Some Straight talk about Tomatoes

Once August hits, excitement builds and questions pour in about when the U-pick tomatoes will be ready.  It's a favorite part of the CSA routine for many members, and preserving tomatoes is one of my all-time favorite things to do too!  We try to get as much salsa, roasted sauce, whole tomatoes, and dried tomatoes into storage as the season allows.

Last year was one of our best.  The tomatoes stayed healthy and strong, and produced over a long season.  We still have sauce in the freezer!  

This year is a different story.  Our patch started similarly to years past--strong and healthy.  Here we are trellising tall green vines just a few weeks ago:

 

The heavy rain, wet weather, and cooler temps have ushered in foliar diseases, and we have seen the plants rapidly decline just as the harvest begins.  Here's what we're seeing now.  The dead, spotted lower parts of the plants are due to the mix of diseases entering:

 

It doesn't mean we don't have tomatoes--we do!  Picking will be slimmer, and the harvest season will be shorter, but we'll have tomatoes to pick!  We will have a 1 bag limit this week to spread the love, and when quantities warrant we will increase the limit.    

All things considered, we are amazed that we aren't seeing worse effects from this year's weather--we've been very lucky to have great production from most of our crops and expect the same as we head into fall.  The cooler weather, while poor for tomatoes, has led to really awesome summer broccoli and killer germination on some tricky fall crops like spinach and beets.  Strength in diversity!!

8/15/2017 UPDATE:  The dry weather this week has promoted ripening in the patch!  We'll up the picking limit to 2 BAGS on Sauce Tomatoes, and invite members to pick on these other days this week:

Thursday, Aug 17  9-11am

Friday, Aug 18  4-6pm

Sunday, Aug 20  12-3pm

These hours are self-serve.  Please honor our posted harvest limits to share the harvest around 🙂

 

Happy Eating!

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