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Hutten Family Farm Newsletter for Saturday Mar 23, 2013

     It is Saturday evening and we just returned from a community supper at the Lakeville community hall. My brothers and their respective families came down for the supper because it was my mothers birthday today and she wanted us to meet there. My mother turned seventy-two today and she still has more ambition to prune apple trees in wintery weather than I do. I choose to prune when the weather is nice. We still have lots of inside work to do when the weather is cold and snowing.
     Most of the seeds that I will need for the upcoming season have been bought now. I am planning several new crops this year to add to the selection for the season. We will be growing (or at least attempting) some ginger root. It is now sprouting in the greenhouse and will be transplanted into an unheated greenhouse in early May. This crop should be ready by September. I also have located seeds for Jicama; a tropical tuber grown in Mexico. This will be started indoors and probably matured in a high tunnel or unheated greenhouse as well.  I suspect that local Jicama will be challenging but that is what keeps me interested in farming.  Fresh chick peas are also going in the ground because there is a lot of interest in these types of crops with my existing customer base. Peanuts will see an expansion in the size of the planting from last year.
     We have many crops started already in the heated greenhouse. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, lettuces, kales, chard, artichokes, and cardoon. Cardoon is a vegetable similar to globe artichokes except that the blanched stalk is consumed. The seedlings look identical to the artichoke seedlings but I actually labelled them which was quite brilliant in hindsight. The red onions, shallots, and leeks are also seeded and coming up now.
     In the unheated coldframes we have pac choi, arugula, radishes, beet greens, kales, hakurei turnips, tatsoi, golden beets, and mizuna up. I would predict the first pickings of real salad greens (as opposed to micro mix) will be ready in three or four weeks. Another new addition to our green vegetable offerings will be baby kales. We will have several types of kale picked very young and packaged as salad greens. Kale has been a staple for our family growing up but it was always consumed as a mature plant that was cooked. There is a lot of interest in kale as a super healthy fresh eating food.
     The spring season will be quite a bit later than last year. In 2012 we planted a half acre outside on March 22 which was yesterday. It looks like we will be another two weeks or so until we can get the first soil ploughed this year. This might not result in any significant delay in production because the seasons have a funny way of catching up. The great satisfaction for me is in planting crops outside before anyone else does. They might not grow well. They might all freeze and die. But in my mind I still won.
     Enjoy the root vegetable and greens blend of the boxes over the next month. The root vegetables will soon come to an end and you will be living on the salad / stir fry / apple diet for a little bit until the first hakurei turnips and radishes and rhubarb appear in early May.
     Have a good week.            ted

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