Well, it’s finally happened….. The first frost of the year. After another beautiful start to the week, the end of last week finally returned to appropriate fall temperatures. And then over the weekend we had our first two frosty mornings. The first frost of the season is always a little bittersweet to me. I look at it as the end of the summer season of vegetables and then the true start of the fall heartiness. Lots of the fall crops that we grow begin to sweeten up as their sugars go into overdrive with the cooler nighttime temperatures. Our fall carrots (which we haven’t begun to harvest yet) really benefit from this. Even though we had these frosts, there wasn’t too much damage. I was hoping to get one more harvest of basil but it was toast this morning when I got out to the field. The only other crop that showed any significant signs of damage was our beans. We have two more plantings out in the field, one that we started harvesting last week and one that is loaded with flowers. I’m hopeful that we’ll still get some more beans but we’ll have to wait and see.
Last week we continued to our push to get ready for the winter months on the farm. Because the weather can turn to the point of no return at any moment, we are trying to get larger quantities of our root crops out of the ground. We were able to get more beets, carrots and potatoes out of the ground. Hopefully, most of the rest of them will be out by the end of the month. Another big job last week was to “top” our heirloom tomato plants.
Their production has significantly slowed down and to help ripen the remaining fruit on the plants, we cut of their tops to signal to the plants that the end is near and they should focus their remaining energy on ripening. We also began to create more airflow in the greenhouse tomatoes by pruning their lower leaves. Since we plan on pushing these tomatoes as long as possible and have harvested from most of the lower fruit clusters, it’s a perfect time to take off any unneeded leaves to help minimize disease.
At the end of this week, we will begin to harvest our baby ginger. The farm will be participating in the Fire Cider Celebration and Market at Bramble in downtown Ithaca on Sunday October 8th. If you’ve never had Fire Cider before, I highly recommend it. At this market all the vendors will be selling ingredients to make your own and their will be demonstrations to teach you. It should be a great time and I look forward to seeing some familiar faces.
Let’s get to this week’s CSA share. Even though we’ve had our first frost, we are going to continue to push our yummy summer veggies for as long as we can. The choice this week will include eggplant, sweet bell peppers, sweet frying peppers, heirloom tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and saladette tomatoes. There will be the return of the shishito peppers. Those are the little Japanese frying peppers that can just be pan-fried whole until they blister. They make a yummy little side dish. There are more hot peppers, lettuce mix, rainbow chard, kohlrabi, garlic, carrots, beets and potatoes, as well. This week’s potatoes are mostly a small russet type. They roast perfectly! I’m hopeful that we’ll have time to pick beans and that there isn’t too much damage to them. I didn’t get a chance to look at them too closely today. Oh, and the new item this week are snow peas. They are sweet and crunchy!
If you’ve been a little shy of the kohlrabi, here is a simple kohlrabi and carrot slaw recipe to get you going.
Have a great week!