2014 Tomato Season in Santa Fe

closeup of virginia sweet

My all time favorite-an heirloom-a ‘Virginia Sweet’ tomato-a super sweet tomato worth the wait and weight.

Every year I try to get to the Farmers Market EARLY to sell tomatoes. Early to me would be end of July. Actually I would be delighted to even get to the market the first week of August. But no. Never. It’s not me I swear-I do my job. I get the tomato plants in the ground early enough. It’s THE WEATHER! Every year someone will ask me at the market how come they:

1. Don’t have any tomatoes or

2. Only have lots of green ones.

This year it’s the later because of THE WEATHER. So let me explain-No. 1 and No. 2 above and how both relate to THE WEATHER. This year we didn’t have a super hot June which was great because our tomato blossoms were able to set fruit in June. (If it’s really hot in June, then we experience blossom drop. Tomato blossoms won’t set fruit in temperatures 92°F and hotter.  They would have all dropped off all their little blossoms in our stinking hot Junes – hence no fruit and they grow more blossoms and set fruit up in July when it’s cooler but that puts us behind-see no. 1.)  But that’s not the case this year.

So on to no.2-we got LOTS of fruit now but they are mostly still green so we are still behind. Why? THE WEATHER! Now I don’t mean to pass the buck here as they say, but it’s true. July and now August this year has been delightfully cool and rainy. Daytime temperatures are cooler and nighttime temperatures are definitely cooler. Just like the old days with a real monsoon season. Now those of you new to the area (meaning you have moved here sometime in the last 12 years) have not really experienced the monsoon season, so enjoy it. Who knows when we will get another since we’ve been in drought like conditions the last 12 years.

Ok, back to why it’s THE WEATHER’S FAULT! So what’s happen is we have lots of green fruit but now we need some WARM SUNNY days to ripen the fruit. Even though the fruit can’t tolerate too hot of weather when trying to set fruit, after it’s set, they need warm sunny days to ripen up. All we’ve been mostly experiencing is very cool weather. Ah, what are we gonna do? It’s either too hot when they set blossoms or too cool to ripen.  Both scenarios make for a very late tomato season. Ah crumba!  I hope we get the warm days soon before fall comes as I have a ton of tomatoes on the vines! I sometimes wonder why I even bother and then I remember! I love tomatoes! I love trying new varieties! I’m a tomato addict!

Tomato Lady will return to SF Farmer’s Market this Saturday!

first tomatoes

Here are some of my tomatoes of the 2014 season. I’ll be back at the SF Farmer’s Market this Saturday, August 16th from 7-12 noon inside the building. Just look up high (above my booth) for my Tomato Lady sign to find me. I don’t have a ton of tomatoes yet and so they should go pretty quick and then I’ll be out but have many other items to sell like rhubarb, green and purple beans, Shishito peppers, various eggplants including the infamous fairytale eggplant and maybe some Kale. Hopefully next week I will have more!

But if you want tomatoes-come early!

Artisan Farm Tour-2014

It’s been a very busy summer for me. I’ve been preparing for my tour here on the property since spring. Nothing like having people over to get things done. I’ve had a punch list that I’ve chipped away at and finally got almost all of them done before last weekend when I had an educational tour for the Santa Fe Master Gardeners of my little Artisan Farm here in Santa Fe. Between the Home Grown Kitchen Garden & Coop Tour (different tour the week before) and my tour last weekend, I’ve pretty much been headless all summer. Now it’s all over and I can get back to a more normal pace. But wait, I’m getting ready to go to the SF Farmer’s Market! Always something. I guess I can rest in the winter! Here are some pictures of my Artisan Farm tour last weekend. The garden looks the best ever…

Home Grown New Mexico’s ‘Kitchen Garden & Coop Tour’!

I’m on the Board of Directors of Home Grown New Mexico organization and we are putting on our main fundraiser this Sunday, July 27 from 9 am – 2 pm. Please come out and support us, you won’t be disappointed! I just went by all 5 houses this week and they are totally inspiring! Here is the post from our website.

FINALWEB 2014 HGNM KItchen Garden Tour

IT’S HERE! The print version of the 2014 Kitchen Garden Tour addresses and map

Just print it out and come out for the tour. Read on for more info on how to purchase tickets and the homes on the tour!

Our 4th Annual Kitchen Garden and Coop Tour is on Sunday, July 27  from 9 am – 2 pm.  Come get inspired for your own gardens! See five of Santa Fe’s most inspirational gardens.  Pick up ideas that you can use at your place or just enjoy these beautiful edible and functional landscapes.

‘The 5 properties on the tour this year will feature many gardening ideas—beautiful vegetable gardens, backyard chicken coops, beehives, composting, greywater systems, hoophouses, a neighborhood community farm, permaculture sites, edible landscapes and rainwater harvesting systems.’
Excerpts from: Edible Magazine, our premiere sponsor

 Tickets are $25 this year and children under 12 are free.

*Tickets can be purchased 2 ways:
1-Pre-purchase tickets online here.
2-Purchase on day of tour at homes. Cash or checks accepted at each house and credit cards accepted at house #1 only.

HERE ARE THE ADDRESSES FOR THE 5 SPECIAL PROPERTIES ON THE TOUR:

1. Linda and Jim Archibald- 1105 Caminito Alegre
This Casa Solana home features chicken coops, fruit trees, large raised vegetable gardens, perennial and annual flowerbeds.

