Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dealing with late blight, a farmer's notes

“During the last couple of weeks dealing with the reality of late blight has been incredibly frustrating. Even though we knew of its imminent threat, we still have been stunned to see it on our plants. We realize that for all of you, especially for those who haven’t been following this issue in the news, this information regarding the tomatoes and potatoes is shocking. The saddest aspect for us is that, after putting in a tremendous amount of work preparing the soil, seeding in the greenhouse, transplanting to larger containers, moving the plants in and out of the greenhouse when frost was forecasted, planting them individually in the field in holes dug with a post hole digger, covering them with row covers when the frosts came around in late May/early June, pounding stakes in every 2nd plant, trellising them up to 4 times with twine so that they are held up, and spreading straw at their base to provide a mulch, we will be lucky to distribute even a handful of tomatoes to farm members. And, just last week the plants looked so large and healthy.

“Tomatoes and potatoes are important crops for our members, for our apprentices, and for our family. This is a big deal. It is the most extensive crop loss that we have ever faced in my past 14 years of farming. Please know that we are trying our hardest to both deal with these challenges and still keep the wheels turning on the rest of the land so that we can keep providing a wide diversity of vegetables. Thank you again for your continued support of the farm and our crew as we work to provide your food.” Don Zasada, Caretaker Farm

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