Fresh Facts Week 31: A Light Crop, Thinning, and Uncle Vern’s Rutabaga Recommendation

By April 3, 2013Newsletter

Uncle Vern’s Weekly Farm-Fueled Musings, March 24–30, 2014 


Does anybody remember a longer stretch of beautiful weather? Day after day, week after week of high sixties to low eighties; not that anybody would mind the weather being messed up by some rain, but prolonged drought does have its upside so why not enjoy it?

I sat in the back yard yesterday and marveled at how beautiful everything is. Red buds in all their splendor, maple trees are aflame, and we have this gorgeous dogwood you never notice except right now when it does its elegant top to bottom bouquet. Lilacs and blooming orange trees make it smell like you’re living in a florist shop and the pregnant irises are going to steal the show by the end of the week. Drink it in and store the memory.

Crews are thinning full blast now. Plums and apricots are quite light, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing from a farmer’s perspective. There’s the old free market saying: “You never lose money on a short crop.” But in our case it has more to do with labor costs. Thinning, believe it or not, can be our biggest production expense. So when the crop’s light, we can move through the orchards quicker. Thinning is the tedious process of removing excess fruit. As an example, sometimes there are thirty plums where your branch can only support three. Twenty-seven have to be pulled off by a man on a ladder or your plums will just be too tiny. In a perfect world, there would be five so you just remove two, but you’re actually better off with just two, and end up one short without the thinning bill; and that’s your math and economics lesson for this morning, grasshopper.


Have you seen Amy Beth’s spring magazine? Wow, wow, wow! Perfect iPad-on-the-couch enjoyment; vivid pictures from your farms, simmered together with some down-home writing, and full of links to complementary pairings; exquisite! You’ll find it in the Kitchen Blog section if you missed it. She plans to do this quarterly, so let us know what you think please.

When we did that free peaches for taking the survey thing last summer, what you overwhelmingly told us was you wanted MORE RECIPES. Well baby, we’ve got almost as many original recipes every week as there are produce items for every cooking style and diet. Next time we have the rutabagas, please try the rutabaga mash, just might become your new favorite


The secret to how we do what we do here is precycling. I know, you all practice recycling, which is important, but the better deal for everybody is precycling or never creating the waste in the first place.

By reusing these plastic boxes instead of cardboard, you’re keeping 49 boxes a year out of the land fill, but wait, there’s more!

There are no boxes from the field to the assembly point either, because your farmers use plastic totes and bins as well. That’s another 49 boxes. All of us together are keeping half a million boxes a year out of the dump, half a million boxes worth of trees are still standing, and the economic value of precycling makes it possible to get you fresh organic for the price of not so fresh conventional.

There, I’ve unlocked the secret, the magic and the power of AHO that was hidden between the sugar snap peas and the rutabagas; it’s genuine out-of-the-box thinking that results in real world significance you get to enjoy every week…but only if you bring the box back. Nuff said; thank you and


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