7/13/17 - Week 5 - Blackberry Picking

THIS WEEK'S HARVEST: Mixed Summer Squash (Italian Zucchini, Crookneck and Patty Pan) Chioggia/Red Ace/and Golden Beets, Omero Purple Cabbage, Lemon Cucumbers, Heirloom and New Girl Tomatoes, Hakurei Turnips, Hearts-Aglow Lettuce Salad Mix, Spinach, Mustard Salad Greens Mix, Rainbow Chard, Olympic Red Kale, Dino Kale, Broccoli, Baby Bok Choi, Fresh Cabernet Red Onions, Romance/Purple Haze/Yellow Star Carrots

U-PICK in the GARDEN: Basil, Cilantro, Savory, Onion Chives, Parsley, Sage, Oregano, Dill, Thymes, Mints, Sorrel, Chamomile, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, Anise Hyssop assorted cut flowers (Cosmos, Nasturtium, Bachelor's Buttons, Zinnias, Calendula, Snapdragons, Red Spike Amaranth, Sunflowers, Love-in-a-Mist)
U-PICK on the FARM: Cherry tomatoes:  Sungolds, Black Cherry, and Super Sweet 100's. Three Rows marked with the blue flags.


2017 CHERRY TOMATO PRIMER: We planted three varieties of cherry tomatoes this year. Delicious, but maybe a little confusing for u-pickers. We wanted to orient you to the patch so you make the most of it. Sungolds, a crowd pleaser and probably the sweetest, are ripe when deep orange. Super Sweet 100's look more like your classic cherry tomato, they are ripe when scarlet red. Black Cherries, just coming in, are larger, and are ripe when slightly soft to the touch. They are burnt red on the bottom with green blushed tops.


The briars here are loaded. Mostly geen one, some red, and few black ones. Looks like there will be some goooooood blackberry picking this year after those rains. 

The Himalayan Blackberry, you know if you live any semi rural patch of California, is a perennial "frienemy". Most of the time a formidable enemy. It tries to make up for the scratches, back aches, and lost territory in July and August. Thick pointy thorns, olympic level runners, mature canes as thick as a broom handle. Invasive. But oh-man the berries. Legend has it that have the mad-scientist-plant-breeder Luther Burbank to thank. To wet your appetite for some summer blackberry picking here on the farm or on the side of the road here's Seamus Heaney:

Blackberry Picking

For Philip Hobsbaum

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.

-Seamus Heaney, 1966, The Death of a Naturalist

See you in the fields,