"You give them something to eat" – Jesus of Nazareth
Thursday, June 20
Summer officially begins tomorrow just before noon, but the weather patterns this year aren’t cooperating. We’ve had a very cool wet spring and that has had a definite affect on the crops at 5 Loaves Farm. While our cherry tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are struggling along, pinning for the warmth late spring and summer usually brings, the cool season crops are thriving!
The Buffalo climate is actually ideally situated for cool season crops. We have over 100 days that are officially “cool season” (when lo temps are above 40F & hi temps below 75F), which ends up being a majority of a growing season that totals around 180 days. This spring in particular, lacking any significant hot spells, has made it the perfect spring for growing head lettuce, spinach, napa cabbage and other members of the cabbage family (i.e.; radishes, broccoli, kale, bok choy, turnips). Our spring farm stand at the Elmwood Village Farmers Market has been flush with these spring cool season crops so far this year, and our CSA shares filled with a bounty of them as well.
However, it has also been the perfect season for the slug & snail population, which has taken a particular liking to the leaves of our eggplants! On the other hand, some pests, like the normally very pesky flea beetles, have been less of a problem in the cool wet weather.
Our berries are lagging behind quite a bit as well. I can’t remember a Father’s Day when I wasn’t able to pick mulberries, and a half a week past Father’s Day our mulberries are still a week away. Being tucked right up against the Niagara River and the end of Lake Erie, while it gives us mild weather well into November, also keeps us quite cool in the spring. A visit last Saturday to Common Roots Urban Farm, on the East Side of Buffalo, allowed me to sample ripe strawberries, the same variety of which are still green at 5 Loaves Farm.
So enjoy the beautiful butterhead lettuces, the cute baby bok choy, and the round robust radishes as we make the best of what this cool season has given us, and hold out hope that as we now roll into summer, those ripe cherry tomatoes, watermelons, sweet corn, and cantaloupes will be on their way all in good time!