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Ripening Into Summer

Longer days, warm nights, the strong sun arcing over the fields day after day, plenty of irrigation (thank you mountain snow!) — all of the above makes Black Cat Farm’s plants exceedingly happy. Growing up in such healthy soil, under conditions like these, leads to rapid and sturdy development. In the photo below, this is one of the places where Tomato Land meets the Province of Peppers. We grow a variety of tomato styles, used in different ways (sliced and served raw, diced and sautéed, turned into sauce, and so on) and our pepper varieties run the gamut as well. This year, we did go nuts with shishito peppers.

The border between Tomato Land and the Province of Peppers.
The border between Tomato Land and the Province of Peppers.

Meanwhile, we still are planting a variety of things, to ensure we always have vegetables for the Market and the restaurants. Planting, weeding, soil preparation, harvesting, cleaning vegetables and much more — that’s summer.

The season, too, involves farm workers who spend time with us just during the summer months, including interns. This year we welcome Erika, who comes to Black Cat Farm from the University of Virginia, where she works on the campus farm. Eric, too, is a UVA grad. We have yet to observe them fist-bumping and shouting “wa-hoowa.” In the photos below, we see Erika (wearing the straw hat and the blue shirt) harvesting kale with her high school friend Noor, who is visiting from Virginia; and listening to Eric talk explain the virtues of his homemade greens-washing machine.

Erika (left) and Noor harvesting kale on Friday. We try to harvest a fair bit of baby kale — fantastic raw or in sautées.
Erika (left) and Noor harvesting kale on Friday. We try to harvest a fair bit of baby kale — fantastic raw or in sautées.
Eric demonstrates how simply bending a lettuce leaf causes dark bruises to appear. But the homemade washing machine removes dirt from greens without the bruising.
Eric demonstrates how simply bending a lettuce leaf causes dark bruises to appear. But the homemade washing machine removes dirt from greens without the bruising.

We plant a wide variety of Asian greens on the farm because they taste fantastic and thrive in a variety of climatic conditions — helpful along the Front Range. You can often count on pak choi, which is also known as bok choy. In addition, we now are harvesting sen posai, which we view as something like Asian collard greens.

A big bed of sen posai, an Asian green that is similar to collard greens.
A big bed of sen posai, an Asian green that is similar to collard greens.

More Asian greens? You bet. Here we find Sydney and Pablo harvesting pak choi. Turn up the volume to hear some good music.

Your appetite must now be fully whetted. Are you ready for the Market? We hope to see you there, or in the restaurants, this weekend.

Here is what you will find at the Market on Saturday:

  • Lettuce mix
  • Tom Thumb
  • Tat Soi
  • Red Tat Soi
  • Mizuna
  • Ruby Streak Mizuna
  • Sen Posai
  • Kale
  • Osaka Purple
  • Pak Choi
  • Fava Bean tops
  • Purslane
  • Beets
  • Hakurei turnips
  • Hinona Kaboo turnips
  • Daikon radishes
  • Broccoli
  • Scallions
  • Fava beans
  • English shelling peas
  • Cardoons
  • Cilantro flowers
  • Arugula flowers
  • Pork cuts
  • Whole wheat
  • Farro
  • Polenta
  • Pork cuts
  • Sausages
  • Green curry