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173 130th Street • Deer Park, WI 54007
507.923.6251 • sweettopfarm@gmail.com  
www.sweettopfarm.com
CSA Newsletter: Week Ten
17 August 2016
scroll down to read what is in your CSA box, storage tips, recipes, and see photos of the farm this week

Unfortunate Tomato Update

Last Wednesday evening, I headed out to the tomatoes to scout for any that might be changing color. As you read in previous newsletters, we had some issues with the plants earlier in the season but they had since returned to looking great. In fact, the foliage was looking better than any other year at this time, and the tomatoes were really starting to size up. Although the tomatoes would be ripening later than expected, we had high hopes of giving you some nice fruit this season.

What I found when I was scouting stopped me in my tracks. It was obviously a disease affecting leaves, stems, and fruit in one area spreading about 10 feet in all directions. I snapped a bunch of pictures and emailed them to UW Extension's plant pathologist Amanda Gevens. Even though it was 9pm, she emailed back right away to confirm the worst. She was 99 percent sure that the photos showed late blight. We over-nighted tomato and potato plant samples, and both tested positive for late blight in their lab. Because this disease spreads rapidly (just in 12 hours, the 10 feet had spread to 40 with patches of late blight on nearly every tomato plant) and once you have it, you can't effectively eradicate it, we mowed the foliage on the potatoes as well as 800 tomato plants. 

Late blight is something the state follows closely and takes very seriously, especially because Wisconsin is one of the nation's top potato producing states. Our case was the first confirmed in Wisconsin this year (not something one wants to be first at), but since we reported it, UW is able to alert counties to start scouting more thoroughly. We were also able to let other small farmers in the area know through a listserv we are on, especially since we are very close to many vegetable growers like ourselves. Out of this posting, our neighbors at Blackbrook Farm (just a couple miles away) offered us their extra certified organic tomatoes this week. While this isn't often an option when there is a crop loss as great as an entire tomato crop, we feel very fortunate that they have a surplus to share for this week's box.

So what is late blight? Here is the information that Amanda sent us:

Late blight is a potentially destructive disease of tomatoes and potatoes caused by the fungal-like organism, Phytophthora infestans. This pathogen is referred to as a ‘water mold’ since it thrives under wet conditions. Symptoms of late blight include leaf lesions beginning as pale green or olive green areas that quickly enlarge to become brown-black, water-soaked, and oily in appearance. Lesions on leaves can also produce pathogen sporulation which looks like white-gray fuzzy growth. When airborne, these spores can travel up to 40 miles. Stems can also exhibit dark brown to black lesions with sporulation. Fruit symptoms begin small, but quickly develop into golden to chocolate brown firm lesions or spots; the pathogen can also sporulate on tomato fruit giving the appearance of white, fuzzy growth. Potato tuber symptoms include brown to black slightly sunken lesions on surfaces. When cut open, infected tubers display firm, brown, corky areas of tissue. The time from first infection to lesion development and sporulation can be as fast as 7 days, depending upon the weather. See Sweet Top Farm photos below for visuals of the tomatoes.

And the weather has been ideal for late blight these last couple of weeks: hot weather with cold fronts bringing rain and then several days of cool weather and foggy, dewy mornings. While late blight was quite obvious on the tomatoes, we had to look harder on the potatoes. The best method for control was to mow the tops and let them die back. So far, we have not seen any blight on the tubers (as described above). However, we can't cut open every potato, so if you come across something that is suspect and fits the description above, please let us know.

We take no joy in destroying a crop that we put so much labor into, and we are saddened by the void that this leaves in the next few CSA boxes. In times like this that we are grateful for CSA member support. If we relied solely on our sales at the farmers market or had wholesale accounts, losing all the tomatoes would be financially devastating for us. Blackbrook Farm thinks they will have tomatoes for next week as well so that we have the opportunity to give tomatoes to everyone this season. We're already discussing management strategies for next season, although depending on weather patterns, Late Blight can be difficult to control. 

Thank you for your continued support and understanding. Please feel free to contact us with questions.


Details about individual vegetables are below. Enjoy this week’s harvest.

