2022-05-24 newsletter


Farming in southwest Florida is so different than the majority of the
country, primarily because the bulk of our busy season occurs during the
winter months when the rest of the country cannot farm due to damaging
cold conditions. It also is distinguished by a start and end of season
characterized by very warm and humid days; in contrast to up north where
planting and harvest seasons are bookended by cold weather. Each
environment has its own challenges. For us, it means battling hard at
the beginning and now end of season against disease and insect pressure
which flourish in hot, humid conditions. The heat also makes traditional
vegetable crops more stressed. Vegetables tend to flourish in the
temperatures that most humans find extremely pleasant– warm days and
cool nights, which describes SW Florida’s mild winters.

We are currently well into that final phase of the farming season
where hot days and warmer nights are the norm. Through many hard and
good lessons, we have learned how to farm under these challenging
conditions. We transition to more heat tolerant crops and varieties
adapted to warmer temps. This has come through lots of crop observation
trials with many different vegetable species. For example, we have done
multiple trials with lettuce to learn which Summercrisp lettuce
varieties do well vs. other lettuce varieties of the romaine and
butterhead types. We utilize shadier parts of the farm. For example, we
plant our last flights of herbs and kale along the forest edges, orchard
trees, and bamboo hedgerows to benefit from shadier, cooler conditions
for season extension and crop health. We have mosquito netting over all
of our tomato crops to minimize the impact of stink bugs and whiteflies
that carry deadly viruses. These are just a few measures we take that
allow us to farm effectively at the start and end of the season. We
essentially have a 9 month growing season for the major vegetable crops
here which is beautiful, but many measures must be part of the farming
system to succeed in the presence of sweltering conditions.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, Summercrisp lettuce, basil, dill,
parsley, Swiss chard, and daikon radishes continue to do well. These
remain in good supply. Sweet peppers have started to reduce their
production and are low this week. Mangos are starting to ripen so look
for those being added online!

We have 2 remaining Saturdays at the Bonita market before we open a
stand at the farm for June and first part of July.

We will continue to do home deliveries on Thursdays in SW FL and
Tuesdays for Sanibel and Captiva.

If you order online, please remember to put your requests in the
customer notes if something is out-of-stock.

Place orders at 12seasonsfarm.com

Our schedule is as follows:

** ** ** ** ** Thursday** : Please order by
8 pm tonight (Tuesday), May 17, for Thursday, May 19, farm pick up or
delivery to Bonita Springs, Naples, Ft. Myers Beach, Ft. Myers, N. Ft.
Myers, and Cape Coral.

Saturday: Bonita Springs Farmers’ Market at
Promenade Shops (8am-noon). BONITA MARKET
EXTENDED THROUGH MAY. You may also select a preorder
option each week (by Thursday 8 pm) and pick up your prepared orders at
the Saturday market, preferably after 10:30 am.

Tuesday : Sanibel/Captiva home deliveries
on Tuesdays. CAPTIVA MKT. CLOSED FOR SEASON Place order
by Sunday, 8 pm.

****We are currently harvesting:

  • Cherry Tomatoes

  • Campari Tomatoes

  • Heirloom/Specialty Tomatoes

  • Red Beefsteak Tomatoes

  • Summercrisp Lettuce

  • Arugula (limited)

  • Curly kale

  • Flat kale

  • Mixed kale

  • Broccoli

  • Cucumbers

  • Zucchini

  • Eggplant

  • Sweet Peppers (limited)

  • Round radish

  • Daikon radish

  • Sweet onions

  • Italian Basil

  • Italian Flat Parsley

  • Curly Parsley

  • Papaya (limited)

  • Blueberries (last week I think– online orders only)

  • Bananas

  • Mangos

  • Sunflowers

  • Orange blossom Honey

Cate with a beautiful crop of Swiss chard and late season tomatoes.
While the large commercial tomato farms are wrapping up their season in
south Florida, through creative measures with overhead plastic and
mosquito netting we are able to extend our season and produce wonderful
crops of tomatoes and Swiss chard for an additional 6-8 weeks.

Here is a recent restaurant delivery last Saturday. We are really
grateful for an amazing tomato season this year. The quality has been
really good and at present we are serving a lot of restaurants with
these high quality tomatoes. As a tomato enthusiast, it is such a
pleasure knowing folks like you and at the restaurants we serve are
enjoying such tasty tomatoes. This is the #1 vegetable grown in the
world– and for good reason– it is such a game-changer in terms of
elevating the quality of a meal!

We are getting ready this week to plant the next crop of papaya in
the ground. I learned years ago when managing ECHO’s farm to treat
papaya as an annual and plant every year, even though technically the
plant is a perennial. By planting new ones every year, it ensures a
steady supply of this wonderful crop. We have also vetted multiple
varieties to finally settle on the ones we grow. I am very picky about
papaya as many varieties can be less than pleasant to eat. We are really
happy with the varieties we grown at 12 Seasons Farm!

Our kid crew has greatly dwindled in size, consisting largely of our
own family. We are getting even smaller as the Small Family is scheduled
to leave tomorrow. We will really feel their absence. On a positive
note, several kids from nearby friends are coming of age to begin farm
work and are starting to participate more on the farm which is

Mango season is just starting. Look for fruit to be made available at
our online store and hopefully this Saturday at the Bonita market!

Here is Jedelo Bell and his friend Benjamin. Jedelo has been an
amazing addition this season. He is a Fulbright Scholar from Haiti with
a degree in agriculture. He is great with our children and become part
of our year round team here at 12 Seasons. We are very grateful to him
for all his excellent work and his kind presence on the farm.

This photo was sent last week to us from Nikki Anderson, a fairly new
customer to 12 Seasons. She learned about us through a friend and after
receiving her 2nd delivery last week, she sent this photo along with the
following comments:

“I’m just reveling in the beauty of all this amazing produce before I
put it away! Thanks again… all the hard work shows… this is simply the
best produce! Much appreciated!”

We are grateful when customers are satisfied with what they receive.
We work hard to steward the soil and raise crops that are harvested at
an optimal stage and time of day, handled to preserve their freshness
and quality, are super delicious, and grown with safe and organic
practices for your health and the sake of the land.

Have a great week!

Danny, Vicki, the kids, and the 12 Seasons Team






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