A Note about Fitler Square Farmers Market

December 21, 2019 will be our last Saturday at Fitler Square Farmers Market.
Nearly 20 years ago, I renewed a family legacy of going to off-site farmers markets. My great-great-grandparents, great-grandparents, and grandparents all traveled to the King Street Farmers Market in Wilmington.They stopped going in the 1940s when my grandfather established a market at the farm, as more people moved out of the city and closer to the farm. We tried many different markets in various locations, and settled on two in Philadelphia. Our favorite market, by far, has been Fitler Square. Wonderful people who appreciate our unique products and were curious to try something new. Kiwi berries, gooseberries, currants, gold raspberries, mizuna, patty pan squash, purple asparagus, plus all the usual.
17 seasons going to Philadelphia.And the last 14 have been year round, every Saturday, rain or snow or shine. Your support has been wonderful.
Now it is time for another change. We love Fitler so much that …

Bringing in the Harvest in October

October, when the nights are delightfully chilly and the days are noticeably shorter! Dusky daylight at 7 am and dusky light at 6:30 pm, the high for the day stays there for brief minutes instead of hours. The weather has changed.
We will say farewell to sweet corn, though it lasted well into October this year—October 10! But apples and pumpkins are here in abundance, and we are especially happy that we had dry weather in August and September to make for happy pumpkins. And indeed, the pumpkins look great and are lasting well. The squirrels have been deterred from chewing on the pumpkins by hot pepper spray—it does not hurt the pumpkins but the squirrels don’t like the heat!
Freshly picked apples—crisp, crunchy, and so full of flavor! Each variety is special with its own unique blend of flavors. By the end of October, there are choices galore—and if you see a variety you haven’t yet tasted, the be brave! You will not be disappointed, and you may discover a new favorite. If you haven’…

Bringing in the Harvest in September

September has been a summer extension this year. A few slightly cooler days, but mostly it felt like summer. Pushing 90 degrees, sunny, no rain, hot and a bit humid. With lots of warm, sunny days, we kept picking tomatoes, beans, sweet corn, and more. But the fall harvest waits for no one, and the sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and apples are filling the storage areas.

Some people still think Labor Day is the end of the harvest season, but September is just the beginning for lots of crops. All the apples are just starting: Honey Crisp, Fuji, McIntosh, Red and Golden Delicious, Jonathon, Stayman Winesap, and October will bring even more. Vegetable crops like brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower thrive on the cooler nights that finally came our way at the end of the month.
We also pushed to get seeds started for late fall and winter harvests. The hydroponic house is filled with lettuces, baby bok choy, arugula, basil and other herbs, for our CSAs and farm market. And the high…

Bringing in the harvest in August

One of the greatest challenges of being a small farm owner and manager is …. Managing family life as well as farm life. And August really brought that challenge home.
August is one of the super busy months—harvesting all the summer crops like peaches, tomatoes, squash, beans, and starting on the fall crops like spaghetti squash, apples, and onions. Plus we are preparing tunnels and the high tunnel for the next season, starting thousands of seeds for fall and winter growing, transplanting, and planting the last outside crops, many of which will overwinter.
The rain stopped and we have had some lovely days and some super hot days. Fortunately, all the summer crops love the heat! Tomatoes, lima beans, okra, peppers, corn, melons, peaches—the heat intensifies the flavor and gives us the wow that we all love.The first summer apples have been full of flavor as well, so the heat has not bothered them!
We were happy to see a second cropping of black raspberries, red raspberries, and blackb…

Bringing in the harvest in July

July is the ultimate summer month! Blueberries, peaches, corn, tomatoes… and the hot weather to go with it! The first week of July left us hoping that that was our extra hot week of the summer—in the 90s, heat index over 100, humidity was intense. And we were wrong. The third week of July pushed temperatures higher, humidity higher, and hit a heat index of 105-110 for the weekend. It was like swimming through the air! But all that heat makes everything ripen more quickly and imparts great flavor to many of the crops. The peaches are extra sweet this year and the blueberries have phenomenal flavor. And when the weather eased and the humidity came down a bit, everyone—including the plants—felt better. And it truly feels like summer once watermelon and cantaloupes are here! Zucchini, yellow squash and patty pan squash are all doing great. We are pruning the squash plants this year to see if it extends the plant productivity for a longer season. (That is what is supposed to happen.) We enjo…

Bringing in the harvest in June

June started out sunny and 80 degrees and we actually had a week without rain, and then… rain 5 out of 7 days. We started the month picking strawberries and peas, and finished the month with peaches and corn! Truly a complete transition from spring to summer. Our bonus crop for June has been our tomatoes. We started harvesting the end of May, and all through June we have picked beautiful and flavorful slicing tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. What a treat for our CSA and farm market customers. Great flavor! Once summer starts, everything seems to happen at once—cucumbers, zucchini, pie cherries, sweet cherries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, corn, eggplant, gooseberries, currant, green beans—and suddenly we have lots of fruits and vegetables from which to select! After six months of just one fruit (apples all winter and then strawberries in May), it is pure pleasure to have apricots, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, peaches, currants, and plums all at the same time. Our …

Bringing in the harvest in May

May started out imitating the first half of April—cold and wet, and cold and wet. We snagged a warm day, then chilly and windy nights threatened early plantings. Finally, starting the second half of the month—it warmed up! I always feel like a merry-go-round in May—start seeds, transplant, plant, repeat! Cucumber plants started in April started bearing cucumbers on May 15. Tomato plants started in the high tunnel started ripening May 16. Lettuce, basil, arugula, and baby bok choy continue their cycles in the hydroponics house. Zucchini and patty pan squashes are now planted and should start harvest in just a few weeks. The chard in the high tunnel is doing great—we are getting excellent cuts for our CSA shares. The first fruit of the year started as we had hoped, just in time for Mother’s Day. And then it poured rain for the next two days. My obsession with the weather reached new highs, for rain and strawberries are not a great combination. Fortunately, the rain system seems to be wor…