Steph biked from Halifax to the farm on Sunday. It is a challenging 75 km ride, with some big hills right at the end and no decent shoulders on the Hants County roads. Why?? They are so dedicated to the farm and Warehouse Market that they wanted to see if the flow of information and logistics could somehow be improved. The visit was fruitful! It is so great to see Steph (Market) and Raphaëlle (farm) working out the harvest list together. They are putting a lot of effort into making the best use of everyone’s time, reducing waste, and improving quality.

There has been an interesting hitch with machinery on the farm. We sold our BCS walking tractor to Marshall next door. We were frustrated that there is no longer a reliable BCS dealer in the province that handles repairs, and it is hard to get parts. We bought a brand new Grillo walking tractor late in the season last year. It is another Italian company, and Grillo is ‘cricket’ in Italian. The Grillo has a dealer in New Brunswick. It seemed to be more popular with our crew. Not perfect, but better. This spring, the Grillo’s transmission broke down. The dealer thought it was defective. We sent it to NB to get fixed, but it is taking a while. So we did the unthinkable. We ordered another one. I thought it would be good to have a backup machine, because we use it so much. We’re not sure how long we’re going to have to wait for it. We ordered over a month ago. While we wait for the new Grillo to arrive, and the almost new Grillo to be fixed, our amazing neighbours are letting us use the BCS we sold to them. Thank you so much Marshall and Hilary! Then yesterday a part on it broke. Today Sean tried to fix it with a weld, but the generator and almost new welder didn’t work. So he took it home (10 minutes away) to try to fix it there. I’m happy to report, it is now working again. Meanwhile our neighbours were using our Kubota tractor and the PTO (power take off) busted. So Marshall is taking care of getting that fixed.

I am reminded again that it takes a village to run a farm. Thank God for great neighbours!

We are very keen to mow the cover crop pathways between the rows of eggplant, peppers, celery, tomatoes, kale etc. With all the rain, the cover crops are growing like crazy. The high humidity and lack of air flow might cause disease problems. So we are keen to use the BCS to mow those paths ASAP. Also, the grass under the fence that keeps deer out of the vegetables needs to be mowed. It is high enough to make the fence ineffective. Please don’t tell the deer!

On a very positive note, we are having an amazing yield of beautiful tomatoes, and eggplants are coming along too! Soon we’ll have red peppers. Eli also reported seeing a parasitic insect going after the colorado potato beetle larva (a serious pest of eggplants) and piercing it. We are learning more and more about beneficial insects, their dynamics, and how to attract them.

I’m going to continue introducing the different tomato varieties at the end of this post. We hope you are enjoying them.

Steph washing lettuce at the farm
You asked, and Sarah is picking green tomatoes for all the chow chow fans out there
Fox field cover crop pathways between rows of peppers.
Colleen explaining what went wrong with the BCS shifter.
Sean setting up to fix the BCS
Myndi setting up at Market, Tulsi in foreground. Have you tried tulsi yet?
Isabel picking red tomatoes
Vervain is blooming all over the farm. I got the seeds at my brother’s wedding. Every time I see this flower I think of John and Karen, and their beautiful wedding, and their beautiful family. Seeds are such a nice thing to give out at weddings.
Screenshot from an Instagram post about baby parasitic wasps coming out of a tomato hornworm. The parasitic wasp actually lays her eggs inside an adult hornworm, and when they hatch out, the hornworm dies. Pretty handy little trick!
Sakura is one of our overall favourite tomatoes. It is very versatile and yields well. We often recommend it for tomato sauce, and feedback indicates it works well. We just pop them into freezer bags as is, and freeze them for winter cooking. This saves a lot of time during the busy summer.
Beorange is a sublime-tasting and very beautiful tomato. It is ripe when it is a nice deep orange, like the tomato in the photo above. We highly recommend everyone try it. It is very cheerful mixed into a raw tomato salad and other dishes.

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