THE YOUTH FARM at the High School for Public Service

NEWSLETTER Week of Sept. 8

Holy Tomatoes! I once read a wonderful farming memoir
called “It’s A Long Road to a Tomato,” written by local
garlic-growing legend TKTK. The book describes the
practically year-long cycle of growing garlic. The book is
aptly titled as tomatoes are one of several popular crops
that take many months of nurturing to mature and
produce the big, red, juicy fruits we love so dearly.
Farming is a labor of love, and the book well documents
the balance of daily frustrations, surprises and joys that
come with the work of bringing good food into being.
There is nothing like a fresh tomato in season, and
hopefully you’ve been enjoying the bounty of all manner
of tomatoes we chose to grow this season. This week I
want to walk you through the “long road” we’ve taken to
bring you tomatoes.

This season, interns, apprentices and students from the
Go Green class started roughly 300 tomato plants from
seed in our hoop house, “Harriet.” This 20’ by 48’
structure, covered in plastic, is designed to hold heat
and provide a comfortable setting for young plants to get
their start when early spring temperatures dip low. Our
tomato seeds were selected and purchased in January,
then “started,” or planted as seeds into plastic trays of
soil called “flats” in mid to late March. As you may recall,
March was remarkably cold this year, with nighttime lows
dipping into the 30s regularly. We never know exactly
what each season’s weather will bring, and experience
should have made me pause and wait to sow those
seeds. Instead, we lost hundreds of tomatoes due to
frosty nights and re-started the tomatoes – no small feat.
Roughly 50 man hours went in to sowing, watering,
covering (with a thin blanket) and uncovering our tomato
plants for months, until it was warm enough to prep our
soil and plant in late May.

This year, we grew both beefsteaks, known for their
roundness, redness, durability (in transport) and
disease-resistance. “Mountain Magic” and “BHN-1021”
are two ‘hybrid’ varieties that have been cultivated for
their productivity and above qualities. Beefsteaks, a type
of “slicing” tomatoes are the ones you usually receive on
your deli sandwiches and see piled high at the
supermarket (where they are not “vine ripe.” Purchasing
a beefsteak tomato from a local farmer will mean a
better tasting and fresher beefsteak – and the durability
factor is always much appreciated when packing picnics
or lunches.

We also grew about eight different ‘heirloom tomatoes’ –
older varieties that went by the wayside when our food
system consolidated, sped up, and efficiency and long-
distance durability took precedence over flavor some fifty
years ago. Not only do these tomatoes have ten times
the flavor, they have waaaay better names: Green
Zebra, Cherokee Purple, Big Rainbow, Pineapple and
Brandywine to name a few. While heirlooms are more
fragile, their taste speaks for itself. Customers often ask
why they are more expensive at our market ($4/lb verses
$2/lb for beefsteaks). They’re prettier! No, that’s not why.
Truly, they are more difficult to grow, as they are more
disease-prone as some of the hybrid or beefsteak
tomatoes. They require some serious staking work due
to the heftiness of many heirloom varieties (we’ve been
spending countless hours staking and trellising since our
tomatoes were transplanted – roughly 4 man hours/week
since May). Their yields can be lower, and they are a bit
of a risk for a farmer as their shelf life can be shorter.
However, their flavor is incomparable and for that they
are also priced higher at our market. Heirlooms are extra
delicious on sandwiches but where they really shine is
sliced on a plate with a dash of salt, possibly a drizzle of
olive oil and dusting of chopped basil, purple or green!

We hope to send you more tomatoes in the weeks to
come, including more of the adorable and sweet cherry
tomatoes (four varieties!)

Happy tomato season,
Molly, Farm Manager

 Sweet peppers
 Thyme
 Chives
 Eggplant
 Cucumbers
 Collars
 Callaloo
 Tatsoi
 Napa cabbage
 Turnips
 Shishito peppers
 Lavender
 Tomatoes
 Sweet Potato greens (wash @ home)

THE YOUTH FARM at the High School for Public Service
NEWSLETTER Week of Sept. 8
 Sedum
 Snapdragons
 Tithonia
 Scabiosa
 Cosmos
 Gomphrena (white & bi-color)
 Sunflowers
 Zinnias
 Strawflower
 Dahlia
 Cardinal Basil
 Wheat Celosia
 Ageratum

By Allison Manne, Farm Apprentice

I can’t help but notice how awesome and lush our Crop
Circle is looking lately as I stroll by the farm in the early
morning. It’s flourishing with a mixture of sweet peppers,
ornamental peppers, chives, lavender, bush beans and
marigolds. It gives me great pride to see how beautiful it
looks when I think of all the hard work and nurturing that
my fellow apprentices, the summer youth and our
managers have put into it. If you come by the farm, take
a look at this beauty! Your chives this week have been
living here.

Three stars this week… turnips, tatsoi and sweet potato
 Turnip is a root vegetable that is high in vitamin
C. Turnips may be boiled or steamed, then
mashed or pureed. They can also be stir-fried,
cubed and tossed with butter, or used raw (in
 Tatsoi, also called spinach mustard, is a dark
green Asian salad green. It has a pleasant and
sweet aroma flavor and is generally eaten raw,
but may be added to soups at the end of the
cooking period. It can also be substituted for any
recipe calling for spinach.
 Sweet potato greens taste sweet, like spinach
and they must be cooked. We harvested them
with love today but did not wash them as they
would not have held up well so be sure to give
them a good washing before using.
Quick Napa Cabbage Kimchi

A few cups of chopped napa cabbage

1 tbsp sambal olek (an Eastern hot sauce)

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

4 sliced cloves of garlic

A pinch of salt
1. In a medium bowl, combine all of the above
ingredients and stir well
2. Let it chill overnight and then eat right out of the

UFTP Apprentice Profile: Francis Warner

Where are you from?
I was born in Brooklyn, raised in St. Michael, Barbados
and London, England.

Why did you want to work as a Farm Apprentice?
I wanted to learn more about urban agriculture and to
learn how to grow my own vegetables and flowers.

Do you see farming in your future?
I see community farming/gardening in my future but not
farming as a profession.

What's your favorite vegetable?
Cucumbers and lettuce

What's your favorite aspect of farming?
I love harvesting and bed prep!

THE YOUTH FARM at the High School for Public Service
NEWSLETTER Week of Sept. 8


Interested in interning at the farm?!
Our internships are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from
9am-3pm. For more info please email Liz at!

September Volunteer Days:
Join us on the farm for Farm Volunteer Days! Our
Volunteer Days are always:

and 3
Saturday of the month, 10-4pm
Every Wednesday, 2:30-6:30pm during our farmers

Upcoming Volunteer Saturday Dates:
September 20

October 4

We would love to see you out on the farm!
Families and people of all ages are