ARTfarm Wednesday 3-4:30pm – Hugel is Huge

The ARTfarm is drying up like a forgotten piece of toast on a hot pan. It is dry and the unrelenting winds are like a hairdryer, causing the plants (and farmers) to shrivel and cry piteously. Tomatoes are getting smaller and everything is becoming an apocalyptic nightmare.

However, the Hugel beds are pumping out cucumbers with relentless optimism. They are green, juicy, crunchy and sweet. Cue the Superman music!

It’s a worm! It’s mundane! It’s… Super Farmer! Able to leap a pile of composting wood chips in a single bound! Able to deliver juicy delicious produce from a dry and arid planet!

Enter SuperFarmer Luca, renewed by a meal of sweet cucumbers. He resumes feeding increased compost (homemade non-synthetic fertilizer) to our row crops, refreshing them in their hour of need and prolonging their lives on the edge of survival.

Wednesday farmstand 3-4:30pm: lots of heroic sweet salad mix, lots of cherry tomatoes at their peak of sweetness, and lots of beautiful life-saving thin skinned extra crunchy Asian cucumbers! Waning harvests of slicing tomatoes and heirlooms, yet loads of our four types of seasoning peppers, Thai chilies, Serrano peppers, baby ginger and turmeric, some large sweet potatoes, some very small butternut squash, Italian basil, Thai basil, cilantro, dill, garlic chives, scallions, baby carrots, radishes, dandelion greens, escarole, and broccoli leaves!!!!!!!! Whoooooooshhh!!!

One Potato, Two Potato, Sweet potato, More! 10am -12 Saturday

Our red jacketed sweet potatoes have a bright orange flesh and sweet warm flavor.

This will be our last crop of sweet potatoes for a couple of years, we have been beset by weevils and need to wait out these bugs.

South Shore Saturday morning 10am to 12 noon: sweet salad mix and arugula, beautiful thin skin no-peel Asian cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, lots of cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, sweet dry buttery (like a good avocado) Thai pumpkin chunks, Italian “Long of Naples” winter squash chunks, Italian basil, garlic chives, dill, Thai basil, loads of massive orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, all of our seasoning peppers and hot peppers, lots of baby ginger and baby turmeric, escarole, dandelion greens, scallions, onions, carrots, broccoli greens, baby bok choi, green papaya to eat green or allow to ripen (3-5 days).

There is superficial damage on the sweet potatoes from potato weevils, a subterranean pest that wiped out our crop last year. You may find a happy little weevil (who loves organically produced food as much as you do) as you clean and chop these potatoes. This will be the last crop of sweet potatoes from us for a couple of years. Rather than spray harmful pesticides, we will stop supplying the bugs their favorite food and wait for the weevil population to give up; and then we will replant this delicious crop.


Wednesday 3-4:30pm – Super Cool

Cool cucumbers and not hot seasoning peppers. Doesn’t this photo just give you a chill up your spine?

Wednesday farmstand – despite a few brief morning rain showers over the last few days, everything continues to dry up in the wind and heat but we have beautiful cool cucumbers available today!!

Three types of cucumbers, sweet salad mix, baby arugula, baby spicy, lots of heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, Thai pumpkin chunks, sweet potatoes, baby bok choy, carrots, baby ginger, all of our assorted peppers (hot and seasoning), papayas, small amounts of broccoli, lots of broccoli leaves, dandelion greens, garlic chives, Italian basil, cilantro, dill, Thai basil, lemon basil, and last but not least, the perfect little treat for these hot days…

…vegan coconut-based homemade ice cream from I-Sha’s ‘coconut creamery’. Yes, Chefs Feel I and Shalima actually ‘milk’ the coconuts, nothing comes from a can! All local fruits star in amazing and extremely local flavors like guava guavaberry, jojo plum, gooseberry, passionfruit mango, beet-ginger and more.

Last Pop-Up Monday (we think) 3-4:30pm

Our unbelievably sweet cherry tomatoes are one of our most sought-after items at ARTfarm.

Come and get sweet cherry tomatoes today!The grass is turning brown and crunchy! The continued heat and dry weather has greatly slowed down production of both tomatoes and lettuce. The wild abundance we have been experiencing is going to be reined in, with tomatoes getting smaller and flavors sharpened, as the plants get older and dry windy conditions prevail. We will be accordingly reducing our retail hours to Wednesdays from 3 to 4:30pm and Saturdays from 10am to 12 noon. Today will be our last Monday afternoon ‘pop-up’ farmstand for the season.

