I have been going to market a little more regularly and it has become a sort of game. It is a major challenge to figure out what people will buy. Strawberries go pretty well, but not as well as they did earlier in the season (although they are sweeter now than they were earlier in the season).
Tomatoes are going great now and at a good price, but they are just barely starting to ripen in our area and the folks with big greenhouses are doing far better on tomatoes than we are. In a few weeks, tomatoes will be so plentiful that it will be hard to sell them all, even though we have some beautiful heirloom varieties that put store bought varieties to shame.
Cucumbers are going well, but all the little old ladies come and squeeze your cucumbers and if there is even a hint of softness, they reject them because they need to be super crisp for pickling. We have a great crop of lemon cucumbers that people haven’t ever tried so despite the fact that they are tastier than the regular cukes, people don’t tend to buy them.
And then there are the zucchini… We have plenty of zucchini that are HUGE. I know, you are supposed to harvest zucchini when they are small, before the skin hardens and when they are more tender. We have taken loads of small zucchini to market, and they just don’t sell well. Everybody has loads of zucchini and at $2 a pound, it’s a tough market to be in.
With all of the harvesting that needs to be done here and the few hands to help, some of our zucchini got pretty big. We’re growing a variety that stays pretty tender for quite awhile, but we have some monster zucchini. We took them to market because if we don’t sell them, we don’t get any money for them. It turned out that there is demand for them. Some guys like to cut them into ‘steaks’ and grill them. Others like to cut them in half, fill them with goodies and bake them. And there was one guy who would cut them into thin slices long ways and use them as lasagna noodles. We sell the monster zucchini for $2 each. We have tried the cut in half and bake method… here’s a photo. It was as good as it looks.
Here is the thing with zucchini. If we harvest them small, it is a tough market to sell them, and more importantly, we aren’t getting nearly the potential we could out of the plant. If we are growing foods to be sustainable, we should allow the plants to produce as much as they will. And that means big zucchini. That also means that we hand pick beans several times rather than using a machine that pulls the whole plant up and separates the beans from the plants.
On a mild change of subject, I like being here because my kids get to learn about food. We told Caden that he could have a snack before dinner IF it was a vegetable. He went and picked a cucumber and sat down and ate the whole thing.Tristan, a little boy that lives on the farm, saw Caden with a cucumber and went to find his own. He got a little mixed up with his vegetable identification and the next thing I knew this 3-year-old was gnawing on a moderate sized zucchini. I love being surrounded by good food that I can pick up and eat. That is the way life should be.
I’m not much of a photographer, but I took a picture of the view from the bus stop as I waited for the boys to get home. Can you name that mountain? It shouldn’t be hard to identify based on the missing top.