can become a member to support their work.  We need everybody to put skin in the game.  Protecting land forever won’t happen by itself.

Prepare for a longer mountain outing with “rhuberry crisp” bars.  Thanks to @segan.milverstein who raided our berry patch in the FLX then hit the peaks of the ADK.

Or turn your berries into body-boosting smoothies.  Farmer yogi Nicole Stumpf shares her recipe on Instagram and her practice on her web siteFresh strawberries, frozen blueberries, Mylk (sunflower seeds and water), banana, honey, Maca root powder, and coconut cream.  Mmmmm.

Say hello to the Farmketeers of the Week!  This determined duo brought home the berries AND the bacon:  they are getting the U-PIC prize for best picking pics.  Thanks to Farm Fan Shira (mama) for sending this photo and the next one.  Gift certificate on the way.

“I will NOM NOM all the berries unless you get out here nowwww!”  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek

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Strawberry Picking is Apparently a Thing; Everybody’s Doing It and Pics to Prove It; Come Join the Spasmodic Harvest ASAP.

DEAR ‘CREEKNIKS:  Have you ever heard of a strawberry pushover?  What what?  It’s a turnover, you say?  Well, sorry, but we have to correct your correction.  There are a bunch of strawberry pushovers right here on the farm.  It’s us.

See, we hatched that little “U-Pic” offer last week, first time ever.  “Send us your pics,” said we, “and the winner will get a prize.”  But this week, right now in fact, we are announcing that EVERYBODY who sent photos to the U-Pic inbox is getting a gift certificate.  Check your email, winners.  Just don’t expect us to be pushovers all summer.  Fresh fruit certificates do not grow on trees.

Before we reveal the winning photos, please say hello to the Farmketeers of the Week.  First ones of 2018.  Meet Theresa and Jo, who picked 20 pounds of berries on opening day.  They tore into the patch and took boxes of booty back to their farmstead in Dryden.  It’s called Underhill Farm and you can look them up later this summer because they have a little blueberry patch.  Meanwhile, COME PICK STRAWBERRIES NOW BEFORE WEEKEND CROWDS.  Open 9 AM to 7 PM every day.

How about this dandy U-Pic from Christy J?  Also known as @scout.ithaca.  She clearly has an eye for high fruitshion.  But she, and all the other winners, will have to work harder for the $11 prize.  Only “tenners” were sent out in this first round.

Another fruit-forward submission from Scout.  Is this a magazine or real life?  Real sweet, anyway.

Here we are back on the farm.  Shauna D shared this U-Pic of Team Tiger.  “It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rivals…” finding strawberries before they’re all gone.  “And he’s watching us all with eyeeeee of the tigerrrrrr…”

Her strawberry accoutrement game is STRONG.  Chris P made our inbox smile with this U-Pic of his daughter.

Suzanne B submitted this first U-Pic of all time within hours of the Fresh Crop Alert.  She received her gift certificate right away and has plans to spend it on a second trip to the strawberry patch.  Thanks for playing.

This was a pleasure to find in the inbox.  Eating strawberries by nose.  Stefanie C says, “Carter is obsessed with gardening and had the best time picking strawberries.”

But to all of you who think you are showing adequate Strawberry Spirit… Bow down to the BERRY QUEEN.  Aquillah at the Finger Lakes Land Trust says, “Ho hum, just another day at the office, saving Finger Lakes farmland forever.”  Did you know?  Indian Creek is a conserved farm, protected permanently by an agricultural easement.  We appreciate conservation organizations like the Land Trust that dedicate their work to preserving open space in our region.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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U-Pick and “U-Pic” Season: Strawberry Picking is OPEN (come pick now) and This Year You Can Submit Pics to Win Free Fruits & Veggies (send your picking pics).

LOYAL FARMKETEERS:  We searched high and low for a strawberry-ginger kid to kick off strawberry Fresh Crop Alerts.  As usual nepotism “trumped” talent and we handed the job to Maximilian, scion of the orchard here at The ‘Creek.  After all, everyone knows that meritocracy isn’t fair to family members who have no skills and poor judgement.  At any rate Max’s prospects are limited even with this boost from above; he is second in line – an ersatz Prince Harry – after his big brother Koll who has the advantage of using almost full sentences.

What would Max tell you if he was a useful age?  Strawberry season has begun; please come pick now.  The crop will wane and wax daily; it is first come, first get.  We are open 9 AM to 7 PM every day.  There is not much in stock at the farm stand yet – you have to pick your own berries in the field.  Berries are $6 a quart with bulk discounts for determined pickers – only $32 for an 8-quart box (33% savings).  Pick rain or shine.  Ideally before Saturday’s rain.

