Friday, January 23, 2015

A slight delay!

Welcome back to a slightly delayed episode of Lost in the Farmer’s Market. As some of you might know, the semester started so rapidly that the posting of this episode is almost two weeks late. With that said expect a double post, as this week’s post will be coming sometime this weekend, and then all will be up to date. Now in regards to the topic at hand, this week’s topic is about the compiled information for the 2014 growing year. In reviewing and organizing the data I was able to immediately tell it was a tough year by more than one criterion. For instance there are no recorded harvests in January, February or March. But then we knew it was a bad winter and it is noted on record that I had an 80% crop loss of all crops planted in the ground. Potted crops struggled and were brought into the lab repeatedly and well 2015 seem to be more of the same. So the first record of note for 2014 is for the most productive plants by total weight of harvest.

Top 5 Most Productive – 2014, by weight
11.      Fig, White Ischia, 4 pounds, 11 ½  ounces.
22.      Fig, Brown Turkey, 2 pounds, 5 ½ ounces.
33.      Blueberries, Rabbiteye, 2 pounds, ¼ ounces.
44.      Tomato, Cherokee Purple, 1 pound, 7 ¾ ounces.
55.      Mustard, Japanese Red Giant, 1 pound, 6 ounces.

2013’s winning top producer, the red giant mustard had a bad year but somehow held onto a top five productivity spot by weight. However the unusually wet weather seems to have been a great help to blueberry and fig crops. Interestingly the Cherokee purple tomatoes despite being smaller than normal out produced all other types (22 varieties grown in 2014) by weight. It seems 2014 was made of surprising twists and turns as far as crop productivity was concerned. However one must also consider the numerical amounts of fruit produced.

Top 5 Most Productive – 2014, by Quantity
11.      Blueberries, Rabbiteye - 375 Berries.
22.      Ground Cherry, Cossack Pineapple - 181 ground cherries.
33.      Tomato, Mexico Midget – 169 tomatoes.
44.      Fig, White Ischia – 85 Figs.
55.      Fig, Celeste – 67 Figs.

I am sure that Red Giant Mustard would have made the quantity-based top five easily however counting how many leaves you pick is a bit much to keep track of. I can safely assume there were more leaves picked than blueberries simply because of the sheer amount of leaves it tends to take to have a pound of greens for cooking. Either way, the blueberries won the confirmed quantity count followed by the ground cherries and last year’s tomato quantity favorite Mexico Midget. White Ischia figs make up the fourth spot while celeste figs lacking the weight of the brown turkey figs take up the fifth spot for quantity. But of course, these two charts only tell part of the story.

Most Successful Non-Perennials – 2014 (by quantity)
11.      Tomato, Mexico Midget – 169 tomatoes.
22.      Ground cherries, Cossack Pineapple – 181 ground cherries.
33.      Tomato, Brown Berry – 48 tomatoes.
44.      Tomato, Blueberries – 43 tomatoes.
55.      Pepper, Yellow Devil’s Tongue – 32 peppers.

So now it’s starting to show the real demographics of success, we now know what did best, produced the most and now the final aspect of this survey of our records is something LITFM has never posted for public scrutiny before. At the Farmer’s Market every week your purchases were recorded and noted, and the following indicates what you preferred the most and thus will be returning in 2015.

Best Sellers – 2015
11.      Aloe
22.      Assorted Basil
33.      Lavender
44.      Artemesia
55.      (Tie) Rosemary, Red Giant Mustard and Stonehead Cabbage.
66.      Irish Eyes Rudbeckia
77.      Golden Rudbeckia
88.      Parris Island Cos Lettuce
99.      (Tie) Rouge D’hiver Lettuce & Sage
110.  Sweet Banana Peppers.

I have to admit, the interesting thing about the above record is how well all of you out there responded to the offering of Aloes of assorted types, and that of this entire list half of it is comprised o of new offerings for 2014. I might add your response to my offerings of fruiting shrubs was also very encouraging, who knew the Chicago Hardy Figs and Dwarf Pomegranates would be gone within a week of their initial offering?  I can assure you that 2015 will have some real surprising additions and a number of your requests have been taken into consideration for this year. With any luck the remainder of January and all of February will not be nearly as bad weather wise so far we’ve already had our first real deep killing freeze with that weather about a week ago where temperatures hit 14 degrees with wind chill. Honestly the test gardens still have damages from that and I am currently trying some new and inventive means to keep the crops alive as February is typically when we have been getting additional freezes and snow.  However know that things will keep rolling here and in the next installment you get to see some of what I am doing to keep the crops alive.  

In the meanwhile this Sunday is the Sustainable Neighbors Yearly Seed Swap event. The event is happening on Sunday January the 25th at 2:00pm at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex. Also, I am still at the Fayetteville Farmers Market on Saturdays between 9:00am and 1:00pm however due to the bad weather this weekend I might not attend, hopefully the weather will cooperate next weekend. 

P.S. Stay tuned however this weekend's normal update is coming soon.

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