Thursday, March 6, 2014

Super Happy Gibberish Time!

Welcome back to another episode of Lost In the Farmers market and boy do we have some bad news for all you non-morning people out there. Sunday March the 9th is Daylight Savings time and your clocks should be set forward before bed on Saturday evening or at 2:00 am on Sunday morning for all you ultra-night owls out there.  I don’t know about you but honestly Daylight savings is really one of the archaic things in modern society. It was originally conceived to maximize daylight working hours for an agriculture based population but is now just an artifact of a time that is long gone. The second president bush moved about the original daylight savings and caused a lot of people some serious annoyance as their alarm clocks would auto-reset for the old time.
However you readers out there have LITFM giving a few days fair warning so hopefully you’re all set for the hour shifting shenanigans of popular culture.

Now today’s main topic focuses on the raw details of some of the crops that are listed as coming soon. In this case we’re talking tomatoes because we tried a number of new varieties this year and well we’d like you to know all about it. Some favorites are making a nostalgic return and of course it’s all in good garden fun.

Tomato, Amana Orange
Amana orange is a beefsteak type heirloom that can produce up to one pound fruits. We had this at the booth last summer and in trials it did ok, however this year we brought it back to repeat the trial and to see what it can really do under high production conditions. As the name suggests the fruit are a bright and cheery orange color that can really liven up recipes with its unique color and good flavor.

Tomato, Black Krim
Black Krim is a Russian heirloom variety that originates in a Crimean town called Krim along the black sea. In early trials black krim was tougher than most and produced regularly even surviving overwintering as a cutting and setting fruit very early the next year. The fruit are roughly 9-12 ounces on average and have reddish-brown flesh with an earthy-smoked sort of flavor.

Tomato, Blue Berries
Blueberries are a new variety to our list this year. The seed was sourced from a verified organic non-GMO source. I wanted to carry this variety last year but the supplier was out of seed very early on due to high demand and now here it is! The fruit of this tomato are a very dark purple, and are roughly 1-4 ounces on average making this type a very large cherry or grape tomato.

Tomato, Brown Berry
Brown berry is a recurring variety that we’ve brought back three years in a row. As far as cherry type tomatoes brown berry is positively gorgeous as the fruit are flecked with bands of golden-brown against a reddish-primary color. As far as flavor is concerned brownberry is rather tasty and is a nice surprised sliced in salads.

Tomato, Hillbilly Potato Leaf
Hillbilly Potato leaf is beefsteak heirloom type that in truth is a bicolor variety. The fruit will often mainly be yellow with irregular red streaking along the sides and bottom giving it a variety of orange shades in the middle. Fruits range up to one pound and are very sweet and quite meaty.

Tomato, Paul Robeson
Paul Robeson is a Russian Heirloom variety named for the famous performer. I can say from last year’s trials this plant is a super-performer breaking a number of growth and productivity records leading the entire tomato crop in pounds of produce per plant. The fruit range between 5 and 10 ounces and tend to be a deep red color sometimes with brown or purple shoulders.

Tomato, San Marzano
San Marzano was used as the Mascot of the anti-GMO efforts in California and we at BL2 can see why. These tomatoes survived the 2013 monsoon, drought and neglect and still produced some seriously tasty paste tomatoes. The fruits are red at maturity and are up to 3” long with an average weight of 1-3 ounces.

Tomato, Tlacolula
Tal…Tula…Tahlacoo…Ah hell whatever its name is it’s a new addition!  This variety is named for the town in Mexico it originates from Tlacolula. While we imagine it’s probably pronounced something like Dracula this new addition seems to be so much fun to say that the basic details only help its usage. The fruit of Tlacolula are roughly pear-shaped and bear deep ribs and ruffles giving them an almost bell shape. The fruit are said to be Pink skinned with gold-splotched shoulders and the flesh is mild sweet and light pink.

Keep in mind readers this is the first of a number of detailed posts about the weird and wonderful crops coming down the line so stay tuned for next weeks continued tomato mayhem! The weather forecast is looking good and predicts it will be sunny with a high of 66 degrees which is pretty good. With that said the Fayetteville Farmers market is a 365 day a year event that occurs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I’m there on Saturdays between 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM and the market is located on 325 Franklin Street in the parking lot of the Fayetteville Transportation Museum.  We’re practically surrounded by parking lots and the meter maid brigade in downtown Fayetteville takes the weekends off so no worries for carrying coin to feed the meters. You’ve got the basics now let’s get on with the plants and materials list for the booth this weekend.

Southward Skies: A northern guide to southern Gardening
This is the second edition of my book, which was published using data compiled from several years of test garden operations. It’s written to aid gardeners of all skill levels in successful garden methods that are targeted for the south east but had proven to be a valued resource for gardens across the eastern coast. It’s certainly a good gift for that gardener you know or for yourself if you’d like to have a reliable field guide. The book costs $25.00 and we do take checks for this item, you can even have it signed.

Black Magic Fertilizer
That’s right you’ve heard about it in trials all summer. This specially formulated liquid fertilizer was made and tested at the test gardens using natural ingredients and no chemicals. The result explosive growth, great harvests and of course no environmental side effects! We’re making batches of this stuff to order, at $6.00 per gallon of fertilizer. You can either order it at the market and pick it up the next week or have it delivered to your home in the Fayetteville area for a delivery charge of an additional $2.00.

House Plants
4x Holiday Cactus ($3.00)
2x Rotary Privet ($3.00)
2x Dancing Bones Cactus ($3.00)
4x Aloe Vera ($5.00)

Garden Plants
10x Dinosaur Kale, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

2x Green Fennel, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Black Fennel, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Bloody Sorrel, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
2x Lamb’s Ear, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
5x Green Lavender-Cotton, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
4x Tansy, 3.5” pot ($3.00)
3x Rosemary, 3.5” pot ($3.00)

Coming Soon:
Ozard Beauty Strawberry
Martha Washington Asparagus
Dark Red Norland Potato

Tomato, Amana Orange
Tomato, Black Krim
Tomato, Blue Berries
Tomato, Brown Berry
Tomato, Hillbilly Potato Leaf
Tomato, Paul Robeson
Tomato, San Marzano
Tomato, Tlacolula

Ironically my appeal to the month of March for better weather has largely fallen on deaf ears as that frozen rain/sleet event earlier in the week will attest. However we have received an average precipitation of 0.7” inches so at least there isn’t a winter drought. Just a note for all you propagators out there, if you’ve not started seed you may want to if your facilities allow. The colder than average February has set things back but the warm seasonal plants that are finicky about soil temp can reasonably be started now, whereas tomatoes are fast growing enough to not care as much as say peppers and eggplant might.
In the end it doesn’t quite matter the method folks just as long as you can Keep ‘em growing!

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