Each year in recent memory, northeastern cucumber plants are slowed down and stopped around this time of the year by a particular type of water mould that causes downy mildew. This mould affects all cucurbits (including squash and melons) but the strain of the disease that we get in our area seems to affect mostly cucumbers. Our cukes, slicing and pickling, have been coming like gang-busters from Atlas Farms in South Deerfield, MA for most of the summer but with the cool weather this past week and the rise of the downy mildew, their plants are finally grinding to a halt. The mildew doesn't affect the produce itself, just the plants, so Atlas pulled the final cukes they could get out of the field yesterday. We did get a moderately large shipment in from them so we'll use up what we have, and for our customers with deliveries later in the week, you may find Atlas Farms green bell peppers or Lakeside Organics (of Hadley MA) carrots instead of cucumbers, depending on the type of box you receive.
And in other local producer news, our green bean supplier, Plainville Farm, also of Hadley MA, has a broken bean picker! They use something that we best understand as a big vacuum cleaner to pull their green beans off the plant, and their bean vacuum broke over the weekend. They're picking as fast as they can while they wait for parts for the bean picker but they were only able to supply us with enough beans to last us through Wednesday's deliveries. We searched high and low for other local bean suppliers that could fill the shortfall this week, the closest we came was a Pennsylvania farm whose beans just didn't meet the standard that Plainville's beans have set all summer, but we did find good beans out in California. So, our customers slated to get green beans Thursday and Friday will have California beans instead of the usual Hadley beans, but we'll cross our fingers for Plainville to get the bean vacuum up and running again for next week's orders!