Satur-dry April Farmstand

The farm has turned a dramatic and crispy golden color. The soil has deep cracks and fissures, and anything not on regular irrigation is drying out immediately. We still have not received a good soaking on the South Shore. The mango trees are flowering, but will need water to set fruit. So keep doing the rain dance for some April showers still to come at the ARTfarm!The lettuce is really suffering from the dry soil. The heads are small and the fire ants are moving in. But lucky you, Luca saved up the harvest until Friday, so there will be Saturday salad mix! Saturday farmstand: sweet salad mix, arugula salad mix, some cucumbers, some slicer and heirloom tomatoes, lots and lots of cherry tomatoes, Italian basil, garlic chives, parsley, dill, cilantro, nice seasoning peppers and Serrano peppers, radishes, a few bunches of carrots, a few watermelons, hopefully a few figs, lots of ginger and turmeric, and zinnia flowers.

We’ll be open a few more Saturdays until we run out of either food or customers!

Wednesday Season Semifinal 3-4:30pm

Pick a PEPPA!! This will be our last Wednesday farmstand for the season. We will continue to be open Saturday mornings, 10 AM – 12 noon.

Todd from Colorado is headed back to the states this week after spending four months working here, enjoying Ha’Penny beach, and learning about Caribbean farming and culture. We have enjoyed his positive spirit. He’s been a particularly mighty mulcher, composter, papaya planter, bed weeder, and ginger and turmeric harvester. He’s been bitten by centipedes and stung by jacks and bees, but maintained his determination to farm in the subtropics. Good luck on your journey, Todd!

Wednesday’s harvest list: We will have lots of cherry tomatoes, good amounts of slicing tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes, some cucumbers assorted types, seasoning peppers, Serrano peppers, Italian basil, garlic chives, dill, scallions, parsley, lots and lots of ginger and turmeric, radishes, a few watermelons, zinnias, one pineapple and a few bags of figs.

Thanks everyone for your continued support! We will be taking a much needed break soon to work on rebuilding and battening down for the 2018 storm season!

Lettuce Slow Down, Saturday 10am – 12noon

Luca’s Pumpkin Hot Sauce

ARTfarm is awash in hot sauce ingredients, including pumpkin, beautiful hot peppers and mild but smoky seasoning peppers right now. The dry weather makes all our peppers and pumpkins and tomatoes even more rich in flavor. We will have plenty of peppers at the farmstand if you want to experiment with a homemade hot sauce! A bottle of this potion makes a thoughtful gift for the spicy people in your life! This recipe makes a flavorful and hot but sweet sauce that is piquant but not overwhelmed by excessive Scovilles. We poured this thick orange sauce liberally over salmon balls and salad the other night like a dressing and it was heavenly, attractive and anti-inflammatory, too! This batch made about 2+ quart jars (8 cups) of pumpkin-orange hot sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups Thai pumpkin cubed (unpeeled)

2 cups hot and not-hot peppers combined to taste, washed and de-stemmed, coarsely chopped but with skin & seeds included. We used 25 hot Serranos, 15 various not-hot seasoning peppers, 10 smoky poblano peppers.

4 small onions, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped

About a thumb each of fresh turmeric and ginger, grated

Three cloves fresh garlic, crushed peeled and chopped

Tablespoon salt

3/4 cup (or more to taste) Apple cider vinegar

1 cup water

3 Tablespoons local raw honey

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

Directions:

1. Heat up a heavy-bottomed large skillet. Sauté the cumin seed, chopped garlic, and grated turmeric and ginger in hot coconut oil until fragrant/garlic begins to brown.

2. Add all of the chopped vegetables and sauté for an additional five minutes, stirring often.

3. Pour in the water and vinegar. Add honey and salt. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Allow mixture to cool, then purée in a blender until smooth. Bottle and refrigerate, or follow your favorite canning instructions and preserve it!

Extreme dry weather plus the prediction of another active storm season for fall 2018, continues to push us into a much needed early ‘summer’ break. Many thanks to the generous recent donors to our fundraising efforts for hurricane recovery! You can take a look at our fundraising campaign progress at GoFundMe.com/artfarmllc (but we encourage everyone to donate offline by sending or dropping off a check, as your donation will go further by avoiding processing fees!) We are working on the monoprint artwork for our donors of $250 or more and will be sending those out before the school year is over!

Saturday farmstand harvest list: sweet salad mix, baby arugula, good amounts of tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes, lots of cherry tomatoes, assorted cucumbers, lots of beautiful seasoning peppers, lots of serrano peppers, Italian basil, parsley, garlic chives, dill, lots of ginger and turmeric, radishes, carrots, lots of scallions, some watermelon, turkey eggs and chicken eggs, and zinnia flowers. We also have young drought resistant native trees for sale for landscaping, mostly $15-50, and potted rosemary plants for sale.

This coming Wednesday will be our last Wednesday farmstand for a while. We will continue Saturdays for another few weeks and then we will hold pop-up farmstands occasionally when we have more than we can eat. We will continue to have bulk amounts of ginger available by pre-order, and will be harvesting some heritage turkeys soon by pre-order. Pineapples are getting bigger on the plants, and papayas are going to come ripe in another month. While the watermelon vines are suffering now, we do anticipate another harvest in a month or so after we close “for the season.” We are also hoping for a harvest from our recovering dragonfruit vines later in the summer. So, stay tuned for fruity pop-ups! And of course we still have a few more farmstands left this season.

