Steve Stycos provided the following update on Cranston events and farming issues:
FARMERS HIT BY RAIN & FEAR OF BLIGHT
The incessant rain is hurting Rhode Island farmers. The moisture and cool weather promote mold and mildew growth on plants, slow plant growth and discourage attendance at farmers markets. Despite the bad conditions, our farmers have new crops ready for harvest. Chang Xiong expects to have green beans this week, Peter Fratantuano should have blueberries and Michele Kozloski will again have beets, carrots and summer squash.
Farmers are also worried about late blight, the plant disease that caused the Irish potato famine and also attacks tomato plants. The blight’s spread illustrates the problems with a food system that transports items thousands of miles to market, rather than rely on local farmers.
Last year, California spinach contaminated with e coli bacteria sickened people across the United States before the product could be traced and recalled. The late blight, according to Newsday, was distributed throughout the Northeast on diseased tomato plants sold at Home Depot, Walmart, Kmart and Lowe’s. The multi-national chains purchased their plants, not from numerous small local growers, but rather from Bonnie Plants, a nationwide company with 61 “growing stations.” Bonnie Plants denies being the source of blight.
Newsday also reports that late blight, although toxic to tomato and potato plants, is not harmful to humans. As long as the vegetables are not rotten, they are not harmful, Cornell University professor Meg McGrath told the Long Island newspaper.
LOST SILVER CUP
Someone who donated books to the book sale left a silver cup in one of the boxes. If the cup if yours, please contact Steve Stycos.
As popsicle weather arrives, please remember to save the clean wooden sticks and bring them to the market for reuse. Farmers use the sticks to identify varieties of plants seeded in their greenhouses.
HALL LIBRARY OUTDOOR CONCERTS
The Hall Library’s outdoor summer concert series started Thursday July 9 with music from Avenue A and continues July 16 with the United States Navy Band Northeast. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and enjoy the music. Both concerts begin at 6 PM in front of the library on Broad Street.
See you Saturday at the market.