This July we have had a lot more days with temperatures in the very high 80’s and low 90’s with ‘real feel’ temperatures over 110 and excessive heat warnings on many occasions. While I know some people love this kind of weather and think its not summer without it I hate it. For one thing the gooseberries ripen too fast.
Usually it takes a while for a gooseberry to turn from green to pink, then deep red, this year its been really rather fast. This means that our plans to ship out fresh gooseberries has to be shelved for this year. We like to send them out green to slightly pink. Even though they are sent with frozen packs and shipped overnight or at most second day post the weather is just too hot and the berries would not arrive in good condition.
So we can only sell fresh to those close to us. If anyone in central New Jersey, is interested in fresh gooseberries we have them. Our fresh ones are mostly red now but we have frozen berries in green, green/pink and red. If you are interested in purchasing please see our gooseberry page and contact us.
It’s an early morning activity. Pick a day when there is little dew on the ground, get the bin ready along with a long sleeved shirt and think leather gloves and its time to pick.
Gooseberries have thorns and even with gloves and long sleeves I still get scratched up picking them. The variety we have known as pixwell is said to be ‘mostly thorn less’. I am not sure who decided that but they certainly didn’t try picking the little green globes. Seem to be a lot of thorns to me. Fortunately this variety has the fruit hanging on the underside of the branches so its easier to pick than some varieties. Gooseberries can be prolific if nurtured and given the right environment. Four hours of picking gives me 30lbs of fruit and a lot of scratches. Keeping a medicinal wipe handy is always a good idea
Still its better to pick than many other fruits and its worth it. First off I get to be outside in the early morning listening to the sounds of nature. There is a family of blue jays cackling in the background and the little ones scream at their parents for food. The catbirds are squawking and they are all eating my raspberries which I did not get chance to net this spring. No matter I will get a fall crop. Its peaceful and even with the thorns I enjoy picking gooseberries. I am hooked on this tart little green to pink fruit.
We will have fresh gooseberries for sale in a couple of days time. Don’t know much about gooseberries? We are declaring July as gooseberry month and will be offering fun facts and information about gooseberries all month long.
At this time of the year its hectic on the farm. There is still planting going on and the harvesting is in full swing too. I like to harvest quite a few things at once then come in and work on processing them through the dryers over the next couple of days. This is especially important when its going to be hot and humid, or if its going to rain. Of course we cannot harvest on rainy days and I really don’t like being outside working when its really hot. If and excessive heat warning is predicted its time to get out, harvest and store in the refrigerator for a couple of days while its processed.
So with that in mind I harvested solidly for two days.
Day one was catnip day. We have a lot of catnip and it was beginning to flower nicely. That means its time to harvest for ‘flowering tops’ which is very popular with cat owners as the catnip has higher concentrations of nepetalactone the active compound that cats react to. Catnip harvesting is always active, its not just cats that react to the smell, its more stimulating to humans and is often used in tea blends.
Day two was more gentle. It was lemon balm harvest time. This is more calming plant and even during harvesting it’s has a more calming effect. Its also a little faster to harvest so I was able to get the lovage and the rest of the meadowsweet harvested at the same time. That filled up the fridge so for the next few days its washing and processing down for the dryers and time to stay out of the excessive heat.