Veteran Farm Fans know that The ‘Creek will only be partially combobulated this early in the year.  We don’t reach full Disney production values til well into October, just in time to shut down for the season.  So pardon our dust and spotty signage.  You should wander basically leftward – southward for you serious hikers – from the main driveway and you will find the strawberry field.  It is uphill of last year’s pumpkin field.  Just west of last year’s Brussels sprouts.  East of the tomatoes which aren’t visible yet.  Far north of Elmira.

A few other goodies will trickle into the farm stand.  For starters you will find the first garlic greens if Greg picks enough to keep up with demand.  You can treat them like any other stirfry treasure.  Next in the garlic collection we’ll have garlic scapes, then garlic proper.  Probably a blowout garlic picking party like last year.  Save the date in July.  We don’t have a date yet so best to keep your July clear.

Pears are doing their upside-down dance this time of year.  Really, that’s how they start life.  Lots of other crops are coming along, too.  Should be a great year for peaches, pears, plums, apples, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, pumpkins, squashes, garlics, sprouts, flowers, herbs, cider and donuts.  Yes, we are saying it SHOULD be a great year for crops.  But if you want to make the goddess laugh, tell her your plans.

New this year!  Our “U-Pic” special.  Made it up yesterday.  The only such deal in America maybe.  Send us pics of you and your people picking stuff at the farm, and we will feature your photos in our Fresh Crop Alerts and social media posts and all that – AND we’ll send Indian Creek gift certificates to the winners with the best photos!  Who knows how often we will award the prizes; really it’s just another thing on our to-do list which seems to get longer every day.  (Oh crap, that thing on the tractor thing just broke again.)  But we would love to share your funnest/neatest/prettiest photos, and we will send out some $10 certificates.  Maybe even $11.  As you can see there is not much financial incentive for you to do this and it’s not much of a deal.  But the offer stands.  Send your best shots to upic@indiancreekithaca.com.  Thank you, cheers to you all, and hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Peace Be Unto Y’allll! Last Glob of Farm Nonsense for the Season; But, Still Open with Cider, Sprouts, and Apples Til Further Notice.

LOYAL ‘CREEKNIKS:  All signs say we are on the downward slope to offseason oblivion.  Heck, one sign even harkens back to the days of subprime rates, instructing you to “pay what you think it’s worth.”  We can’t slide much further down the slope of ignominious business models than that.  Nonetheless you can assume the farm is still a going concern and open until further notice.  We’ll say otherwise at some point.

Yes, iCreek is still open every day.  You can get fresh cider jugs in the cooler, Brussels sprouts in the field or at the stand, and Empire apples for 95¢ a pound.  You can visit between 8 AM and 5 PM (or so) and use the honor system.  It’s cash only now.  You just jam your bills into the gray metal box.

That’s the news for this week.  Now it’s time for the real propaganda:  THANK YOU TO ALL FARMKETEERS for our best season ever.  By far!  Thousands of you have posted your farm visits on Instagram.  Look at all these great times…

And that ain’t even the half of it.  We have the best, sweetest, most laid-back customers on the Pale Blue Dot – where “every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives” (Carl Sagan).  Thank you all for being weird and easygoing.  And for spending your ducats locally at a small farm.

Well, everyone, this is the last weekly newsletter of the year, but we won’t say sayonara just yet.  Within two weeks you’ll get the annual spiel about Apple Gift Boxes.  You’ll be able to order online and send a beautiful box of heritage apples to your friends and families.  Meanwhile, hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Donut Birds Take Wing; Empire Apples Hold Pat; a Farmketeer of Extraordinary Credentials; and, a Touching Epistle That Seems to Urge, “Keep Farming.”

EVERYBODY KNOWS that donut birds fly south in November.  We ought to be able to steel ourselves.  But it hurts.  It hurts and it just happened.  THE END.

Well that was a bit DRAMA QUEENYYYIt’s true that the donuts flew the coop – they were seen yesterday soaring over Taughannock which is north of here but remember that donuts fly in large circles (duh) eventually ending up south – but it is not THE END.  The farm stand is still open.
Every day, you can get the following farm-fresh items:  Cider, apples, pears, garlic, onions, taters, sprouts, honey, and syrup.  The cider is pressed fresh every week.  Taters got plucked from the ground the other day.  Sprouts are still in the ground if you want to lop them yourself.  Remember Empire apples are still ON SALE for 95¢ per pound.  You obliterated the Cortlands and Galas.  Good on yas!