Today’s farmstand list: lots of cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes and slicer tomatoes, baby ginger, our seasoning peppers and spicy peppers, and earlybird sweet salad mix. Also, Feel I will bring more I-Sha vegan fruit ice cream in a rainbow of local fruit flavors.

We appreciate all the helpers at the ARTfarm, both the day and night shifts. A praying mantis hunts for destructive pests on a Cattley guava tree around 11pm last night.

Thanks for your support, everyone! Special thanks to our super volunteers at the farmstand and in the field who continue to help us keep it all going this season.

10am – 12 noon Saturday

Tomatoes continue in their abundance, with the dry weather increasing the flavor factor, wow. Lots and lots of heirloom tomatoes, lots of slicers, lots of cherry tomatoes. The highlight for Luca is the Hugel beds’ cucumber performance.

Saturday morning we will have the first harvest from the new cucumber patch. Sweet salad mix (take note: lettuces are stressed from the high winds and heat, so you may notice that the lettuce mix is a little bit stronger flavored than usual). Bunched arugula, French breakfast radishes, a few broccoli heads, lots of broccoli greens, lots of baby ginger, small amounts of sweet potato, Thai pumpkin chunks, baby turmeric, dandelion greens, escarole, Italian basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, onions, scallions, carrots, a few bunches of beets, all of our lovely seasoning peppers, all of our hot peppers, storm-planted papaya and a few zinnia flowers!

Luca just finished the poster image for the 19th annual Taste of St. Croix event, which (according to the press release we just saw) will be held in downtown Christiansted on Thursday, April 11, 2019. Contact the St. Croix Foundation to find out when tickets will become available! Registration for booths will start on Monday February 25th.

Wednesday Superflavor ARTfarm 3-4:30

Conditions are drying up quickly on the South Shore. This intensifies flavors, so come and taste tomatoes that are even sweeter!

Wednesday farmstand: loads of heirloom tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sweet salad mix, arugula, spicy salad mix, garlic chives, cilantro, dill, Italian basil, Thai basil, baby ginger, baby turmeric, large butternut squash, assorted peppers (spicy and seasoning), dandelion greens, escarole, broccoli, and zinnias. Figs also!

ARTfarm on the farm: Monday 3-4:30pm

Monday afternoon (Presidents’ Day, also the last day of the Ag Fair) we will be open in our usual time and place: South Shore, 3-4:30pm!

Luca’s list: Loads of heirloom. slicer and cherry tomatoes, sweet salad mix, Italian basil, assorted hot peppers and seasoning peppers, broccoli greens, ginger and turmeric.

A group of chefs shopping for an annual benefit dinner on Sunday stopped by us (and the Ag Fair, and other local growers) on Saturday to source ingredients. We were blessed with an invitation to attend and sat next to VI Senator Myron Jackson, a long-time champion of art and agriculture in the territory and fellow alumnus of Parsons School of Design. The dinner benefitted The Women in Culinary Leadership Fund through the James Beard Foundation.

This year’s chefs included visitors Asha Gomez (Atlanta), Xavier Pacheco and Maria Mercedes-Grubbs (San Juan PR), and local chefs Lamar Bough, Julius Jackson, Ralph Motta, Emily Weston, Amanda Dougherty, Byron Harrigan and host Chef Digby Stridiron.

Asha’s Shiny Tomatoes

Chef Asha Gomez is well known in Atlanta for her award winning restaurant Cardamom Hill. She stopped by the farm to pick up tomatoes for her wine pairing dish of old wife (queen trigger) fish and yucca, and we were looking forward to seeing what she would do with the small heirlooms she selected. When she presented her dish at the dinner, she explained, “The tomatoes were so sweet and flavorful that I did not have the heart to cook them.” They were simply served on a tray, sliced in half with a slightly sweet dressing.

3 lb. ripe small heirloom tomatoes

3 Tbspn extra virgin olive oil

5 Tbspn local honey

2 stems basil flowers

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

2 tsp cumin seed

Gently wash and drain the tomatoes but do not remove the stems. Slice them in half over a rimmed tray or serving dish, catching all juices in the tray. Use a sharp knife so the stems can remain.

Strip the basil flowers off the stem.

Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, honey, and sprinkle with cumin seed, basil flowers, salt and pepper. Toss and let it sit covered at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Toss again before serving.

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