2024-02-26 newsletter

Greetings from 12 Seasons Farm,

Life on the farm is very busy as markets have been strong and crop
production decently high. There is a strong weather shift coming to SW
FL this week where days and nights will be significantly warmer. We have
enjoyed the stretch of cool weather as outside workers and we are
grateful for no frost or freezing temperatures this season. Now the
balance begins to shift toward the warm season crops with tomatoes,
cucs, peppers, and eggplant being favored by highs in the 80s and lows
in the 60s.

The crop diversity and quality should remain high for the coming
month and hopefully strawberries begin to produce better as well. They
have been shy on production this season and also seem recently hampered
by thrip pressure, a very tiny insect that feeds on developing fruit and
leaves. We initiated an organic spray that will hopefully reduce the
pest pressure and help them rebound.

We plan to be back at the Captiva and Naples Farmers markets tomorrow

Our schedule remains much the same this week:

TUESDAY CAPTIVA MARKET : Tuesday, 9am-1pm at South
Seas Island Resort , Captiva. Buy directly from the
stand or place a preorder online by Sunday, 8 pm and
pick it up at the market.

Tuesday 9am-1pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Naples. The St. John’s
Farmers Market is located at 500 Park Shore Dr., Naples, FL 34103, just
south of Pine Ridge Rd. Due to vehicle space and staff limitations we
currently don’t plan to do preorders for this market.

: Please place an order online
before TUESDAY, 8 pm. For farm pick-up on Thursday, please come to 14840
Old Olga Rd., Ft. Myers, FL 33905.

8am- noon at the Promenade Shops at Bonita Bay. Buy directly from the
stand or place a preorder online by Thursday, 8 pm. If
possible, please pick up after 10:30 for pre-orders as
this will reduce the long line that often forms early in the morning.
When picking up, you are welcome to skip the line and go down the south
side of the tent to the back of our van where Annika will help you get
your order and grab any add-ons you might want.

Orders can be placed online at 12seasonsfarm.com **

This is what we are harvesting:

  • Strawberries
  • Summercrisp Lettuce
  • Baby Butterhead Lettuce
  • Large Leaf Butterhead Lettuce
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Curly Kale
  • Flat Kale
  • Mixed Kale (multiple varieties)
  • Swiss Chard
  • Green Beans (crop over), more hopefully in a couple weeks
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers (limited)
  • Eggplant
  • Sweet Italian Bull’s Horn Peppers (limited)
  • Broccolini
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Green onions
  • Large onions (pre-order only)
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Campari tomatoes
  • Heirloom/Specialty tomatoes
  • Red Slicing tomatoes
  • Round radish
  • Daikon radish
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Curled Parsley (limited)
  • Flat Parsley (limited)
  • Lemongrass
  • Turmeric (by pre-order only)
  • Avocado (1 to 2 weeks more)
  • Pummelo
  • Temple Tangor
  • Ray Ruby Grapefruit
  • Papaya
  • Starfruit (just about over)
  • Banana
  • Sunflowers
  • SW FL Saw Palmetto Honey
  • SW FL Wildflower Honey
  • Strawberry Butter

We have a lot of tomatoes ready to ripen. Most customers have not
noticed we have been low on tomato production for the last few weeks
because we have mainly cut back on restaurant orders. With warm weather
coming and lots of new areas ripening, tomatoes should be abundant.

This is recently harvested lettuce getting ready to be washed on the
processing deck!

Here is an updated photo of the arugula flights that are seeded two
weeks apart. This allows us to have a consistent even harvest. Elena who
is 15 and works part time for us along with Meredith, age 12, seed the
arugula every other week and radishes every week.

We have a lot of great broccolini that is especially good right now.
Here is Justine from Canada showing off a beautiful broccoli bunch.
Broccolini is another name for sprouted broccoli. After we harvest a
central crown, most of the production comes from a large number of side
shoots on the broccoli plants. The stems, leaves, and florets are all
edible and delicious. I call it “Florida asparagus” because the stems
are so tasty!

Alexios from Greece is seen here harvesting an avocado and tossing
down one for me to catch! The avocado season is about to end in the next
week or two. Avocadoes ripen off the tree. This time of year we have to
beat the squirrels and racoons to them as they too enjoy a fruit with a
healthy oil content.

Annika and Carrie working to fill a restaurant order for herbs. Chef
Andrew Wicklander from The Continental in Naples orders a lot of diverse
produce options weekly from us including an assortment of herbs.

Benjamin and I went out yesterday inspecting the most recent and
final flight of tomatoes we planted this season. They are doing very
well in this tunnel. We use a different trellis system for this last
planting called the “Florida Weave”. We run 2 parallel strings every 6-9
inches and this keeps the plant contained forming a giant hedgerow of
tomatoes. This is in contrast to the drop system we use at other times
of the year that is more labor intensive (I can explain this technique
in a later newsletter). This final planting is on the Florida weave
because this method results in a concentrated harvest vs. a longer
spread-out harvest on the drop system. This crop’s life will likely end
due to summer heat that will come in June and July so we would rather
have a concentrated harvest before that summer heat takes its toll on
the health of the plant.

For those who have read these newsletters and/or who have farmed and
gardened on a decent scale know there are many ups and downs in the same
day. When care taking so many living species there are bound to be
challenges. Here in this photo we had a serious issue with fire ants
girdling the stem of this cauliflower (the girdled area is where the
fire ants ate the surrounding tissue at the base of the stem that is tan
colored). This missing tissue which would normally transport the
products of photosynthesis made by the leaves is missing and thus the
roots starve for food and ultimately the plant stays stunted and dies.
Thankfully most of the cauliflower did fine as seen in the backdrop of
healthy plants which are the same age as the stunted plant.

Oh the life of a kid on the farm! Josiah, Benjamin, and Enoch
enjoying their plunder of fallen citrus fruits around the farm.

Luke Little from 2 seasons ago visited today. He is visiting with his
German friend. The family and workers who remember him were glad to
reconnect. He is a 12 Seasons hero who worked hard and faithfully for us
planting many trees and doing tree care throughout the farm.

We consider it a privilege to be a grower for you of fresh, healthy,
and delicious array of vegetables and fruits.

Have a great week! May it be blessed!

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






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