Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dreaming of Jos

and all the good things that spill forth from the Jos soil. Here is Norma's weekly vegetable order:

Hello customers,

We had one nice day last week (on Saturday) with lots of sun, and no rain. It was lovely. But by Sunday morning the rain was back. We are still struggling with the weather, and still hoping for a real break in the rain (which sometimes happens in August). On the brighter side, although it is still cloudy and damp, the amount of rain we had last week seems to have diminished a bit, with only a couple of heavy downpours.

In anticipation of a break, we are preparing beds for new plantings of courgettes, beans and other items. Meanwhile, the veggies are managing to survive, and we should have a reasonable amount and variety to supply for next week.

For next week, there are some changes in the availability lists.

Our new Bok Choi (small size) is coming on stream and is ready to pick. We also have some nice Chinese cabbage (Napa type). Green cabbage is also very good and fresh. However, our present batch of red cabbage is finished, and there will not be any available for a few weeks until the new batch is ready. Other items available by way of greens include sorrel, kale and collard greens. There is also a limited quantity of spinach, which really doesn’t do well in the rains. We are just managing to keep some of the plots producing, but we never know how much we will be able to pick because this depends on how heavy the rains have been.

Broccoli is doing surprisingly well, probably because it enjoys the cooler weather, although sometimes the rain tends to rot the heads. The heads also do not grow as large as they do in the dry season. But we should have some to supply – order early if you need it, and we will probably have to ration to half kg per customer, as there is never enough to go around.

The new courgette beds have also started producing, and we should be able to get a limited amount for next week. The older batches had been spoiled by the rain, and for the past few weeks we have not been able to pick more than a couple of kilos. But we have been planting continuously, and the new plants should start to produce a reasonable amount by next week. However, we still have no yellow courgettes, and very little cousa (light green Mid Eastern type). We have planted more of these, and hopefully there should be some in a few weeks time. Still no winter squash, as these take much longer to mature, and our previous batch had rotted before they had a chance to get ripe.

The lettuce situation continues pretty much as it has been – we have very little red lettuce, and for supply there are mostly green, leafy types. There is also some iceberg. As we noted in previous newsletters, we have to pick the lettuce when it is quite young to avoid rain damage, so the heads are quite light. In fact, it is more like baby lettuce, rather than the very large heads we tend to get in the dry season.

For next week we should have some endive frisee and also a bit of escarole. We had thought our new radicchio would be ready, but I think the lack of sun is affecting it, and it has not started making large heads, so we will probably have none to supply.

Beef tomatoes are still fine and available. We are in between batches of cherry tomatoes – the old batch has finished, and the new ones in the greenhouse are producing but the fruits are still not ripe. I think they will take about two weeks before we can start picking. (Timing of maturity of vegetables is very difficult this time of year because of the sunless and cold conditions – things don’t ripen as fast as they should). Reasonable plum tomatoes are also available.

Aubergines are doing well, and we have them in good quantity – black, Italian purple and striped varieties are available.

There are nice leeks, spring onions and radishes available, and most of our herbs are still good with the exception of Genovese basil, tarragon and thyme. Other basils are available, along with other herb varieties.

We are starting to plant specialized peppers (coloured bells, Italian, Hungarian, and a couple of types of chili pepper) against the next dry season. They take many months to produce, and don’t do well in the rains. However, if we plant now, we should hopefully expect to be able to pick by the time the drier and warmer weather arrives. Meanwhile, we have only green bell peppers to supply, and a few Jalapenos.

Beetroots are a problem during the rains, and are in limited supply at the moment. However, we have started picking our new carrots, and they are quite tasty despite the wet weather.

Celery will be in limited supply. What is available is new and young and rather small, but the new batch should be mature in a couple of weeks. Celery takes several months to grow to full size, and big heads are not available now.

Our fennel crop is finally mature enough to pick, and we should have reasonable amounts for next week.

Pickling cucumbers and salad types are available and lovely, since they thrive in the rains.

Still no oyster mushrooms – they are not likely to be available for some weeks. We will let you know when production has resumed.

White onions continue to be a problem – they tend to get mouldy in the damp weather. If we can source nice ones we will supply. If you order white onions, let us know if we can substitute red ones in case we can get good white ones.

Nicola potatoes are beautiful right now, and all sizes are available. Let us know what you need. Last week we had supplied some of the red skinned floury potatoes for mashing, and advertised that they would be available. However, over the weekend when we went to the potato market we found that they had completely disappeared. I can’t predict whether we will be able to get them again or not, since they are produced in small quantity, and are available for only a few weeks in the year. If you need them you can order, but we can’t guarantee to supply them. There should be some still around, and we will keep looking.

For details of availability of other items, please consult the lists below. If you need a price list, let me know and I will send you one. Prices continue unchanged from the list I sent earlier in the month.

Thank you all for your cooperation and patience during this rainy season, the worst time here for growing vegetables. We will continue to try to give you the best of what is available. We promise that by October (if the rains finish) the situation will be much improved, and we will be able to provide you with higher quality and more variety.

Until next week.

Best wishes,


AVAILABLE for next week: (N1500 minimum must come from this list)
Beef tomato
French Beans
Green Cabbage
Bok Choi
Chinese cabbage
Collard Greens
Salad cucumber
Pickling cucumber
Green pepper
Lettuce (limited varieties)
Red onion
Spring onion
Herbs (all varieties, but basil limited)
New Potato

LIMITED AVAILABILITY (You can order but we cannot guarantee supply or we will supply limited quantities on first come first served basis)
Endive frisee
Cherry Tomato
Plum tomato
Crookneck squash
Yellow courgette
White onion
Jalapeno pepper
Passion fruit
Physalis (Cape gooseberry)
Ginger root
Turmeric root
Sweet corn
Flowers (mixed bunch, roses)

NOT AVAILABLE for next week
Avocado pear
Red Cabbage
Shiitake mushroom
Oyster mushrooms
Pawpaw (papaya)
Roma beans
Snake beans
Snow peas
Swiss Chard
Sugar snap peas
Winter Squash (butternut, kabocha, other)


Anonymous,  1:19 pm  

all these vegetables are turning me vegetable

O.šeyï 1:49 pm  

First time on your blog... Will come back!!! I had to find out who Catwalq was talking about. lol.

Anonymous,  2:31 pm  

This is very nice. And they seem to have a good mix of the personal with the profesional. What is the name of this farm? Just reading the mail made my mouth water.

Nonesuch 3:27 pm  

is this in Naija? my Dad is in Jos now doing some research work i guess its time to visit.

Aloofa 3:48 pm  

Wow! Have you got the name of the farm. Nice blog u have there. LOL.

Moni 5:44 pm  

Sounds like you're dreaming of vegetables. This mailing wouldn't be out of place in Berkeley. Foreigners love Jos for a reason... this appears to be one of them.

Anonymous,  9:24 pm  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Judy123 10:38 pm  

Hi Jeremy,
You neglected to include a link of the farm website or contact details. Please do try to do so for fans of veggies like my self...

This is also a pointer to opportunities for mechanised farming in Nigeria.

My hubby supplies agricultural equipment to major farms in the Northern Nigeria. Was wondering if these people will need his services?

Jeremy 10:43 pm  

its Zamani Farms. email norma@zamanifarms.com

Atutupoyoyo 4:41 pm  

My mouth is watering……….

Nigerian Woman in Norway 12:09 pm  

what a delicious post. I'm such a foodie.

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