Crops Feeling the Effects of December & January Cold

In case I haven’t mentioned it lately, I’d like to remind all our subscribers that we had a really rough six weeks back in December and January.

Most of our greens — kales and chards — got clobbered by the cold.  Now that warm weather has returned, many of them are responding by beginning to flower — meaning they have given up producing harvestable leaves.  Adding insult to injury, the flowering greens have attracted aphids and are now covered in them.

Speaking of aphids, they have also been a big problem in our cauliflower field, which is why you haven’t seen much of the white stuff in your boxes this winter.  I know this makes some of you very sad, and I share your feelings of loss.  We still have one planting of cauliflower left in the field, but I wouldn’t bet on any bumper crop.  A trained eye can see the freeze damage from fifty feet away, the plants curled and deformed.

Broccoli is thankfully less susceptible to aphids, but like the greens and cauliflower the plants were seriously stunted by the cold and are producing tiny heads as a result.  I know there are folks who are getting tired of it, but it is always a staple of our winter boxes.  The season this year will be over before the end of March.

On the plus side, we really got lucky that most of our citrus crops were spared damage during the multiple freezes.  They are helping keep the boxes full and interesting.

Spring is coming.  The peach trees are in bloom, strawberries and peas are not far behind.  Very soon we will start planting our first summer crops as well.  But first we have to make it through March, which is famous both for its Ides and for its lionish behavior.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Early Peach Blossoms

Thanks,

Pablito

In Your Boxes
I told you the first Green Garlic of the season would be in your boxes this week, and so it is.  I know this isn’t most exciting thing that you’ve ever gotten in your boxes, but I also know that some people are going to be very excited.

Don’t know what green garlic is?  Well, garlic is planted just once a year in Northern California, in the fall.  And bulb garlic is harvested all at once, in the late spring.  The dry bulbs store well until Christmas or so, but then start to shrivel and sprout.  That’s because they really want to be in the ground, growing.

We plant a special field of garlic a month or so ahead of schedule, in August.  Then we plant the rest in October.  Once that August planting gets to be the size of a large scallions, we start harvesting it fresh — as green garlic.  Think of it as garlic-flavored scallions.  There’s no mistaking its flavor once you’ve tried it.

As the garlic grows and the bulbs begin to swell, the greens will get tougher and stronger flavored, but right now the entire plant is edible.  Just trim the roots and remove the outer wrapper leaf if it looks mushy or dirty.

We’ve also started harvesting our Minneola Tangelos.  A cross between tangerines and grapefruit, they characteristically have a pronounced knob on the top and a dark orange skin.  They are easy to peel like mandarins, but they have a pronounced acidity due to their parentage.  They are probably the juiciest orange available, and are usually seedless.  If you find them too acidic, try mixing them with navel orange juice.

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