So in deciding not to go to the Carleton Place market yesterday, I find myself with a ridiculous amount of tomatoes and melons. The upside for the CSA families is that I’m trying to spread some of the abundance around. In the picture above you can see Lara’s minivan loaded with 4 shares. Each share includes 3-4 melons in the box and 2 watermelons. The melons are a mix of honeydew, cantaloupe, canary-like (although the flesh is crisp and white) and a few butterscotch. The dark watermelons are “sugar baby” and they are red inside. The striped ones are called “orchid” and they are orange inside. They have a very nice flavour.
I shouldn’t be surprised that I have all these melons, but I was really hoping that they would be spread out a little more over August and September. The plants have almost entirely died back and 75% of the melons have ripened in the same 2 week period. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that the pollinators came late (something I wrote about back in July) so that when they did pollinate, the plants set a lot of fruit all at the same time.
There is a large share of tomatoes as well. I tried to pick a wide variety of heirlooms and standard tomatoes as well as a large amount of cherry tomatoes this week. If people can’t get through them all in a week, I’m hoping that freezing or making sauce out of them is an option for most. Missing from the picture is the weekly lettuce heads which I added to the shares after taking the picture.
I think if I were to expand the CSA box program significantly, the shares wouldn’t likely see this quantity. I think I have over-compensated my lack of experience by growing far more than I needed. Another thing adding to the abundance right now is that the market I’m attending on Thursdays is not really providing much of an outlet for me. The last few weeks have been pretty quiet there and I wonder whether the market is really going to make it or not. I’m not disappointed in the results because the intent this year was really to gain experience. Based on what I’ve done this year I think I will be able to plan out my next year and target a larger market effectively.
Finally, an update on the roadside stand: It hasn’t been a huge success either, but I have sold 10 bags of tomatoes (at $5 per bag with probably about 2-2.5 lbs of tomatoes per bag) and 1 watermelon at $3. Interestingly, I’ve also had 3 bags of tomatoes stolen. I can’t quite figure that one out. The nice thing is that going forward, there is very little work required to keep the stand going. I just have to visit it a couple times during the day to replenish the tomatoes and melons and retrieve the money.