We are pleased to share that Rocket Punch Farm will be participating in Agriculture Appreciation Day. We will be giving the 11am presentation entitled “Growing A Small Farm.” Additionally, we will be offering herb and vegetable seedlings appropriate for late March planting. Please see the flyer for additional details about the event.
We know, this doesn’t look like anything yet, just cell trays of potting mix. What you don’t see will become over 1500 square feet of beautiful vegetables: green onions, sweet salad turnips, tart jamaica, tender long eggplant, three kinds of chile, and 13 kinds of tomatoes ranging from candy-like cherries to beefsteaks that can grow fruit weighing up to 2 pounds.
The season is just getting started. Lots more to come.
Year in Review for Vegetables
At Rocket Punch Farm, we grow over 70 different varieties of vegetables, herbs, berries, and melons…and we plan to add to this list as we trial new varieties. Here’s our Year in Review for this year’s trials:
Lettuces are one of the first crops of the season as they thrive in cooler temperatures. In 2022, we were able to harvest lettuce sooner because we planted lettuce in our greenhouse in autumn 2021, which over-wintered to become our early spring crop in 2022. Through seed saving, we hope to further adapt our hand-selected lettuce mix to the range of temperatures we experience here in Central NM.
Sorrel will definitely be coming back in 2023. After all, it’s perennial…yay, garden jokes! This leafy green is about as care-free as Swiss chard, which makes total sense when you realize they are in the same plant family. We use sorrel as a salad green (it’s a blessing for summer salads, after the lettuce has called it quits due to the heat), in pesto, and soup.
In 2021, we offered lots of different tomatoes: cherry tomatoes, salad tomatoes, Roma-types for canning, and heirlooms. But we forgot an important category for the living in the land of green chile cheeseburgers: the burger slicer tomato. So we fixed that for 2022.
We gave up on growing rooting radishes in 2021. In the microclimate of our farm, there’s too narrow of a window to grow the roots without having them turn unpleasantly spongy, too woody to eat, or unbearably spicy.
Enter rattail radishes. These are radish siliques (seed pods) that deliver great radish flavor. We especially liked them pickled in vinegar.
Work smarter, not harder. We grow purple snap peas because they are easier to see, the purple color standing out against the green of the vine.
New Zealand spinach isn’t a true spinach, but it tastes just like it. And it doesn’t mind the heat. Unlike Malabar spinach (also not a true spinach but a heat-loving substitute), it isn’t slimy.
We already grew “green” beans in colors other than green: purple and yellow. So we were delighted to add pink as well. As with purple beans, they turn pink when cooked, but we can still enjoy their beauty in the garden.
Wanting to mix it up beyond kale and collards, we tried some Brassica greens that were new to us: Abyssinian mustard and spigarello.
They didn’t work. They just kinda sat there and didn’t do anything. Oh well. Back to kale and collards for 2023.
We tried black tomatoes because of how freaking beautiful they look. However, the color does not come from ripening but from a chemical reaction in response to sunlight. So they start out black on the vine and it’s next to impossible to tell when these babies are ripe. No thanks.
Beets are supposed to be a 2-month crop. However, our spring planted beets took over 4 months to reach anything close to a harvestable size. We had similar results in 2021.
We feel that beets aren’t suitable as a spring-planted crop in our climate. We’re currently trying over-wintering some for an early spring harvest and we’ll see how it goes.
Amaranth is another heat-tolerant green for summer salads. Unfortunately, the grasshoppers like this one even more than we did and they chewed it to pieces.
Stay tuned for our new trials for 2023.
We offer artisanal sourdough bread as a winter seasonal product. During the active growing season, we’re much too busy with farming to be able to bake. Artisanal sourdough is a 2-day process that cannot be rushed. The lengthy fermentation time is what creates the bread’s superior flavor, texture, and nutrition as compared to yeasted breads.
