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Dudley Farmers' Market News

Intersection of Blue Hill Ave and Dudley Street, Roxbury
Tuesday and Thursdays
3-7pm

At the Market

Green Peppers
Eggplant
Garlic
Shell Beans
Green Beans
Green Tomatoes
Red Slicing Tomatoes
Cherry Tomatoes
Calalloo
Cucumbers
Carrots
Collard Greens
Swiss Chard
Scallions
Basil
Sage
Summer Squash
Corn (Thursday only)
Nashoba Brook Bakery Bread (Thursday only)

EBT/Food Stamp/SNAP, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Coupons, Debit and Cash Accepted! All season, any EBT/Food Stamp/SNAP purchase will be matched up to $10 at twenty Farmers Markets in Boston, including the Dudley Town Common Market.

News From The Fields

Because spring and summer came early this year, most plants are ahead of their typical schedule. This includes the state's fruit trees, bushes, and perennial plants. Even some annual crops have grown faster than expected. Already our eggplants, peppers and tomatoes are about starting to kick out more significant amounts of fruit.

Even though you're just seeing these members of the nightshade family at the market now, the plants have a relatively long and varied journey behind them. I'll take you through one aspect of of the life and times of one of our tomato plants.

I purchase the seeds over the winter-time and they wait on a cool, dry shelf with the other seeds till they can be planted in the middle of March. Tomato seeds sprout more reliably in hotter temperatures - temps hotter than we need to keep the entire greenhouse. So we start them in a dark, insulated heated box, until they germinate, at which point they move out into the main greenhouse. The tomatoes at the market got their start in our greenhouse in Lincoln, where the farm staff water daily and look after them. They keep hungry critters away from all the tender, tasty leaves in the greenhouse. They control the temperature to make sure the tomatoes never get too hot or cold. I "pot up" the tomatoes in April, which gives their roots a bigger space to grow.

The big question for many gardeners is when to plant the tomatoes. We usually plant ours outside a week or two after the predicted last day of frost, which in Boston is May 3. It's a pretty good guess that they plants won't be damaged from frost after the 15th. This year, I got excited with the warm spring and planted a couple of rows in early May. I planted them with volunteers on a rainy Saturday a few days early, when all of a sudden the 10 day forecast changed! The tomatoes didn't like the mid-30 degree temps for those first two nights. Some of their leaves got nipped by the cold and some we had to replant when their main stem fell over from the cold. But like people, plants are resilient. They want to grow and thrive. The cherry tomatoes' commitment to survival and growth is particularly impressive. In five months, they have grown from little specks of seeds to 5 foot tall plants!

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