ARTfarm Saturday – We’ve Got a Licker

Almost as if by sleight-of-hand: Sweet salad mix, a few dragonfruit, garlic chives, mint, lemongrass. From our partners: Nam Doc Mai mangoes from Alex at Tropical Exotics, and vegan ice cream from I-Sha in summer flavors: passionfruit, mango, jojo and banana, papaya-ginger. Open on the South Shore Road, 10am – 12 noon.

The severe drought continues. Many of the trees we have planted on the farm are dying off. Grazed pastures are not renewing themselves. After being blessed with rain for the last few years it is hard for many farmers on St. Croix to see our long term efforts of stewardship being stressed to the breaking point by this unusually harsh weather. Even as we see visible signs of the drought, there are many more organisms suffering than meet the naked eye.

Water, water, anywhere? A tiny anole lizard licks moisture off of a dragonfruit bud in the dry pasture.
Water, water, anywhere? Look closely to see what Farmer Luca saw: A tiny anole lizard licking moisture off of an irrigated dragonfruit bud in the dry pasture.

Despite the lack of green grass, bugs and other forage, our two surviving heritage-breed turkeys managed to breed this summer. We took a set of ten eggs for the incubator when Mrs. Brownie started to lay, and she took it upon herself to lay another set after that and brooded it. Turkeys are said to have a low hatch rate. The incubator hatched four poults, but the mother turkey hatched nine out of ten! Man cannot improve on nature’s efficiencies, it seems.

A brown turkey hen looks on as nine fluffy baby poults clamber around her in a wire mesh cage.
Mrs. Brownie, who survived the dog attack this past fall, has produced nine poults this summer after 28 patient days on the nestbox. She and her babies are well protected at this bite-sized stage in a coop built to keep rats and mongoose out. Predator pressure is particularly intense during drought times as wildlife and feral animals are more desperate for food and water.
A large grey tom turkey displays his feathers walking along the edges of his pen. The farm and hills beyond are dry and brown.
Proud papa turkey, the only survivor of the stray dog attack last fall, keeps careful watch over his new family. You can see recent brushfire damage on the hills behind him.

Madame Francis and Butterball Mangoes!

ARTfarm Saturday: 10am – 12 noon. Mangoes like crazy today! Summer solstice arrives on Sunday, hopefully dragging some rain clouds with it for Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there. From the farm this morning: Small amounts of sweet mix and microgreens, a few pineapples and papayas, lots of passionfruit, fresh mint, Italian basil, garlic chives and lemongrass. Don’t forget the lemongrass – steep in hot water to make a very cooling and slightly sweet, refreshing brew to keep in the fridge!

From our partners: vegan ice cream from I-Sha in a rainbow of flavors, honey from Errol, and lots of beautiful mangoes, including Viequan Butterballs from Tita and Nam Doc Mai and Madame Francis from Dennis Nash. Farmer Luca, a mango connoisseur, claims that the VBs have even less fiber than the buttery  NDMs. Their velvety texture is a triumph of mango husbandry! Enjoy mangoes now, as the drought may possibly make this a historically short mango season.IMG_9559IMG_9561IMG_9560

Still pretty dry out here… We’ve heard some farmers remark that we are in a fifteen-year drought (meaning that it has not been this dry since after Hurricane Hugo – not that it will last fifteen years). Two years ago at this time of year we were able to grow a lot more summer crops. We know it has been an extended campaign, but please keep rain dancing! Your efforts have brought a few decent showers to the farm, but not enough to yet quench the thirst of the rock-hard topsoil. So keep on getting your groove on if you love local food!

ARTfarm Saturday! 10-12noon, Extra Flavor Plus Plants!

Happy Saturday! Open 10am – 12noon this morning! ARTfarm is still pumping out some fresh sweet juicy produce despite the severe drought conditions on the South Shore, so our food has extra intensity of flavor! Microgreens, arugula, sweet and spicy salad mixes, Swiss chard, broccoli leaves, kale, Chinese cabbage, beets, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, yard long purple beans, bell peppers, fennel, dill, cilantro, parsley, basil, garlic chives, thyme, rosemary, limes, ice cream, flowers, fresh juicy Mediterranean figs.

Grey harvest tubs side by side hold green cucumbers and sweet onions with the green tops on.
Freshly harvested and rinsed morning onions and cucumbers, ready for bunching and heading up to the farmstand! Happy Saturday!

We are also selling assorted organically started herbs and plants! Get a pot and grow some of your own ARTfarm varieties at home!

Farmer Luca works between several tables full of colorful young plants in cell trays.
Luca moves trays of ARTfarm seedlings. We have some varieties for sale right now! We don’t usually sell plant stock, but we are conserving water at the moment so you can take advantage and purchase some organically started plants for your own garden!