Our unbleached wheat flour and blue corn meal come from Valencia Flour Mill in Jarales, NM. We source other ingredients to flavor our loaves from local businesses here in Valencia county.
The base dough is three simple ingredients: flour, water, and salt. We maintain our own sourdough starter, a living culture of wild yeasts and beneficial bacteria. Sourdough starter is also available for sale. If interested in purchasing starter, please allow 48 hours notice to ensure that your starter is vigorous and ready for baking.
Sourdough bread is available Tuesdays through Fridays for the “winter season,” November through March. The pick-up time for sourdough is 4pm-6pm. Made without preservatives, our bread is freshly baked on the day you specify. We get started baking at 6am so that your bread will be ready for you at 4pm.
To purchase sourdough bread, please visit our webstore. Choose from Traditional ($12) or our flavored loaves ($15): Green Chile & Cheese, Red Chile & Honey, Blue Corn, Beer & Barley, and German Christmas with dried fruit and chocolate.
Our loaves are large, about 10-inches across and 4-inches tall, weighing over 2 pounds. Many of our customers cut the loaves in half or quarters, freezing the portions they don’t intend to eat right away. The loaves freeze beautifully and will keep frozen for several months. However, since the bread does not contain preservatives, bread stored at room temperature should be consumed within 3 days.
RPF tomato varieties
Since we recently harvested the last tomatoes for the 2022 season, obviously tomatoes are still on our minds. We love tomatoes and there are so many varieties to choose from. When selecting varieties of any vegetable, we evaluate it based on a number of criteria including climate adaption, productivity, taste, nutrition, appearance, and ease of growing. Here’s a sneak peak at the varieties we’re choosing for 2023.
Returning champions: cherry tomatoes. We love cherry tomatoes in multiple colors for salads and snacking. We’ve grown Harvest Luck and Galina’s Cherry for the past two years and we’re trying out a couple new varieties in 2023.
Returning champions: heirloom tomatoes. Our two favorite heirloom tomatoes are Paul Robeson and Fantome du Laos.
Returning champions: burger slicers. In 2022, we were pleased by the introduction of Katja, a large pink slicer. For 2023, we’re adding Azoychka, a slightly smaller slicer, a junior burger, if you will.
Returning champions: sauce/canning tomatoes (Roma types). Of course we grow red tomatoes for canning and making pasta sauce, salsa, barbecue sauce, etc. The egg-shaped Graham’s Good Keeper is our favorite from 2022 and we’re adding the globe-shaped Illini Star for 2023.
New Addition: special purpose tomatoes. We grew Belmonte Pear this year, but we didn’t share them because we didn’t have very many plants. Belmonte Pear is an Italian heirloom tomato grown especially for sauce. For 2023, we’re adding Long Keeper, a semi-determinate variety that is planted later in the season to be picked green before the first autumn frost and ripened indoors for fresh tomatoes in the winter. And finally, we’re adding Principe Borghese, the famous sun-drying tomato that can also be tied into ristras for winter storage.
NOTE: photos of tomato varieties from Adaptive Seeds and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
Sourdough season is here
Sourdough is a 2-day process to make and so it can only be purchased through pre-order from our website. Choose Traditional ($12) or one of our flavored loaves ($15): Green Chile & Cheese, Red Chile & Honey, Blue Corn, Beer & Barley, or German Christmas (dried fruit and chocolate chips).
All remaining tomatoes are on sale, $1 off. Green (unripe), red Roma-types, and pink slicers now $2 per pound. Heirloom tomatoes now $3 per pound.
New for autumn: fingerling potatoes and purple sweet potatoes, both $3 per pound. Fingerling potatoes are a gourmet delicacy and are best enjoyed roasted. Purple sweet potatoes are best roasted whole or steamed until tender; they can then be mashed and used for holiday pies, cheesecakes, and other delights.
We have greens, $3: collards, Swiss chard, and lemony sorrel. We love greens in soups, stews, pastas, enchiladas, egg dishes, bean dishes, you name it!