2. Jesus and Charlotte Rivera – 405 Salazar Place
Tune-Up Café’s owners, Jesus and Charlotte Rivera’s home features raised vegetable gardens, fruit trees, herbs and greywater systems. Charlotte’s goal is to use greywater only for watering all her gardens.

3. Reese Baker – 2053 Camino Lado
The RainCatcher’s owner, Reese Baker’s home incorporates many Permaculture designs. His mature gardens will amaze and inspire all. His edible landscaping includes fruit trees, berries, edible bushes and vegetables. He has chickens, a fishpond and passive water harvesting systems including Zuni bowls, rainwater catchment and greywater systems that channel water to the fruit trees and pond. This site is a great example of what can be done on a small city lot!

4. Poki Pottin/Gaia Gardens – 2255 Paseo de los Chamisos
Poki who started Gaia gardens is known from the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market where he sells his vegetables. This is a phenomenal property that is a neighborhood community farm based on biodynamic principles. The farm features many vegetable gardens, chickens, composting systems, hoophouses and even has ducks! Poki will have lots of  plant starts for sale if you still need some.

5. Jeremiah Kidd – 29 Hidden Valley Road
San Isidro Permaculture’s owner, property in the foothills of the Sangre De Cristos showcases permaculture designs in keeping with our arid high desert. His property features edible landscaping, erosion control installations, grey and blackwater systems, rainwater catchment and a hoophouse. His edible landscaping includes berries, grapes, fruit and nut trees and many other exotic edible plants.

Master Gardeners and the homeowners will be present to answer questions at each site. Don’t miss this exciting Kitchen Garden & Coop tour in Santa Fe this year!

Other contributing sponsors for the tour are: Joes’ Diner, Osuna Nursery and Whole Foods

2 exciting classes this weekend!

I’m involved with teaching 2 classes this weekend that should be terrific! Read on!

If you’d like to come to either or both,  please RSVP  at 505-983-9706 so I know how many ingredients to buy for the Jam class and number of handouts to run out for both classes. We won’t be confirming your RSVP- just know you’re in! Come to one or both!

FIRST CLASS

rain-barrelSaturday, July 19
Creating a Rain Barrel and Learn About Rain Catchment
Learn how to make your own rain barrel and learn all about rain catchment
Time: 10 am-1 pm
Instructor: Amanda Bramble/Jannine Cabossel
Location: Milagro Community Garden (Rodeo Road and Legacy behind church)
Presented with Milagro Community Garden at milagrogarden@yahoo.com
RSVP to 505-983-9706 or email: homegrownnewmexico1@gmail.com

Learn how to make your own rain barrel with this hands-on workshop. Amanda will cover the basic elements of rain collection systems including sizing and sitting your tank as well as keeping the water clean. We will also discuss accessories like tank gauges, first flush systems, and filters for DIY systems. Jannine will demonstrate making a rain barrel out of a 55 gallon drum. Amanda Bramble is the director of Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center in Cerrillos, NM (www.ampersandproject.org).

Class is free but we have a suggested $10 donation or become a 2014 Member for $35 and the following free: classes, potlucks and one ticket to the big tour on July 27th.

 

THE SECOND CLASS

jam photoSunday, July 20
‘Jamming Jam Class’
Jam Making Class
Time: 10am-1pm
Instructors: Jannine Cabossel/Duskin Jasper
Location: Whole Food’s Community Room (St. Francis location)
RSVP to 505-983-9706 or email: homegrownnewmexico1@gmail.com
(You will not be contacted back, we just need to know how many are coming for printing handouts and how much ingredients/jars to bring.)

In this preservation class, you will learn how to make and process jams with available seasonal fruit. The twist on this jam session is our emphasis will be on adding unusual ingredients to make unique artisan jams. We will hand out recipes. We will also go over basic canning processes. You’ll get a jar of jam to take home! Come jam with us!

Class is free but we have a suggested $10 donation or become a 2014 Member for $35 and the following free: classes, potlucks and one ticket to the big tour on July 27th.

Here they come-FIRST TOMATOES!

 

FIRST TOMATOES 2014

Ok, I have something to confess – I’M TOMATO ADDICT!! I need my fix! Here are the first organic tomatoes of  2014 season. I got 5 Sungold and Black Cherry tomatoes during the last week of June. That is the earliest I have ever gotten tomatoes ready to eat. Sungolds are one of the few hybrid tomatoes I grow because they are soo sweet and Black Cherry tomatoes are an heirloom tomato that is fantastic as well with it’s sweet earthy flavor. I have gotten more little tomatoes since then that are eagerly eaten-sometimes right off the vine – if I can’t wait. I HAVEN’T HAD A TOMATO SINCE LAST OCTOBER! I never eat the ones in the restaurants or buy any from a grocery store-I just patiently wait until my tomatoes get ripe during the tomato season. It’s been about 9 months since I ate a real tomato!

FIRST CAPRESE 2014

Here is a mini Caprese without the basil. Of course I had to go get some fresh mozzarella to go with those first tomatoes! I don’t have any big Italian basil yet to add to my Caprese but gobbled them up with the mozarella and 18 yr old balsamic vinegar and olive oil over them.  The sweetness was divine!

jc baby pic2_FB

 

And to think I HATED tomatoes as a kid – couldn’t stand those slimy seeds! My how things change through the years! Of course all I ever got were those store-bought tasteless tomatoes. It wasn’t until I had a REAL tomato ripened on the vine that I became a tomato addict!

Why else have a vegetable garden in the summer if not for the tomatoes!