And now for the Farmketeer of the Week.  A most extraordinary one.  Credentials nonpareil.  Possibly even overachieving.  Check it out.  So we’re having a wee dram at the Finger Lakes Cider House up the road and the host says, “I’ve been reading Fresh Crop Alerts for SIX YEARS SINCE THE VERY BEGINNING, and me and my friends, we used to have planning parties where we’d read the alerts together and scheme our weekly farm visits THEN I moved to Chicago for 5 years and read them the whole time I was gone AND now I’m back and I read them every week AND I send your apple gift boxes to my family in Texas and Chicago every year AND I’m making a miniature apple-themed quilt.  Do I win?  Do I win Farmketeer?”  Well, geez, Karin P.  Does an apple farmer bleed sweet cider?  Yeah, you win.

This week we find encouragement in a touching note from farm fan Amanda L., who would have won Farmketeer of the Week if not for Karin P. who obviously had it on lock down since 2012.  Amanda’s post on Facebook reminded us of why we have opened this farm to the community, why we invite the public to bumrush the place every weekend and throw tantrums when we run out of donuts, indeed why we keep farming at all (it ain’t for the 401k):  “I truly love this place, everyone is so kind, my husband and I came here today to go for a walk because it’s just so wonderful here, and as we were coming back and it was closing you offered us free donuts, it was so kind.  I have never been to a business that is so kind to customers or just visitors, I was surprised and so thankful.  As I very much enjoy coming here, I also brought my preschool classroom here a few weeks ago, it was such a wonderful time.  I love this farm and it’s bittersweet that the winter months are coming.”  Thank you, Amanda, for making us cry in our cereal!  Thank you, Farmketeers!

Go ahead.  Laugh in derision at our hillbilly cobjob Mad Max digging rig.  Yes it is homemade and yes those apple crates are filled with concrete doped with steel scraps.  Yes some parts of the machine are ACTUALLY held together by duct tape and bailing wire.  We’re not putting on airs.

But the “Tall Boy” is humming like never before.  A recent DIY session in the barn, powered by arctic blast anxiety and @gimmecoffee cappuccinos, gave us a sense of small-time, everyday, unsung heroics.  So we’re singing about it here.

You lock six human brains in a barn with a vintage, asthmatic, temperamental mechanical beast… something good might happen.  Thus 40,000 baby fruit trees will be saved from winter’s bite as we trundle through the nursery rows this week.  You dig the digger?

Winter is a time for reflection.  But don’t get too reflecty!  You’ll freak yourself out.  Step outdoors even when it’s not strictly necessary.  Explore your Finger Lakes.  Come to the farm anytime.  Hike around.  Use the playground.  Cut Brussels sprouts in the snow…

…even curse the gods at the top of your lungs.  Let it rip.  Nobody will hear you in the orchards.  We won’t report you to the thought police.  Of course your thoughts become our intellectual property, but that is a minor concern.  You can trust us.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Bright Orchard Lights in the Darkening Times; Fresh Cider and U-Pick Sprouts; Big 95¢ Apple Sale; and, Weekend Donuts.

SOME SAY HOORAY; some say, No way!  When that single hour of light moves to the morning from the night, you get winners and losers.  Should we split it down the middle with the hatchet of compromise?  Give 30 minutes to the morning larks and half an hour to the nightbirds?  60-40?  It won’t matter.  However you chop it, there is less sunlight to go around.  So we have to look for lights where we can find them.

How about these burning beacons in the orchard?  The kickass kindergarteners of Enfield Elementary School left us the biggest, brightest thank you note you’ll ever see!  Makes us soooo proud!  It was our privilege to host ye little scapegraces!  Obviously our Farmketeers of the Week.  Livelier than a troupe of two-tailed puppies.  Nobody else stood a chance.

Here’s the “Brownie Picker” they’re talking about.  Brownies don’t grow on trees, but apples do and Brownie helps us reach them.  Also allows Farmer Dusky to make rousing speeches to the apples – they are great listeners and never interrupt.  He will take questions at the end.

Another bright light:  You can still get appley donuts and heirloom treats such as Ashmead’s Kernel.  These live at opposite ends of the apple spectrum.  Highly processed fried wheat flour doped with white sugar, on the one hand, and exotic heritage fruit handpicked off the tree, on the other.  They each have a place and a purpose.  Donuts served on Saturday and Sunday 10 to 4.  Apples available every day.

