Sprout Farm News Letter October 11, 2018 www.sproutfarm.net
Good Morning Everyone,
We’re watching closely for our maple tree to start turning color. Fall foliage here on the Cape is rather limited when compared with the vistas in the Berkshire Mountains but when a beautiful tree, in full fall color, fills up the entire view of your living room window you just stay at home and enjoy.
The pumpkin harvest this year has been a lesson on farmers who spray their pumpkins for diseases and farmers who don’t. Our favorite farmer for pumpkins sprays his pumpkin patch and the leaves stay green and the healthy pumpkins stay green. So when he told us last month he didn’t see any pumpkins in his fields we thought that was very unusual because we know he takes such good care of his fields. So we went and found a supply of pumpkins from another farmer who has a more hands off approach to fungicides on pumpkins. We saw the results immediately and had to compost many pumpkins with soft spots. I was driving home from the cider mill in East Bridgewater last week when I saw our farmer friend in Plympton in his pumpkin patch picking pumpkins by the bin from a field loaded with pumpkins. Unhappy with our first batch of pumpkins, to the point that I was telling people to purchase pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch on Rte. 151, we called Plympton and found out what happened to the pumpkins. It turns out that in September when our farmer friend walked around his patch, he didn’t see pumpkins because they were still green and covered by the foliage had not been damaged by disease. Last week when he looked again, the foliage had died back revealing a field full of beautiful orange pumpkins. Farmers don’t judge pumpkins simply on the shape and color of the fruit but by the length and strength of the stem or handle. Dry short, soft stems are often a sign that there may be something unfortunate happening inside the pumpkin. Our new pumpkins from Plympton have beautiful long, strong handles. They may have a layer of dirt from the fields but they are free of soft spots. Back in the late 80’s there was an alternative rock band called The Smashing Pumpkins. I always think of them at this time of year. Smashing pumpkins is one thing but imploding pumpkins is quite another. We’ve learned a lesson in patience this year. Wait for the farmer who takes good care of his pumpkins. They’re grown to last and worth the wait.
We’ve taken down the sign for Mums, there’s only a dozen or so plants left. We’ve taken down the sign for corn. We love you all but Rehobeth is a long drive to keep the dwindling number of diehard corn lovers happy. Look for our unusually shaped sweet potatoes to show up at the farm next week. The lettuce, beets and broccoli love this weather. Let us know if you are interested in utility apples for making apple sauce. We may be able to get them for you from the Big Apple.
If you haven’t done a lot of baking due to hot summer temperatures, you may find your flour supply infested with Indian meal moths. They are not a health hazard but they are the most common pantry pest. They require very little food to grow to maturity so a good kitchen cleaning is necessary.
For prevention, try these tricks.
Refrigerate or freeze small amounts of highly susceptible foods such as spices.5
Avoid purchasing large quantities of bulk items that are consumed slowly. Susceptible items stored for six months can develop serious infestations.2
Re-package slowly eaten foods into tightly sealable containers.
Clean up spills in cupboards and elsewhere promptly.
If you do see more moths, do a thorough inspection to find the infested food items, including dried pet food. They will be hiding somewhere.
It turns out that if you freeze newly purchased items such as flour or corn meal for a week, it will kill the larva that came with the product. On that happy note I will sign off.
See you soon,
Jay and Phyllis Sprout