Still life with still life and hot sauce. Digital photograph, (C) ARTfarm 2018 😉

Winding Down Wednesday 3–4:30pm

Wow, a big rain and thunder shower just went through the island (Tuesday afternoon), but not a drop here at ARTfarm. If anyone is heading west and can bring some of those nice big dark clouds back this way, we’d appreciate it!

With the hot dry weather we are starting to see the rapid decline of good growth in plants on the farm. The soil is drying up very quickly, vines such as cucumber and watermelon are experiencing sunburn, and the lettuce plants have very stunted growth. If we had nothing else on the agenda for the season we would extend the season with an increase in our plant lifesupport efforts. Unfortunately we still have to do the vast majority of our post-hurricane structure and fencing repair, fundraising and storm preparation for the coming season. So we are planning to shut down the farmstand for the season in the next few weeks to be able to focus on our construction projects. We may be able to put together a few volunteer days and we will keep everyone posted if that is a possibility.

Wednesday afternoon at the farmstand we will have sweet salad mix, French breakfast radishes, cucumbers, plenty of cherry tomatoes, slicing and heirloom tomatoes, lots of seasoning peppers, Serrano peppers, Italian basil, garlic chives, dill, parsley, cilantro, scallions, lots of ginger and turmeric, some of that amazing watermelon, gargantuan turkey and chicken eggs, and zinnia flowers!

Attitude of Gratitude Saturday 10am – 12 noon

It feels like we are all collectively headed into a phase of real post hurricane fatigue. We’ve been running this marathon since September and like many of you it just has not stopped for us. Many of us on St. Croix and our sister islands are still struggling to make needed repairs to businesses and homes, all while trying to serve our customers and keep our families together and happy. It’s classic overextension.

We invite you to join us in the practice of inventorying and cataloging all the many great and small things we have to be grateful for. Even taking two or three minutes to breathe deeply and start to think about it will lower stress and improve your mood and energy levels! (Well, that and maybe a really big fresh salad with some sweet cucumber slices and nice cherry tomatoes on it…) It’s a great thing to do with those extra couple of minutes waiting for the ARTfarm to open on Saturday morning… 🙂

For Saturday 10am – 12 noon we will have sooo many good things: sweet salad mix, baby arugula, baby spicy, teen arugula, a few bunches of cooking greens, good amount of cucumbers, some watermelon, a few Kiku cutie melons, lots of cherry tomatoes, some tomatoes and heirlooms, lots of ginger and turmeric, a few sweet bell peppers, lots of various seasoning peppers, lots of Serano peppers, a few hot chili peppers, cilantro, parsley, Italian basil, garlic chives, scallions, a few onions, two types of radishes, a few bunches of rat tail radish pods, and cheerful, inspiring zinnia flowers.

Love, ARTfarm

Happy Spring! Wednesday 3–4:30pm

It’s officially spring on St. Croix, although conditions are crunchy dry and blisteringly hot in the midday hours. Keep up those rain dances, we got a few brief relief showers last night! For the stand this afternoon, lots of fresh salad greens, and Farmer Luca has a new Japanese heirloom mini-melon called the Kiku Chrysanthemum for you to try. Similar in size to the Sakata, perfect single serving sized, with sweet white flesh.

We had a recent visit from the guys at Leatherback Brewing. They’re planning a ginger-infused craft beer among other local flavors and will be launching their tasting room in May if all goes according to plan. We’re thrilled at their interest in working with local farmers.

Harvest forecast for Wednesday: Lots of sweet salad mix, baby arugula, baby spicy, cucumbers, decent amounts of tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes, lots of cherry tomatoes, French breakfast radishes, purple radishes, Italian basil, garlic chives, seasoning peppers, Serrano peppers, dill, cilantro, parsley, scallions, lots of ginger and turmeric, zinnia flowers, a couple half dozens of turkey eggs and Japanese melons!

We have updated our GoFundMe ARTfarm post-hurricane recovery goals to reflect the federal disaster funding available to us (turns out, incredibly, none at all for any damaged or destroyed farm structures. !!) If you are in a position to help us fund the reconstruction and repair of our hurricane-demolished farm buildings this summer, please consider a donation and share with others interested in preserving small sustainable family farms. Offline donations (directly by check) are the most efficient as GoFundMe takes about 10%.

Thank you for your support.

Lots O’Green Lucky Lettuce

Well, it may be a bit slower on Saturday, with all of the Irish and Irish-for-the-day parade goers lining up early in Christiansted to get a good view of all of the greenery, but we will have our own version of holiday greenery at ARTfarm at the usual time and place. Hope to see you there.

For Saturday morning, 10am – 12 noon: Sweet salad mix, baby arugula, baby spicy salad mix, teen arugula, teen spicy salad mix, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, some tomatoes and heirlooms, a few beautiful baby bok choy bunches, zucchini-like “serpent of Sicily”, garlic chives, cilantro, dill, parsley, scallions, Italian basil, new young radishes, rat tail radishes, loads of ginger and turmeric, lots of beautiful seasoning peppers, Serrano peppers, assorted butternut squashes and zinnia flowers.

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