Still shining in the darkness is our BIG 95¢ APPLE CLEARANCE SALE on Gala, Empire, and Cortland.  People have been loading up for making pies, crisps, snacks, rings, and lunchbox stuffers.  At 95¢ per pound, even Paul Manafort can afford a bag after posting his $12.5 million bail including Trump Tower apartment.

Orchard Ambrosia still flows.  Get your gallons and half-gallons in the fridge at the stand.  Get extra and freeze it.  It freezes great.  Apples will be gone soon.  Homebrewers, drop off your carboys now or wait 322 days to get the finest unpasteurized booze-making nectar in the land.  Leave your bottles inside the doors that say “Do Not Enter.”  Write your name and phone on the bottle.  We will call you when filled.  We are pressing at least once a week.  Price is $8/gal which drops to $7/gal when you order 6+ gallons.

Brussels sprouts are hitting peak season.  They like it chilly and even snowy.  Come lop your own.  Find the piano in the field and the loppers should be leaning nearby if your fellow Farmketeers had the shred of decency to put them back.

A light from distant lands.  Welcome to Kazakhstan, NY.  We are recreating the ancestral homeland of the apple right here at Indian Creek.  Exotic and heirloom apples in a jumbled miniature orchard.  From Sieversii Malus to Wickson Crab to Redfield to Storm Apple No. 13… Oh the picking will be done in a forest of fun.  Coming soonish.

Perhaps the brightest light of all.  This deal will really bring ‘Creekniks clamoring out of their caves.  Our ANNUAL DEAD FLOWER SALE starts now.  Take them all.  Free.  Arrive early.  It’s gonna be like Black Friday around here.

We are still open every day 8 to 5.  Farm Kitty is in charge of the stand on weekdays.  Thus it is self-serve.  There is a gray metal box for cash.  You can use credit cards on the weekends.  You will find us here Saturday and Sunday by the woodstove with donuts (served til 4 pm) and a half-decent attitude if you catch us at the right moment.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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This Farm is Not Dead Yet: Still Open with 95¢ Apple Sale, Cider, Sprouts, Donuts; and, a Deep Question About Your Life.

DEAR LOVER OF LOCAL FOODS:  Are you a Farmketeer or ‘Creeknik?  Have you ever pondered this existential dilemma?  Have you mulled it with cloves and cardamom?

A Farmketeer is all business.  Always on the move.  Flapping her wings.  Scoring first crack at fresh crops.  Picking apples with two hands.  Never squeezing the peaches.  Keeping the farm buzzing.  Singing to the sprouts.  Our Farmketeers of the Week:  These two l’il dumplins who popped up on our Instagram feed.  You are an inspiration.

A ‘Creeknik is a creature of the porch.  The universal, cosmic, intergalactic Front Porch.  She watches the cavalcade of seasons, sipping on a mint julep.  Scoops up the last of each crop.  Never forgets that languor and indolence are the creators of improbable new worlds.  “Just because I’m daydreaming doesn’t mean I’m not working.”  A ‘Creeknik is never forceful, always purposeful.  She finds a way to harvest grape leaves even when she feels like a couch potato.

Which flavor are you?  Luckily, you don’t have to decide today.  But Lord knows the day will come.  We have seen the signs.  Saint Ichabod of Assisi appeared in the herb garden.  So you might take this moment to start thinking about your essence.  Farmketeer?  ‘Creeknik?  Either way, for the time being, we have something for each of you.

95¢ Apple Sale – Empire, Gala, Cortland.  Get these while supplies last for eating, saucing, baking.  Load up for 95¢ per pound.  Already picked and ready at the farm stand.  Priced to move.  Heck, when you get here, you can even tell us that you want the EXTRA SPECIAL 94¢ deal.  We’re cutting deals like Papadopoulous.  We don’t keep pennies in the drawer.  FYI.

Exotics and heirlooms.  Have you ever caught yourself voting for the pretty candidate?  The one with the gleaming teeth and superb coiffure?  Only to find out they’re a charlatan or worse – vapid?  How about the humble one with the scars and gnarls and crow’s feet and wizening?  Try Golden Russet and others now that Honeycrisp season is a distant memory.

Scabby, blemished apples make great cider.  Our sweet cider and slushees continue.  Fresh, cold-pressed Orchard Ambrosia.  Unpasteurized.  We squeeze the fruit.  You drink the nectar.  Important bulletin:  When we run out of apples, we can’t make cider.  This will happen soon.  Some of you really loveeeeee Ambrosia.  Stock up.  It freezes beautifully.

