Wednesday Watermelon Wonderment 3-6pm 

Water for watermelons! One of our ponds. This one replenishes the water table.
Water for watermelons! One of our ponds. This one replenishes the water table.

Compared to this time last year, things are blessedly moist right now. The 6+ inches of rain we got at the beginning of the month of May <insert happy dance> has continued to promote explosive growth all over the farm.

So here’s what it brought you for today at ARTfarm, 3–6 p.m.: Sweet salad mix, baby arugula, bunched arugula, a few pints of cherry tomatoes, a few slicer tomatoes, dandelion greens, Italian basil, garlic chives, parsley, freshly dug ginger root, French breakfast radishes, sweet bell peppers, serrano peppers, Indian chili peppers, yellow seasoning peppers, fresh cut zinnia flowers, good quantities of yellow and red fleshed WATERMELONS, loads of sweet and yummy papaya, passionfruit, a few dragonfruit, a few pineapples, and very fresh, delicate and very mild local goat cheese from Dr. Bethany’s Fiddlewood Farm alpine goats!

Cray-cray...this watermelon is sweeeeeet! You can save the seeds for roasting like pumpkin seeds.
Cray-cray…this watermelon is sweeeeeet! You can save the seeds for roasting like pumpkin seeds.

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!

Jurassic Fruit, Fresh Sweet Salad!

Two hot pink dragonfruits ripen on a green, succulent spiny vine during the dry season.
The strange and wonderful pitaya, or dragonfruit, grows at the end of a primitive, spiny climbing vine. Early summer is typically the season for the dragonfruits to flower and ripen.

Pitaya, also known as dragonfruit, has one of the most strange and dramatic presentations of all the crops we can think of.

Today’s haul: Loads of tender sweet salad mix, Ethiopian kale, bunched arugula, mint, lemongrass, Italian basil, rosemary, zinnia flowers, a few pineapples, a few passionfruit, and red fleshed dragonfruit!

A trug full of ripe hot pink dragonfruit is photobombed by a pineapple and a magenta T-rex puppet.
Dragon photo-bombing the dragonfruit. We also have pineapples and passionfruit today for your inner fruit monster! OM NOM NOM NOM

From our partners we have raw local honey from Errol and vegan ice cream from I-Sha.

That’s 10 AM to 12 noon today, folks! ARTfarm is currently open just once a week during this drought.

Saturday Farmstand, Pineapples, Schedule Change, Dance!

More pineapples today! ARTfarm pineapples are ridiculously sweet this year, maybe because of all the dry weather. June seems to be our pineapple month!
More pineapples today! ARTfarm pineapples are ridiculously sweet this year, maybe because of all the dry weather. June seems to be our pineapple month!

Open 10 AM – 12 noon on South Shore Rd. this morning, ARTfarm has, organically grown for you: Salad mix, microgreens, small quantities of pineapples, tomatoes, and cucumbers. We have beets, scallions, mature bunched arugula, Ethiopian kale, Italian basil, mint, zinnia flowers, local honey from Errol Chichester, and admission/raffle tickets for the Caribbean Dance show next weekend! No Wednesday stand this coming week, so come out to the farm today…

Our adopted border collies, Ginger and Spice, vigilantly patrol the pineapple gardens at this time of year to discourage rats. We've seen these athletic dogs leap all the way over the row of spiny plants during the hunt. This is a viable and much more entertaining alternative to poisons for controlling crop pests on an organic farm. During dry times there is increased pressure from all pests on farm crops and resources.
Our adopted border collies, Ginger and Spice, vigilantly patrol the pineapple gardens at this time of year to discourage rats. We’ve seen these athletic dogs leap all the way over the row of spiny plants during the hunt. This is a viable and much more entertaining alternative to poisons for controlling crop pests on an organic farm. During dry times there is increased pressure from all pests on farm crops and resources.

We are changing our schedule to reflect the weather patterns. The drought is really affecting our ability to grow crops at this point. It also seems like a natural pause to tackle some big farm projects we’ve been wanting to get to. So, we have decided to curtail our Wednesday farmstands until we get some rain or production picks up again. We will be open today and next Saturday as well, and we will play it by ear after that. Mango season is coming, but it also may be a bit delayed by the dry spell we are all in.

Young dancers preparing for the annual show in the Caribbean Dance studio in Christiansted. Support the arts on St. Croix!
Young dancers preparing for the annual show in the Caribbean Dance studio in Christiansted. Support the arts on St. Croix!

The Caribbean Dance School‘s 38th annual performance is Friday, May 29 and Saturday, May 30 at Complex (the high school across from the UVI campus). We have tickets ($15 donation, includes entry into raffle for plane tickets and more) available at the farmstand or you can purchase them at the door! Show time is 7:30 PM. There are adorable tiny ballerinas in the show but also a number of accomplished student and professional dancers — the show is family-friendly and highly entertaining! The closing number in the show features rousing carnival music and traditional calypso dancers, and includes over 30% of the ARTfarm workforce! So come see your farmers in action and support all our local talent in the arts! The Caribbean Dance School and Company is an important cultural institution in the Virgin Islands, founded in 1977 to tour the world and share our island culture, and is still operated by the original artistic directors! It is also an enduring nonprofit organization engaging thousands of students over the years, promoting health, self-esteem, and self discipline. The arts are an important and vibrant part of Virgin Islands culture, help improve our communities in countless ways, and are woefully underfunded. Please come out and show the students you care.

Plus, you’ll get great inspiration for choreographing your own rain dance! 😉