8/9/2019 - Week 8 - Blackberry Picking



Tendersweet Cabbage, Fennel, Purple Daikon, Cured Cabernet Onions, Italian Late Softneck Garlic, Green Curly Kale, Rainbow Chard, Lemon Cucumbers, Persian and Japanese Slicing Cucumbers, Summer Squash and Zucchini, Heirloom & Slicing Tomatoes, Rainbow Carrots, Galia Melons, Arugula, Assorted Lettuce


  • Dried English Shelling Peas Gleanings

  • 🚩Husk Cherries See below for tips

  • Amethyst Green Beans: See Week 5’s newsletter for harvest tips

  • Cherry Tomatoes: See below for a rundown of our varieties

  • Frying Peppers: Shishito, Black Hungarian, Padrón / See Week 2's newsletter for harvest tips

  • Jalapeños: Located below the frying peppers

  • Strawberries

  • Pickling Cucumbers: 2 gallon season limit * See below for instructions

  • 🚩Wild Blackberries See below for tips

  • Herbs: Italian Basil, Tulsi Basil, Thai Basil, Purple Basil, Italian Parsley, Rosemary, Lemon balm, Lemon Verbena, Perennial Cilantro, Annual Cilantro, French Sorrel, Onion Chives, Garlic Chives, Shiso, Tarragon, Oregano, Thyme, Chamomile, Mints, Dill

  • Flowers!

The Desiree Potatoes in full flower. We highly recommend a trip to field 3 which, aside from a few beds, is a full canopy of greenery photosynthesizing fall food for us!

The Desiree Potatoes in full flower. We highly recommend a trip to field 3 which, aside from a few beds, is a full canopy of greenery photosynthesizing fall food for us!


Cory Brown’s stash

Cory Brown’s stash

We’re coming to the last few weeks of pickling cucumbers and we’d like to find a home for all of them. We’re going to try a new method.

If you haven’t yet picked the season limit, please sign up for a specific time slot on the new calendar in the barn. After this week we will open it up to second round pickers.

Picking instructions: Bring something you can estimate 2 gallons with, or one of the white buckets below the sign-in table to pick into. Find the pickling cucumber bed out on the farm marked with yellow flags. They’re in the far left field. Comb through the plants gently, doing your best not to step on the vines or the adjacent bed. The ideal sized pickling cucumber is around 4 inches long and 1 inch thick. Bigger is great. Please don't pick them much smaller than this so they can size up for the next pickers. If you use the farm bucket, please transfer your cukes to another container and put the bucket back below the sign-in table. Check the box next to your name that says you have picked.

Check out Kate Seely’s tried and true pickling cucumber recipe for pickling instructions.


Husk Cherries (aka cape gooseberries, aka ground cherries) are a delightful, extremely sweet little nightshade fruit wrapped inside a cool little "wrapper" that kids love. Just peel the papery wrapper off and pop them in your mouth! Husk Cherries are ripe when the wrapper is golden or white. (Green = unripe). Look low down under the canopy of leaves for the ripe ones. In fact, the ones fallen to the ground are often the sweetest.



Offering wild blackberries to someone in Sonoma County at this time of year is like offering sand to someone at the beach. But if you live in an area without good access to wild blackberry brambles, we’ve got some good ones here on the farm! They are are starting to go off and you're welcome to pick! We’ve marked two of the better patches with pink flags: They are located on the back fence-line, behind the fields; if you’re standing at the head of the cherry tomato rows facing east, they are to your left devouring the far fence.


2019’s cherry tomato lineup, from L to R: Supersweet 100, Pink Princess, Copper Beauty, and Sungold cherry tomatoes

2019’s cherry tomato lineup, from L to R: Supersweet 100, Pink Princess, Copper Beauty, and Sungold cherry tomatoes

We planted four cherry tomato varieties this year. They are starting to go off. Here’s who we’ve got out there:

  • Supersweet 100: A classic red cherry tomato. Ripe when deep scarlet red. We find they get sweeter a day or two after harvest.

  • Pink Princess: Developed by an Oxen driving seed saving wizard in Massachusetts, this gem is becoming a GVCFarm favorite. Mellow, sweet, almost melon flavored, quirky sizes and egg shapes, in a firm, matte, soft pink skin. Ripe when pink.

  • Copper Beauty: Our first time growing this one and we’re loving it. A larger, oblong cherry. Mellow, very low acid, sugar sweet. Ripe when auburn red, with a metallic gold to green stripes.

  • Sungold: The sun... captured. An unbeatable classic. Ripe when deep orange. Candy sweet, super productive, it's not summer until you've had a handful of Sungolds.

A carrot lover’s sample share from last week

A carrot lover’s sample share from last week


Interested in some farm therapy? Come out on Wednesday mornings as help tend garden and farm together! Find us in the garden or out in the main fields on Wednesdays from 8:00am 'til 10:00 am. People of all abilities welcome, we’ll find something comfortable for you to do!


Pint Baskets: Please remember to return / re-use your farm pint baskets. We’re getting low! (Tip: Try using just one pint basket to pick into and transferring to a separate container.)

2019 Harvest Pick-up, June 22nd - December 21st.

  • Saturdays from 9am - 1pm

  • Tuesdays from 1pm - 6pm

    U-pick 7 days a week, sunrise to sunset.

If you ever cannot u-pick something due to illness or injury, please let us know and we can pick for you.


Looks like there will be some good blackberry picking this year after that wet spring. 

The Himalayan Blackberry, as you know if you live near any semi rural patch of Northern California, is a perennial "frienemy". Most of the time it is a formidable enemy: Thick pointy thorns, olympic level runners, canes as thick as a broom handle. Invasive. But oh-boy the berries. It tries its best to make up for the scratches, back aches, and lost territory in August.

Whether here on the farm, or on the side of a random road, here is Seamus Heaney to wet your appetite for some glorious, if fleeting, wild blackberry picking…

* * * * * *

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

The Death of a Naturalist, 1966

* * * * * *

See you in the fields, 

David and Kayta