Donuts are still going 10 to 4 on Saturday and Sunday.  They were supposed to be a sideshow but they’ve taken on a life of their own.  That probably means that when you’re out here picking fruits and vegetables, you work up a hunger for a treat.  What should we add next year?  Local ice cream with farm fresh peach and raspberry sauces?  Handcut French fries with herbs from the garden?  Sweets or savories?  You can email the treat committee if you want:  news@indiancreekithaca.com.  Plant the seed now and give us 9 months to pull it together.

Brief commercial break for cat and kitten.  They are getting along pretty good now.  When they’re sleeping.  Got to build on the positives wherever you can find em.

Drop off your carboys now.  Do not wait.  When apples are gone, no more booze juice.  Leave your bottles at the farm stand inside the double doors that say “Do Not Enter, Employees Only.”  Write your name and phone on the bottle.  We will call you after next pressing.  Price is $8/gal which drops to $7/gal when you order more than 5 gallons.

You can pick more sprouts this week.  Come lop your own stalks in the field by piano #3.  Many of you have never seen a stalk of sprouts.  First strip off the leaves, then lop, then pop the sprouts off the stalk for cooking.  Fry them with bacon or roast and drizzle with balsamic reduction.  Singe the tips a little.

We still have honey from two local families:  Five Pads Farm (just up the street) and Gil’s Honeybees based in town.  Nice people.  Local bees.  Great way to support small, local food producers.  Find their jars at the stand.

There’s Sean from Five Pads Farm.  Get his garlic at the stand and roast it up.  Spreads like butter.  His maple syrup is on display, too.  Heat it up a little and pour over nuts.

Look at this cat-o-lantern in honor of Fe Fe and Mou Mou.  Since they’re getting along better.  Joanna overachieved on this one.  Anything for the furballs.

We are out in the nursery these days, digging 40,000 baby fruit trees and putting them into these pretty bins for winter storage.  That means we’ll let the farm stand go self-serve during the weekdays.  Open 8 to 5 every day.  You’ll see us here on the weekends.  We expect to stay open a few more weeks, perhaps til Thanksgiving.  Thus you might get another few newsletters, then things will taper off for the winter.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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95¢ a Pound Apple Clearance Sale; Fresh Cider, Sprouts, and Donuts; Pumpkins Kaput; Thank You for Flexing Your Brussels Muscles!

DEAR FARMKETEERS:  One acre of New York farmland provides an average of 1,000 meals each year.  But since the 1980s, New York has lost half a million acres of farmland to development.  Those lands could have produced 500 million local meals this year alone.  Half a billion meals.

Such sobering facts, from the American Farmland Trust, have us feeling thankful for two things:  For all you locavores who keep The ‘Creek humming with your visits, and for conservation organizations, such as our hometown Finger Lakes Land Trust, who make it their business – day in, day out, year after year – to save land forever.  Not easy work.

Those two ideas – Farmketeers and farmland forever – coalesced beautifully this week.  You raised $500 for the Land Trust by picking Brussels sprouts!  Indian Creek Farm is protected forever by a conservation easement, and we want to see other prime agricultural lands saved.  Some of you asked if you could donate directly to the Land Trust.  You can become a member and see their map of nature preserves where you can go exploring free.

You can pick more sprouts this week.  Another week or so and the crop will be gone.  Come lop your own stalks in the field by piano #3.  Many of you have never seen a stalk of sprouts.  First you strip off the leaves, then you lop, then pop the sprouts off the stalk for cooking.  Fry them with bacon or roast and drizzle with balsamic reduction.  Singe the tips a little.

Donuts continue.  In this classic Middle-East-meets-West pairing, Brussels sprouts give the foodie a deeper appreciation of donut kebabs.  Served Saturday and Sunday (off the skewer) 10 AM to 6 PM til we shutter the Donut Hole for the season… which will be soon when you’ve cleared the farm of crops.

Cider and slushees continue.  This is fresh pressed Orchard Ambrosia.  Unpasteurized.  We squeeze the fruit.  You drink the nectar.  Important announcement:  When we run out of apples, we can’t make cider.  This will happen soon.  Some of you really loveeeeee it.  Stock up if you do.  It freezes beautifully.

Drop off your carboys now.  Do not wait.  When apples are gone, no more juice for booze.  Leave your bottles at the farm stand inside the double doors that say “Do Not Enter, Employees Only.”  Write your name and phone on the bottle.  We will call you after next pressing.  Price is $8/gal which drops to $7/gal when you order more than 5 gallons.

