Field notes from a dirty earth worker

The Spring Potatoes are in the ground at the new Children’s Home field. We were able to plant them last Sunday after the harvest, just on time thanks to our amazing and dedicated Sweetwater Farming team who put in a very long and difficult work day! Thank you among others to Casey, Zachary, Alberto, Phil, Brian, Mari, Stephanie, Josh, Rebbecca and Courtney for being such important parts of this team. I get to constantly witness and be a part of many amazing agricultural feats at this farm, what a pleasure!


So now that the certified organic seed potatoes are in the ground, we need to wait about 3 weeks for them to sprout while we keep them weeded, and then begin to ‘hill’ them to encourage root growth. This year we planted many varieties; Yukon Gold, Rose Finn Swedish Fingerlings, Praire Blush, King Harry, Island Sunshine and Butte. We should be enjoying some delicous white, gold, pink and russet tators toward the end of the harvest season.


This week in your share find some young tender Mizuna, this Asian green is similar to arugula but with less bite. Great as a substitute for lettuce in salads or sandwiches and also taste great in stir-fries, or steamed over mashed potatoes or fish. This cut will be especially mild tasting because of how young the plants are and the cool weather in which they grew.


This week we will also harvest Eros Endive, this is a plant in the Chickory family, slightly bitter but very rich in many vitamins and minerals. Excellent addition to a mixed salad with other sweeter ingredients like mizuna.


The radishes this week are the second crop we are harvesting from the Children’s Home field. The greens are looking pretty healthy and are a great cooking green that can be used in stir-fries, soups or beans. Also very delicious in a green smoothies, remember radish greens are food too, don’t let them go to waste.


Hope everyone is enjoying the share vegetables this season. The farm team has been enjoying growing the vegetables and being part of this conscious sustainable community. Most of the varieties we grow are things that have grown well here over the past 15 years during specific times of the season. Some are not common vegetables but all are seasonal varieties specific to this Tampa Bay growing environment. During some growing seasons, some varieties grow better then others. This season Hakurei Turnips and Daikon Radish take the prize, but have performed poorly in previous seasons. By focusing on the vegetables that grow well here during the time of year they grow the best, we can utilize our soil in a more sustainable way and enrich it every season instead of depleting it. Since I arrived at Sweetwater six growing seasons ago, I have been exposed to and learned to grow and cook with many vegetables I had never heard of. Learning how to use these to keep my family happy and healthy has been the greatest reward of being part of this local, sustainable, organic community. I encourage all of you to experiment and be creative with your food. If your veggies are in season and grow good together, they probably go good together in the kitchen, so lets let nature be our guide. And remember that we are in a technological world so when you don’t know what to do with all those strange vegetables, just ‘Google it’. Peace

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