Of Farms and Fables combines the efforts of professional and non-professional artists by engaging artists in farm work and farm workers in storytelling and acting. The result will be an original performance in October of 2011 which will engage performers and audience in dialogue about local agriculture, farming, and the future of small family farms in Maine.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

sun gold, sun hot, sun killer (Keith)

Back on Jordan's, it is amazing how much things have grown.  This summer has been a farmer's dream (so long as they can keep irrigating).  Long days of bright, hot sun have all the crops ready to harvest several weeks before normal.  Today, I was in the field picking tomaotes.

Here, as on Broadturn, there is a wide variety of veggie products.  For instance, today I harvested 7 different types of tomato, 4 cherry varieties and 3 slicers.  First up on the cherry list were the bright yellow sun gold tomatoes.  These sweet little beauties turn a lovely golden yellow-orange when fully ripe.  And they ripen FAST!  Gabe and Peter swear that they picked all the ripe ones yesterday, yet today we have no trouble filling three more buckets. 

I remember Stacey from Broadturn talking about the high points of the growing season for her.  It went something like this, "Peas, strawberries, sun gold cherries. . . candy, candy, candy".  I found a few choice sun golds to test Stacey's theory, and I have to agree.  They sure are sweet as candy.  My guilty confession is that to confirm this I had several more, you know, just to make sure the first few weren't abnormalities.  Everything you read on the internet is true, so I had to make sure.

After the cherries, we moved onto the slicing tomatoes.  By then, the morning sun was beating down on us severely.  I had great respect for these plants.  The dirt in the rows was as dry as desert sand and as dusty as the Great Plains in an earlier era.  I knew that if it wasn't for the drip hoses running between the roots of these fruit bearing plants, they wouldn't last more than two or three days without water.  I felt myself starting to wilt.

We discovered something disturbing as we starting to pick the slicing tomatoes.  No, I don't mean tomato horn worms, though I admit, those are disturbing.  What was disturbing was that the bottoms of 90% of the ripe tomatoes were rotten at the bottom.  It was sorta sad to see what looked like a beautiful, ripe tomato, only to have your fingers sink into a mushy, rotten bottom upon picking.  Penny said it's because when those tomatoes set on the vines, it was an incredibly hot day.  It was more than sorta sad to have to throw so many tomatoes to the ground.  The paths in between the tomato rows were littered with bright red and yellow half rotted fruit. 

So, what I took from my day back on Jordan's was that even in the best circumstances, even when you do your best to control the environment as Jordan's does, when you fertilize, irrigate, remove pests, you still can't control the weather.  I suppose with irrigation you can make it rain, but the temperature is the temperature and the sun is the sun.  If it's bright and hot, there's nothing you can do about it except put on your shades and bear it.

On the bright side, there's a pretty good chance that there will be snow in the mountains in less than 90 days from now. . .