Howdy folks! Fall has certainly ushered itself in. And I’m not talking about the change in temperature. I’m talking about waiting in line at Hollenbeck’s Cider Mill to get the world’s best cider donuts and apple cider. I have a bunch of donuts in the freezer and I’m already out of cider.
Ok, so I am talking about the weather too. I’ve been talking the last couple of weeks about how great the weather has been. It’s still been great. In fact we had some really warm days for the end of September. But as last week went on, the nighttime temperatures kept getting lower. They got low enough to cause a little concern. They were calling for the mid-thirties Saturday night. It ended up only getting down to about 38-39 but I went out and covered whatever peppers I could in the field. When it drops into the 30s, there are a bunch of crops (tomatoes, peppers, basil, to name a few) that could be damaged. Luckily I don’t think it was too cold for too long to do much damage on the susceptible crops, except for the basil, but we had a good run this season with it.
As the harvest continues to roll in, we continue to prepare for the rest of the fall into winter. Last week we spent a lot of time in the hoophouses working on the tomatoes. We’ve had an epic harvest this season. We’re approaching 4,000 pounds of beefsteaks, heirlooms and cherry tomatoes harvested so far this season. That’s more than 1.5 times than last year’s harvest and we harvested into November in 2015!! Even though the heirlooms and cherries are on the decline, the beefsteaks are still going strong and we want all of them to go as long as possible. One thing that we do to help is to prune the bottom leaves once fruit clusters have ripened. This helps to create more airflow which will help to minimize disease.
Even though the tomatoes are grown in a covered and protected space, they are still susceptible to disease, especially late in the season. Another thing that we do is to “top” the plants when they are close to the end of their lifespan. This signals to the plant to stop putting energy into new growth and to put most of the energy into ripening the remaining fruit. This is exactly what we did with our heirloom tomatoes.
Ok, on to this week’s CSA share. As I mentioned, the harvest is rolling in and this week is no different. There will be lettuce mix, kale, chard, beets, new potatoes, green onions, garlic, beans, summer squash, eggplant, hot peppers, green peppers, beefsteak, heirloom and cherry tomatoes. There will be more red peppers. This week it will be a mix of red bells and red Italian fryers. There will also be tomatillos and enough ground cherries for everyone to get a box. I’m not 100% sure yet but there even be snow peas this week. Our spring peas kept the woodchucks well fed, so I’m glad that the fall peas are going to work out. One of my favorite things to make with tomatillos is a green salsa. I’ve always roasted my tomatillos but I tried this recipe over the weekend for a charred salsa verde. It came out great and definitely cut some serious time off. Enjoy!!