Saturday, August 9, 2014

farmstands 8-9-14

A farmstand report with a little more meat!

I stopped at Lulls ostensibly for cheese and wild blueberries, but the local melon is in, corn is going strong, heirloom tomatoes are getting going, peaches and nectarines were strong. There was a lot of non-local produce too - strawberries, Thomcord grapes (a first - I've only seen them at Trader Joes before), New York state sour cherries, champagne grapes.

David, the owner and operator, was there and making conversation, so I asked him why they don't grow black raspberries anymore. At Kimballs they don't grow black raspberries because demand is insufficient. David had a different answer for Lulls: pests.

According to Dave, there's a new fruit fly in the United States that first arrived in New England 3-4 years ago and is especially aggressive, and it's changed pest management for berries. Since raspberries are soft, pest management is the hardest for them - "they go bad so quickly anyway that there was always a lot of loss of product" (we had just been talking about loss of product in a lengthy conversation about melon farming, because of the difficulty of knowing when they're perfectly ripe, especially when you grow ten different varieties). "So many of the New England grown raspberries you buy are riddled with maggots from the fruit flies," David said. "You have to spray all the time to keep them away. We just don't grow them anymore. I planted flowers where the raspberries used to be." The raspberries sold at Lulls come from Driscoll instead, in Mass.

So that explains not only why I haven't seen black raspberries in a few years, but golden raspberries either, and I just hadn't noticed that the red raspberries at Lulls weren't even their own.

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