Your Farmers,
Megan, Adam, and Edith

The photos on the left are a week prior to discovering late blight and show healthy foliage and nice tomatoes. The top right is a photo of the characteristic "halo" around a late blight lesion. Below right are infected fruits and completely infested foliage.
What's in your box and
where does it go?

 
  Fridge? Bag?
beets-loose yes plastic
Blackbrook Farm Tomatoes no countertop
carrots yes plastic
cucumbers yes plastic
garlic no countertop
jalapeno yes plastic
peppers yes plastic
potatoes no paper
red onion no countertop or fridge
summer squash yes plastic
watermelon yes once cut, in container
zucchini yes plastic
Recipes
 
Greek Pasta Salad

½ lb. fusilli pasta (or pasta of your choice)
1 T. olive oil
½ lb. tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
½ c. diced, pitted kalamata olives
¼ onion, sliced razor thin
¼ c. packed minced fresh parsley
1 c. diced feta cheese (optional)

Herb Dressing:
¼ c. red wine vinegar
¾ c. olive oil
½ c. minced oregano
1 t. finely minced garlic
Salt and pepper

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and drizzle with 1 T. olive oil. Shake the container to distribute oil and let steam escape. Set aside to cool. When the pasta is cool, place it in a serving bowl and add the tomatoes, cucumber, olives, onion and parsley. Combine dressing ingredients. Season generously with salt and pepper. Shake well until the ingredients are emulsified and add 1/3 to ½ c. of the dressing to the salad just before serving. Reserve leftover dressing for another salad. Gently fold in the feta if using.
Adapted from "Raising the Salad Bar"


Whole Wheat Carrot Cinnamon Waffles

This recipe is very adaptable.  You could also use grated zucchini, summer squash, or grated raw beets in this recipe.  They would make some beautiful red waffles! Makes about 6 waffles, depending on your waffle maker. Easy to double the recipe and freeze half for later!

 1 c. white flour
1/2 c. wheat flour
3 T. sugar
1 ½ t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
¼ t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
¼ t. cloves
2 eggs
1 ¼ c. milk or non-dairy alternative
4 T. (1/2 stick), melted or use canola oil
1 ½ c. grated carrots

Preheat a waffle iron to medium high heat.  Spray with nonstick spray. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and butter. Add the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined.  Stir in carrots.

Adapted from Boston Magazine and our farm friends at Prairie Drifter Farm
 
 
Click these recipes for additional ideas:
Details about today's
CSA box
 
Beets
We harvested the remaining gold beets from the summer planting and added a few reds to give everyone a pound and half. The beets are loose in the bottom of your box

 
Blackbrook Farm Tomatoes
Although we are unable to harvest our own, our neighbors who grow certified organic vegetables. They had more than they needed this week and were willing to share with our farm members.

Carrots
Another beautiful and crunchy bunch.

Cucumbers
The cukes are still coming on strong! Another three or four for everyone this week. Cucumber sandwiches, cucumber salad, cucumber water...Have a recipe you like? Please share!

Garlic
This variety is called Porcelain and is slightly spicy raw but mellows nicely with cooked.


Jalapeno-spicy
The small, pointy green pepper in your box.


Peppers
Therese are all sweet peppers--bell and/or pointed Italian. The red or red/green pointed pepper--Carmen--is one our favorites. It's a reliable producer and is always one of the sweetest! If you have a gold pointed pepper--Escamillo--it is the cousin of Carmen and equally as delicious. 


Potatoes
A variety called Red-Gold for its red skin and gold flesh. Slightly sweet and great roasted, mashed, cut into fries, etc.


Red Onion
We harvested onions this week, but the skins have not completely dried. This is more of a fresh onion but can be stored on the counter.

Summer Squash and Zucchini
Running out of uses for squash and zucchini? Shred and add to a quiche or frittata, substitute 1 cup of zucchini for basil when making pesto, thinly slice and put on top of pizza instead of (or with) pepperoni, or try this week's recipe.


Watermelon
Either red flesh or yellow flesh--both have been great. The short melon season has come to an end. Enjoy the last one!
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173 130th Street
Deer Park, WI 54007






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