Greetings from 12 Seasons Farm,
The tomatoes inside the newly built greenhouses are beginning to
bear. We harvested the first fruits on Friday. First fruits tend to be
big and beautiful. We also have a new crop of campari tomatoes coming on
from one of our seasonal tunnels and more sweet peppers. It is always a
pleasure and a relief when the next crop “flight” begins to ripen. There
is something very special about those first fruits, followed by a surge
in production that is fun and nourishing to the eyes and soul to see
plants laden with fruit!
We should also have certified organic blueberries again. We purchase
them from an organic farm in central Florida. I or one of our workers
travels usually 1X/ week to pick them up. The blueberries are usually of
great quality. I currently have them at the same price as last season,
but it might change as I see what this season’s price is at.
If you would like to place an order for Thursday home
delivery or farm pick up, please do so before 8 pm Tuesday at
www.12seasonsfarm.com. And for Saturday Bonita market preorders, before
Thursday 8 pm.
Here is our weekly schedule:
TUESDAY PICK-UP FOR SANIBEL & CAPTIVA: Place an
order online before Sunday, 8 pm, if you want to pick up an order at
McCarthy’s Marina in Captiva on Tuesday, 9-11 am. Extra produce will be
available for those who want to buy off the table. ****
** WEDNESDAY LAKE’S PARK FARMERS’
MARKET:** We will be at the Lakes Park Farmers’ Mkt. each
Wednesday from 9 am to 1 pm. in Ft. Myers. Parking is free during the
THURSDAY DELIVERIES & FARM PICK-UP: Please place
an order online before Tuesday, 8 pm, if you want home delivery or farm
pick-up for Thursday.
SATURDAY FARMERS’ MARKET AND PREORDER PICK- UP :
Market runs 8 am to noon. Please place an order by Thursday, 8 pm to
pick up your preorder at the Bonita market. If preordering, please pick
up preorders after 10 am.
Orders can be placed online at ** www.12seasonsfarm.com**
This is what we are harvesting:
Baby Butterhead Lettuce
Large Leaf Butterhead lettuce
Red Slicing tomatoes
Large sweet onions
Italian flat parsley
Saw Palmetto Honey
Here was the team at the farmers’ market today (Saturday) in Bonita
Springs. Some have asked why we don’t do more markets like the reopened
Sanibel market on Sunday. We are wiped out after this Saturday market.
The mere thought of repeating this again a day later sounds utterly
We make it a point at 12 Seasons to make a big push to harvest the
day or two before market. For the Bonita Springs Promenade market, we
harvest a lot of the produce on Friday for Saturday’s market. This gets
you food that is fresh and still alive! The reasons some vendors can go
from farmers’ market to farmers’ market, day after day, is because they
are resellers and not growers. Buying produce and reselling is way
easier than growing it and selling it. But that is not what 12 Seasons
is about. We are content with 3 farmers’ markets in a week!
Here is a classic example of tomatoes that will likely be many weeks
old before they are consumed. I was driving behind this truck recently
while doing deliveries. In the back of our van we had just been
delivering fresh tomatoes that were naturally ripened at 12 Seasons
Farm. In contrast, these hard green tomatoes are stored and then gassed
with ethylene to ripen them. These are shipped all over the country and
can also end up in local grocery stores and farmers’ markets being sold
by resellers. These are the tomatoes that give Florida such a bad
reputation for tomato quality. While this system of green- gassed
tomatoes allows most of the country to have a tomato in their salad or
on a burger in places where it is too cold, the trade-off is sacrifice
In contrast, here is a photo of some fresh campari tomatoes, still
with the green calyx attached.
We work hard to bring produce that is harvested at optimal times.
With each crop and variety it is a learning lesson to figure out the
best harvest window. Then, we work hard to get it to you all fast. We
like to bring you living food. You could actually take a radish from our
stand and plant it again and have it continue to grow. We are determined
to preserve the produce at optimal temperature and moisture levels after
harvest and deliver it to you fresh!
There has to be untold, unquantifiable benefits to food that is not
just nutritionally dense, but that is still very much functionally
Here is Myrah with some beets she harvested this morning for the
Captiva market. We don’t grow a lot of beets but we have had our best
season with beets. We have brought a modest amount to markets the past
couple months and have recently added some to the online inventory for
We have a nice crop of sunflowers this week. We seed them every 2
weeks all season long.
We also have a good final crop of cabbage. We should still have them
for several more weeks as the variety we grow produces mini cabbages
after the central head is harvested.
Here are some first fruits from the new greenhouses. They are
especially large and beautiful, almost ready to ripen for harvest.
Here is Mary Ann and Fritz filling seed trays. Mary Ann is from
Florida. She grew up in central Florida on a citrus orchard. She has
been an amazing contributor to the farm for 3 seasons. Mary Ann has
incredibly good gardening instincts and skills. Nearly all the veggies
we grow that are started in trays have been seeded by Mary Ann. We have
had a very good year in our nursery this season since the hurricane.
What a blessing to have someone so talented as Mary Ann to help lead
that part of our operation. She takes a major load off of me. She often
involves children to help her. We are nearing the end of seeding on the
farm for this season. We have about 4-5 weeks left of seeding in trays.
Fritz is one of those kids that likes to help with the seeding
operation. It is fun to see how these kids come to 12 Seasons and
quickly learn the craft of gardening/farming. Fritz (age 6) and his
brother Wally (4) both have started their own garden and already have
started eating from it. I will try to remember to get a photo of them in
their garden for a future newsletter!
We are still getting a good strawberry crop but production is
starting to come down. Here is Jedilo (left), a new worker Isaac, Jack,
and Grace (on right) picking this morning. We harvest 3 days/week.
We had a group come last Friday from Colombia and Ecuador to tour our
farm. They were being hosted by Ecological Laboratories that produces
and distributes microbial inoculants for enhanced plant production. We
have been using their products for years. We add these beneficial
bacteria through our drip lines to create a living soil. The group
wanted to see an operation that was using the microbe product that are
cultured by this company.
We want our soils to be alive with beneficial microorganisms that
will help plants be healthier. We use generous amounts of compost,
carbon-based fertilizers, and beneficial microbes to create a healthy,
dynamic living soil.
This is the way it works in natural systems of forests, prairies, and
meadows. These natural soils tend to be much more dynamic than
agricultural soils. The more we pattern our farming system after healthy
natural systems, the more it contributes to healthier food production. I
call the way we farm the “life approach to farming”.
We want you all to experience greater health and enjoyment in the
food you receive from 12 Seasons. (The photo above is one that a
customer sent me last season from one of her orders). This is living
food and the kind of freshness and quality we all crave!
Danny, Vicki, the kids, and the 12 Seasons Team