Gala apple sale!  95¢ a pound!  These are the LAST APPLES OF THE YEAR.   Y’all picked everything else.  We picked these.  You can go into the orchard and pick Gala apples – just not off a tree!  You will find them in crates around the orchard and also at the farm stand.  Galas were the stars of the show in our caramel apples at Apple Fest.  These are delicious dessert apples.  Last chance for a year.

Empire apple sale!  95¢ a pound!  These are the LAST APPLES OF THE YEAR.  Same deal as Gala, you can find them in crates around the orchard and also at the farm stand.   A cross between Mac and Delicious.  A shiny red lunchbox apple that does not bruise easily.

Pumpkins are kaput.  Picked clean.  Oh you might be one of the lucky few to find a pumpkin hiding somewhere on the farm.  But your fellow Farmketeers hoovered up the thousands that once were here and now are gone.

Farmketeers of the Week:  Erin and Devin McCauley.They clearly came dressed to impress!  Erin knitted her apple cap expressly for their trip to The ‘Creek, finishing just minutes before they arrived.  Committed and knitted!

We will be at Wizarding Weekend a.k.a. Potter Party. Find us in the middle of the magic.  We’ll have bubble, bubble, toil, and trouble in our copper cauldron.  Potions and elixirs.
han

Hooray, ‘Creekniks, you did it!  You showed your MUSCLES by picking BRUSSELS!  You raised $500 for the Finger Lakes Land Trust.  Thank you!  And thanks to Hannah at the Land Trust for picking sprouts then throwing herself a sprout-themed birthday party.  Whatever it takes to save land forever!  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Cram a Bag Full of Pumpkins ($20), Pick the Last Wave of Apples, Go Sprouting to Save Open Space in Finger Lakes Farm Country.

“BORN TIRED, RAISED LAZY.”  That’s what folks used to say about people who act like Zorro.  But we know better these days.  After all, who can say what wild energies and frenetic cogitations are banging around in a big, beautiful brain like Zorro’s?  No one can say.  Perhaps not even Zorro.

“Snow on the roof, fire in the hearth.”  Maybe that’s closer to the truth.  Beneath Zorro’s placid, wintry fluff rattles a neural abacus that’s calculating full supernova 22 hours a day.  He hasn’t won any science prizes, but not for lack of innovation or sheer knowledge production.  In fact his theory on pumpkin collisions damn near beat the gravity wave people to it.  And he wasn’t even really trying.

Zorro theorized that when pumpkins collide, infinitesimal undulations reverberate through the fabric of spacetime.  Indeed, confirmation of the very same phemomenon in black hole collisions earned 3 physicists the 2017 Nobel Prize last week.  Those first gravitational waves observed on earth took 1.3 billion years to arrive from the collision point.  Zorro is cosmic eons ahead of his time.

In celebration of Zorro’s tireless pursuit of the truth, we are having a $20 All-You-Can-Cram Pumpkin Sale.  Stuff a ‘Creeksack full of pumpkins for only $20 — and get the reusable bag FREE!  This one held over 28 pounds!  You can also buy pumpkins onesie-twosie, but that would not honor Zorro’s ingenious suggestion to cram multiple pumpkins into a single bag.  Total mindbender.

Did you know that 5,000 New York farms have been paved over since the 1980s?  That’s 3 farms a week.  You can help save farmland and open spaces right here in the Finger Lakes region by picking Brussels sprouts now.  All you have to do is cut your own stalks and pay at the stand!  From each stalk ($6), we will donate $3 to the Finger Lakes Land Trust, a trusted local conservation organization that protects farmland and creates public nature preserves.  You might already love to hike some of their preserves:  Lick Brook Gorge and Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve as seen on the Land Trust’s new outdoor recreation site Go Finger Lakes.

Did you know that Indian Creek is protected forever by an agricultural conservation easement?  It cannot be paved over for a strip mall or mini-mart.  This is productive and scenic agricultural land and it will be permanently.  You can help the Land Trust protect other farms in our region by simply coming out to pick sprouts!  We want to raise $500.  That’s 167 stalks.  Help us now through Sunday!

Over 20,000 acres of farmlands, forests, wetlands, lakeshores and gorges have been conserved forever by the Finger Lakes Land Trust.  Please come out this weekend to lop your own sprouts and help save more priceless open spaces in our beautiful corner of New York.  GO SPROUTING!

“Like the Incredible Hulk, Mutsu is huge, green, and strangely lovable.”  Apples of Uncommon Character further explains that Mutsu apples are reliably great, “a joyous crunch fest filled with Golden Delicious-style honey aromas.”  Bleeding edge Farmketeers have already made a dent in the Mutsu crop; now the rest of you can jump in before they are gone.  Pick for fresh eating; also some of the best bakers you can get.