Pickles: bread and butter cucumber pickles, chile dilly beans, achari masala beans, and celtuce in wheat-free soy sauce. We also have dehydrated apples.
Seeds for your garden: giant Mongolian sunflower, cardoon, and zinnia.
Don’t forget our logo t-shirts, logo stickers, and wooden goods for your kitchen.
Tuesday-Friday, 9am-5pm (extended until 6pm for those picking up pre-ordered sourdough). 14 Gonzales Rd, Belen. 505-302-5657. Please park in our driveway and ring the front doorbell for service.
Rocket Punch Farm will be closed next week. We’ve got a lot of work to do to wrap up the active growing season and transition into the sourdough bread baking season. We will reopen on Tuesday, November 1 with our pickles, dehydrated apples, purple sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes, leafy greens, and herbs.
But what about the bread? Our online store will go live Friday, October 28 to accept pre-paid advance orders. We’re offering 6 flavors: Traditional, Beer & Barley, Green Chile and Cheese, Red Chile & Honey, Blue Corn, and German Christmas (a stollen-inspired loaf with dried fruit and dark chocolate). Pick-up for sourdough bread orders will be Tuesdays through Fridays, 4pm-6pm. Traditional sourdough is $12, all the other loaves with additional ingredients are $15. More details when our online store goes live.
Last call for garden beans, pattypan squash, lemon cucumbers, Persian cucumbers, and eggplant.
Tomatoes will continue for a few more weeks. We’ll be picking green tomatoes to ripen them indoors to extend their harvest.
Of course hardy greens like collards and sorrel don’t mind the cold weather. (We’ve also planted cold-hardy kale, mustard greens, spinach, beets, lettuces, and radicchio, but those aren’t ready to harvest yet…stay tuned.)
Our preserved foods include our pickles and dehydrated apples.
Other foods to come in the next few weeks include purple sweet potatoes for pies and holiday baking, fingerling potatoes, and sourdough bread. Again, stay tuned.
Our business hours are currently Tuesday-Friday, 9am-5pm. 14 Gonzales Rd, Belen. 505-302-5656. Please park in our driveway and ring our front doorbell for service.
Last call for eggplant!
We pulled the eggplants in our greenhouse yesterday so that we can plant lettuces today, for salads all winter.
We’re eating caldo verde for dinner tonight, a delicious soup of greens, potatoes, and beans and/or smoked pork, depending on your dietary preferences.
We still have tomatoes: red Roma-types, pink slicers, heirloom beefsteaks and cherry tomatoes.
We expect that cucurbit season is coming to an end with the cooler weather we’re seeing. Expect this week and next week to be the end of the availability of cantaloupes, pattypan squash, lemon cucumbers, and Persian cucumbers. We’ll still have bread and butter cucumber pickles for as long as supplies last.
We also have bean pickles in two flavors: garden beans with achari masala and also yardlong beans with dill and chile. And don’t forget our celtuce pickles, a delicious Asian vegetable that tastes great with stir-fries, rice, and noodle dishes.
Please call ahead if you are interested in our salad mix, as it takes a little preparation. We harvest young leaves from many greens and herbs that we grow and mix it all up together. Because there are some bold flavors in the mix, we recommend enjoying it with a more assertive viniagrette.
Of course you may enjoy leafy greens and herbs on their own: Swiss chard, sweet potato greens, sorrel, New Zealand spinach, Malabar spinach, parsley, sage, thyme, oregano, chives, lovage, salad burnet…
We’ve reorganized out store front and put the t-shirts and wooden kitchen goods back on display. And we’re hard at work on our online store to begin taking sourdough bread orders in November. Stay tuned.
Our business hours are Tuesday-Friday, 9am-5pm. 14 Gonzales Rd, Belen. 505-302-5657. Please park in our driveway and ring our front doorbell for service.