Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Yeah, spinach here again.


Made it to the big city last Saturday, but it wasn't all it's cracked up to be. Like I put on my best darkest green coat and I knew I was lookin' mighty crisp. I don't want to brag or nothin' but folks do say I'm, um, tender, if ya know what I mean. But those city folks weren't gettin' it. They seemed so distracted - like nobody can focus on a little honest-to-goodness bag of greens. They were runnin' around with arm fulls of flowers - yeah, try eating a bloomin' daisy for lunch! Over at our stall it was plants plants plants. Nobody hardly looked at us. Course we was piled up in a box and stuck over in the corner while all the little plants with their cutesy-wutesy signs were spread out all over three stalls with five workers sayin' May I help you? all day. And I swear I saw those lettuce plants stuck out their tongues at me as they went by in somebody's flat - spoiled brats.

Personally, I don't think those farmers know much about marketing. Yeah, we had a sign, but it was a last minute hack job as far as I'm concerned and I checked out the web site -- there was nuthin' about us comin' to town!

So me and a bunch of my buddies hopped back on the truck and beat it back to the farm. I think I'll stick around for a while. That frog lady is so busy, she can use some help with this here frog blog log, or whatever she calls it. Between you and me, I think it's more of a frog blog backlog!

So everybody's all worried about the frost last night. They pulled out all the plastic and cover stuff and just about wrapped up the farm. Then they set up sprinklers on their precious strawberries to go all night. Over at the spinach? Yeah, that's right -- nothin' to do over there! The colder it gets, the crisper and, um, more tender we get!

So I think that calls for a big spinach photo! Three cheers for spinach -- the greenest, crispest, hardiest, and, um, tenderest, veggie around!(Get it, frog lady, that's how you do marketing!)


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tom and Tomatoes

One year ago today, Tom, my writing pal and ready reader, sent me this. Why it didn't make the Frog Log cut, I do not know. One year later, it is still timely...and timeless. Thanks, Tom!

Frog Log 22 May 2007

Valencia

I leave Frog Holler Farm after a few hours of marking plants in preparation for sale at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market. Each tomato plant has its own wooden stick, hand written with its name, an heirloom, a cherry, or a big firm tasty variety: Roma, Striped German, rose, Brandywine, Muscovic, celebrity, volcove, Valencia. "So many," I think, "Amish to zebra." I remain amazed mentally viewing countless trays, each one hand planted from tiny seedlings, each plant watered, and coaxed to growth without chemicals, each seedling warmed chilly nights in the greenhouse by the fire of oak dead-fall, hauled from the woods in a burdened trailer behind a burdened tractor, burned fragrantly and faithfully in an ancient slab-wood stove.

I drive to see Dom, my son's Godfather. Yesterday Dom told me the old man across the street needed yellow tomatoes, low acid, he said. Dom takes care of the old man, sprays his orchard and tills his small garden.

Earlier today I ask Ken at Frog Holler if we have such a thing: low acid yellow tomatoes, for the old man I tell him. Ken pauses, mentally juggling a multitude of tasks: soil prep, irrigation, plant prep, market prep. He's already dirty at 9:00 a.m., hat ajar and sweat stained. I watch his frantic pace halt; time stops as he tends my query, his face fully attuned only to me, as if my request is the axis upon which the world turns. "Valencia," he says. "Of course," I think, I've written it a hundred times on a hundred wooden sticks: "val, val, val". Ken says to take some Stripped German, too. I tell him again they are for the neighbor across the way, the old man, but he's already moved to the next task. Later I hand three perfect plants to Dom. They will be tended and climb wooden sticks and spread reaching green fingers, finely making lush yellow and orange fruit, lower in acid.

At our best, we all till the same soil and work in the same garden. I can’t help thinking there's something right about it.



Thursday, May 15, 2008

check it out


Yah, spinach here. That frog lady is away so I thought I would take my chance. She's probably off mooning over her precious lettuce -- ooh, look at the seeds! Ooh, look at the leaves! Ooh, see how they grow!

Gimme a break!I guess I'd grow too if someone warmed my tush on a lah-de-dah germinating mat! Or transplanted me into "hand-mixed, composted growing medium"! Or personally carried me to the garden and literally tucked me in. And then covered me so I didn't catch a nasty-wasty cold. Sheez -- what a bunch of wimps!

You don't see all that fussin' over at the spinach patch. Nah, they just scratch out a row, throw some seeds in, and run back inside cuz it's cold. Seems like it's usually just before the last snow. That's right I said, snow. But we don't mind -- spinach can take it.

We been up for a long time. No cheerin', no parades. Just spinach doin' it's spring thing. A little rain, a little hail, a little snow -- bring it on! And now I hear the lettuce row is "filling out". Aw, isn't that sweet, those little hothouse pansies are filling out. You wanna see a row filled out? Look at that picture -- now that's how you fill out a row! And no one helped us do that neither. They coulda maybe weeded us a little sooner. But I understand, they were too busy fussin' with their precious lettuce.

So now they got a problem. We're bustin' outta this row. While they were sprinklin' fairy dust or whatever on their little lettuce pets, we just kept growin'. And now we're runnin' outta room and it's gettin' a little close for comfort. I mean I like my pals and everything, but I don't wanna sit on their laps all day!

Yeah, we're grown up now and need a change. Myself, I think I'll be headin' for the big city. I can't get a ticket this week -- I hear the truck is too full of plants, yeah, mostly- guess what - lettuce. They're probably knittin' scarves for each one, or somethin'.

But I'll be on my way next week. I can feel it in my leaves that it's time. So if you see me at the market, check it out! I'll be flexin' my iron and beta carotene and lookin' mighty fine!

yours truly,
spinach


Monday, May 12, 2008

Getting close




We've been following the path of our faithful lettuce plant as it moves from the seed (Froglog 3/10 - Tower of Power) and through the soil (Froglog 3/5 - Humble Beginnings).

Seed leaves announce its arrival; true leaves establish its place in this season's spring crop (Froglog 4/20 - True Leaves).

A chorus of sister seedlings now fill the greenhouse benches. Older siblings are already out in the garden and the row is filling out. It won't be long!




Holler Fest 2010
August 20-22