Northern Spy apples in the Vintage Orchard.  Find the red ribbons which have turn pinked with years of sun.  Aficionados hold the Northern Spy in highest regard.  People write to us from all over asking if we have them.  You’ve picked all the spies in the Dwarf Orchard, but there are still some to be picked on the big old trees of the Vintage Orchard.  These are delicious, firm, acidic dessert apples which also make brilliant pies.  Remember, “spies make pies.”

Good old Red Delicious.  Farmer Steve’s all-time flavorite.  Possibly the most popular apple in America by the volumes moved in grocery stores.  You can pick them here in the Vintage Orchard right off trees that are almost as old as the variety itself, introduced at Peru, Iowa, in 1881.  If you reach for an apple on a blue-ribboned tree, it’s Red Delicious… or Rome Beauty.  We used blue ribbons on both types, just to keep you guessing.  Or maybe because we ran out of ribbbon colors 8 years ago and, you know, change is hard.  The Romes look like Christmas balls.  The Reds look like grocery stores.  Either way, good picking right now on the Reds and Romes.

Fresh pressed Orchard Ambrosia.  Unpasteurized.  We squeeze the fruit.  That’s all.  You’re basically drinking the sweet nectar of trees.  Important announcement:  When we run out of apples, we can’t make cider.  This could happen soon.  Stock up if you love it.  It freezes beautifully.

Drop off your carboys now.  Do not wait.  When apples are gone, no more booze-making juice.  Leave your bottles at the farm stand inside the wooden doors that say “Do Not Enter, Employees Only.”  Write your name and phone on the bottle.  We will call you after next pressing.  Price is $8/gal which drops to $7/gal when you order more than 5 gallons.

Donuts, too, are made with apple cider.  So ya better come get em while we still have cider.  Serving Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 6 PM.  Chase them with a cider slushee or hot cider or cold cider.  All 3 forms are available every day.

Veggie lovers, if you’re picking the last veggies of the year, try Indian Creek “Salsa 1-2-3from previous Farmketeer of the Week Jamie Kemmerer.  (1) Pick tomatillos, tomatoes, and peppers, mixing poblano, jalapeño, and serrano to meet your need for heat; (2) Roast on the grill with an onion until the peppers are charred, the garlic is soft, and the tomatillos are bubbly; (3) Combine in a food processor, season with cilantro and salt.  That’s all it takes to enjoy the freshest, most delicious salsa you’ll ever have!

Farmketeer of the Week (FOW):  Aquillah of the Apples & Sprouts!  This is a first.  An FOW who has never set foot on the farm.  Yet!  We couldn’t resist upon seeing Aquila’s fabulous headbands at the Finger Lakes Land Trust office.  Showing big time farm country spirit with apples on her head!

Who wears Brussels sprouts to work?!  Aquillah!  If any of you ‘Creekniks wears sprouts to work, well that’s just groovy.  You deserve to be in some small farm’s newsletter.

Farmketeers, time to put up or shut up.  Put up apple sauce, apple butter, dried apple rings, frozen apple cider.  This is possibly last call for abundant apple picking.  We are here every day 8 AM til a half-hour before dark.  Which is getting earlier.  Won’t you help us finish the apple harvest strong and pick sprouts to save more land?  GO SPROUTING!  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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Your Wandering Farm Country Doctor Prescribes Vitamin “P” as the Salve for Early Onset Winter Blues: Pumpkins, Picking, and Pranayamadonutta.

DO NOT BE ASHAMED, Dear Farmketeer.  You are not alone.  Many people feel it.  We fray as the days fly south.  Sleep gets spotty.  Good people run scared.  Farmers, in particular, have mountains of seasonal work to do – but less daylight to squeeze it in.  Snowbirds escape; the rest must accept.

But we have each other.  And Edgar.  Yes, Farm Fans, the Dubious Doctor is in town on his country rounds, ministering to orchard misfits and ‘Creekniks in need.  After expounding on recent developments in the literature – whether it is medical literature is anyone’s guess – the Southern Surgeon continues his crusade against Big Farma by offering a simple prescription in his gentle Pennsyltucky drawl, “Vitamin P is the man for what ails ye.  Copious quantities and don’t hold back.”
P is for PICKING!  Mutsu apples.  As big as pumpkins.  Many of you have been waiting for this moment.  The Mutsu is known as the “oven buster” in the small English town of Pocklington.  The old ladies say you pick a big Mutsu, pop it in the oven, and out comes a snack for two.  Tea time, puppet!  These are famously versatile for fresh eating and pies.

