Non-local local food

Jetting to meet up with my wife who is on a preparatory trip in Europe to do a cross-cultural study of local food systems. I decided that with a nine hour layover in Newark it would be a perfect chance for a quick jaunt to see Manhattan again.  Hearing so much about the prevalence of local food in the Big Apple I determined that my lunch should appropriately come from a farmer’s market in the city.  As I found out online, in NYC you don’t just find out where the market is, you choose from several in each borough AND which day of the week you would like!  I chose a small one open on Tuesdays called St. Mark’s Greenmarket at East 10th St & 2nd Ave.  Google said it was 1.7 miles from Penn Station where my train deposited me from the airport, and I was feeling energetic, so subway shmubway, I’ll just walk!

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Apparently Gary has an angry about this

While we’re walking, here’s the Empire State Building.

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And in the distance the new World Trade Center; one building, instead of twins this time. 😦

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I should mention that it is moderately warm and humid and as I perspire pretty easily, things are starting to become uncomfortable.  Carrying a heavy non-roller bag isn’t helping either. 

Realizing where spontineity has landed me, I wonder about my end game, will people around me on the flight to Oslo be grossed out since I’ve now sweated out my T-shirt?  I duck into a Walgreen’s to absorb some air conditioning and buy a cold Gatorade.  Helps!  I continue on, not sure which neighborhoods I’m passing through and definitely not seeing many/any local food eateries.  Finally passing through a charming side street of brownstones, I indeed see what must be St. Marks church with its adjacent micro-park open space and read this helpful sign.

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Let’s read that more closely – it opens Tuesday June 3.  Today is Tuesday May 27.  Ahhhhhhhh!

Cucurbits vs. the Allium gang

Heavy into transplanting mode these days on the farm.  Thousands of plants need to get from the greenhouse into the field.  Today it was cukes and zukes, from the Cucerbit family, and shallots and scallions representing the Alliums.  We had to be careful with the cucumber and zucchini plants since they are sensitive and don’t like their roots disturbed.  “Oh my stars, it is ever so hot, please take care not to disturb my precious dressing around me!  I say sir, we don’t much like the look of this dirt field.  This will never do, we insist you unhand us you cad!”

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Prissy cucumber

Meanwhile, there were the lean and mean Allium toughs (they come from the wrong side of the tracks you know).  They don’t care about roots.  We were pulling them apart right and left to get them separated into bunches of threes.  “Bring it on!”, they said, “We don’t need no stinkin’ potting soil around us!  Yeah, we’ll give you bad breath, you got a problem with that?”

Yeah, Alliums are like that.

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Pssst, buddy, you got any Allium on you?

Breaking News “Mole Family Rescued From Giant Thing in the Sky”

Forking out compost for our raised beds today, I unwittingly unearthed a scoopful of blind, hairless baby moles.  I think we got all of them returned to the mother, but I’ll probably let the news story speak for itself.

Tragedy struck the Mole family today in the backyard compost pile.  It was a peaceful Sunday afternoon in this neighborhood of middle-class compost piles.  Suddenly out of nowhere, a giant metal thing was thrust into the rich decaying compost, an event which brought upheaval into the lives of Ms. Mole and her six children.  “I heard this awful sound, like the Earth itself was being wrenched apart”, said Ms. Mole.  “Suddenly everything around me was shaking and trembling violently.  I ran up tunnel #4b and when I got halfway to what should have been the grub pantry I looked up and saw nothing but daylight.  Of course being a mole I have very poor eyesight, but still.  At that point all I could think of was where were my kids?

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View of damaged compost pile and the giant metal  thing

“It was like a war zone”, she continued, “debris was everywhere.  The nursery and half-rotted stick piles in which they were sleeping was nowhere to be found.”

Ms. Mole reports that after dashing down the new tunnel to check the spare guest hole, she caught a faint scent of her children behind her.  “When I went back to where our home had been, my precious babies had been miraculously dropped down again just outside of tunnel 3.  I snatched them up as quickly as I could and put them into the guest hole for safekeeping. I was so relieved! You can always replace a tunnel, but you can never replace your loved ones.”

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Baby mole #6

Authorities are investigating the cause of the giant metal thing, which they believe may be extraterrestrial.

Chickens Need Meth

This was my first all-day Saturday workday for the season.  Common Good had their on-farm plant sale going (I bought a ton) and their annual CSA member meeting.  We fed/watered the chicks and chickens.  I weeded carrots and beets; hundred foot rows are long!.  Later when the sale was dwindling we did lots of transplanting:  collards, kale, fennel, scallions.

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A bed of collards in their final home.

Things I learned today, random order:

Chickens have different feed requirements during the year.  In cold weather they need to maintain body temperature so they need lots of carbs (grain).  In warm weather they need protein (soy meal) in bigger proportion to produce eggs.

Everett said a large farm in MN where he apprenticed had $100k revenue from cabbage alone!  They direct seeded in the field.

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Cool way to coil hose so it doesn’t kink pulling down the row.

To keep from losing feathers, chickens need an amino acid methionine often deficient in their diet and thus synthetic methionine is often added (an approved substance on the organic National List).

A tea made from a bucket of fermenting stinging nettles (wait until it has a sulfur smell) and thinned with water 10:1 is a great plant fertilizer.

Drip tape is added to the high-water-needs plants like tomatoes and peppers later in the season if needed due to low rainfall.

I will need to think about ways to care for my back and knees during repetitive motion activities like transplanting.

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Kittens still growing!