Farmers markets are a great place to pick up local meat and produce, as well as being able to put a face to the name of the people who are growing your food.
However, if you have ever been able to take the time to talk to a farmer in their natural environment—such as in the fields they carefully tend their vegetables or the open pastures while we watch the chickens or lambs nibble on the fresh grass—you will find incredible nuggets of knowledge and bits of gossip on the resident wildlife, too!
Here is a collection from this season:
The first growth of summer squash will always be a deeper yellow than the second or third cut.
You can tell if it is a dry spring or summer if you see fine sand/silt collected in the creases of the leaves of kale or Swiss chard. This is from the wind blowing the dry dirt around then settling on leaves. The morning dew collects and the silty sand settles in the creases of the leaves.
The best strawberry pies are made with 75% sweet berries and 25% tart. This ratio will balance the strawberries for maximum flavor.
If you are thinking about planting garlic, select a hard neck variety like the “music” variety. You will be able to get garlic scapes in the spring, hard garlic bulbs in the summer and be able to divide and replant whatever you don’t use/need in the fall and start the cycle again!
Did you know animals have a 6th sense when the produce is at its peak? I am not sure if this is actually verified by science, but it definitely feels that way when produce orders disappear overnight.
Rabbits love currants as much as we do! I am in love with fresh currants and came across a farmer who had a massive wild patch. So, excited, I ordered 25 lbs of fresh currants. The night before, the resident wild rabbit population ate all but a handful.
Flea beetles have moved onto Lebanon and Woodstock, Connecticut, enjoying early potatoes and mid-summer radishes.
A flock of birds “moved in for two days” and literally ate the ENTIRE first pick of corn.
Soil pack and content determine when grass gets hayed. Grass grown in packed clay soil should be hayed first because the soil has more moisture and it needs more time to dry. Whereas grass grown in sandy soil can be harvested weeks later if the weather cooperates.
You know when the rain is coming if the leaves on the trees start to flip over.
Chef Rachael LaPorte & Farmer Ken