P is for PUTTING UP.  Get Cortland apples on sale for only $1 per pound.  At over 40% off, that’s perfect for putting up lots of sauce!  You can pick them yourself on yellow ribbon trees in the Vintage Orchard, or simply get the ones we picked at the farm stand.  Beautiful and versatile Cortland apples are delicious for SNACKS, wonderful for SAUCE, perfect for lunch boxes and SALADS because they don’t brown quickly.

P is for PICKING.  Splendour apples.  A popular dessert apple in New Zealand, where it was developed.   Stores well in the fridge, but take care when handling as they bruise easily.  Pick Splendour in Row 17. 

P is for PUMPKINS.  Bowie has found his dream pumpkin.  Will you come find yours?  You can find them right at the farm stand or out in the pumpkin patch by the Brussels sprouts.  Pricing for each pumpkin is 55¢ a pound (< 5 lbs), 45¢ a pound (5-15 lbs), or 35¢ a pound (>15 lbs).

P is for PRANAYAMADONUTTA – the ancient yoga practice of breathing mindfully between donuts.  In the asana shown above, called Downward Facing Donut, first you inhale a donut, then exhale, then inhale another donut.  Come on, yogis, you got this!  We will support you in your practice Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 6 PM.

P is for PLACEBO.  Pick Brussels Sprouts.  When nothing else seems to work, reach for the magic potion of placebo.  Placebo comes from the Latin word placebo meaning “I shall please.”  Indeed you shall please your mind and body with these nutrition bombs.  Who knows if they are actually good for you, we are not doctors.  They just feel good.  And each year they appear just in time, as if by some master plan.  Note that the Dubious Doctor cautions us:  “Kittens in the doghouse don’t make em puppies.”  That’s his way of saying better to face reality.  But he pops a sprout in his mouth as a chaser to this puzzling pronouncement.

P is for PLAYGROUND.  Here we have a child monk practicing tractor yoga.  This advanced asana, called The Exorcist, is not to be attempted until just before enlightenment.  Someone get the holy water.  Ommmmm.

P is for CIDER.  That’s right, Goody Two Shoes, we make the rules around here and P stands for cider.  Orchard Ambrosia is fresh PRESSED with a capital P every week and sometimes several times a week like when YOU DRANK 100 GALLONS last Saturday.  Farmer Steve himself had to drag ass down to the cider press first thing Sunday morning to make more.  You people are insannnnneeee for cider.

P is for PICKUP YOUR CARBOY.  First drop it off at the farm stand – inside the wooden doors that say “Do Not Enter, Employees Only.”  Write your name and phone on the bottle somewhere.  We will give you a buzz (ahem) after we fill it at the next pressing.  Price is $8/gallon which drops to $7/gallon when you order more than 5 gallons.  Now’s the time.  Do not wait.  Apples will be gone.

P is for PRETTY EFFING CUTE.  Your Farmketeer of the Week for October 12, 2017, is little Eloise.  And ain’t she sweet?  Come back anytime, kid, the world is your pumpkin.

P is for PLEASE & THANK YOU.  Please read this short message from the Underwood Family – that’s Farmer Dusky and Alder and Kelsey and Henry.  They grew their first corn crop this year, and you Farmketeers snarfed it up.  Dusky says,  “We would like to thank you all so much for trying out our sweet corn this year!  It was a long and hard process during our first season of growing.  We learned so much and can’t wait until next season so we can do it even better!  Thank you for being there while we figured everything out.  We look forward to seeing you around the farm.  Thank you!”

P is for PRAYER.  No force on earth can stop the exodus of photons, the huge flocks of light particles that are flapping off to the south.  But we can do like Fe Fe and send heartfelt beseachments to the meowniverse.  “Please send the light back when it pleases thee, O Mysterious Cosmic Furball.”

P is for PARTY.  Many of you have asked about the Pigs-n-Apples Party of a few years ago.  It was deliciously fun but an awful lot of barely controlled chaos for us farmers at harvest time.  We hope to bring it back one day.  We did host one little soiree:  Eve’s Cidery and The Piggery joined us for a glorious fall evening of boutique, farm chic, Finger Lakes agriculinary edutainment.  Great to see 30 of you round the table taking a genuine interest in cider production and apple growing.
Meanwhile you can INVITE US to all the parties you want to throw.  That would be most welcome!  “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” cried Dylan Thomas.  “And take your Vitamin P,” cries the Doctor.  Is he a charlatan shaman of the utmost depravity?  Take your medicine and see.  Hope to see you at The ‘Creek.

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