Howdy folks! So, we’ve made it to the home stretch of the CSA season. Only three more weeks left after this week. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the season in depth over the next few weeks but I will say that with all we endured over the course of the growing season, this has been a very successful third farm season.
The frost that we got last Monday night was a pretty good one on the farm. Covering the lettuce and chard was a great idea because they made it through the night unscathed. I mentioned that we also covered three beds of peppers, the shishitos, hot peppers and padrons. That was a moderate success. Most of the shishitos got zapped by the frost but most of the hot peppers and padrons made it. I was bummed that the snow peas didn’t make it. We probably should have gotten around to covering them. I thought the variety that we grew was a little more cold hardy but that wasn’t the case. Oh, well. Live and learn. They were edible but the quality was way down. One thing that is really important to me is producing high quality vegetables and they just weren’t that great. We had a couple of other light frosts throughout the week but nothing too bad. I had the opportunity last week to take the Sustainable Farming and Food Systems students on a post-frost farm walk. Farm walks are important parts of the weekly tasks and this one was especially meaningful because they hadn’t been on the farm in a week and so much had changed.
We got two big jobs started last week. The first was to transplant spinach and swiss chard in one of our hoophouse areas. We plant them outdoors at first and then move the hoophouse over them for the winter. The movable hoophouses are great because it allows for a nice crop rotation and we can keep a summer crop going as long as possible (which is sadly going to end soon). The second was to start clearing out the beefsteaks in one of the hoophouses. I pride myself on vine-ripened tomatoes. The taste is unrivaled. The only time of the year that our tomatoes don’t ripen on the vine is the end of the season. We start pulling the ones that have begun to turn on the plants and leave them to ripen in the greenhouse. We also pull the green tomatoes for end of the season distribution and sale.
I guess this is a good segue to this week’s CSA share. The last 3 or so weeks have really been cranking with vegetables. I think we may have peaked and this week will be a little “lighter” in the number of items but there are some new ones. Clearing out the hoophouse tomatoes means it’s Fried Green Tomato time. There will also be more winter squash. I think I’m going to distribute one of my favorites, delicatas. Delicatas can be prepared just like the acorn squash from last week. There will be potatoes, beets, mini romaine heads, kale, chard, beefsteaks, green, red and hot peppers. Most likely the last of the eggplant, the return of cherry tomatoes and some more of we-do-our-best-to-pick-ripe-but-sometimes-they’re-not-melons. There may be another round of small broccoli but I’ll have to see in the am. The other new item in the share this week is something that is one of my favorite fall/winter veggies, rutabaga!!
I think that it’s a really versatile veg that can be roasted, mashed, fried, thrown in soups, etc., etc. We like to mash it a lot but I found this old Huffington Post article about the lovable rutabaga!
Have a great week folks!