Well, folks, it happened. After a beautiful day last Tuesday, the weather took a serious turn. Our first frost of the season was on the horizon. And that meant a shift in priorities on the farm. We still had many crops in the field that would either be killed by the frost or potentially damaged. That being said, time was spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday harvesting crops that wouldn’t make it and covering crops that could be adversely affected by the frost. It was busy and wet (almost 2 inches of rain) but we managed to salvage as much as we could from the field by harvesting the remaining peppers, tomatillos, green tomatoes and ground cherries. The swiss chard and lettuce that will hopefully be ready in the coming weeks were covered. The crops in the hoophouses and greenhouse made it through Friday night unscathed. Although, I did have a moment of paranoia on Friday at about 9:30 that the greenhouse heaters weren’t working. So I headed down to the greenhouse with a headlamp and climbed a ladder to check the thermostats and make sure the heaters would go on. Crisis adverted and I was able to sleep easy that night.
In addition to getting the farm ready for the first frost, I had students from CULI101 out to the farm last Monday afternoon for a farm tour. This is the first Culinary class that students in the Culinary Arts program take at Tompkins Cortland. Since they spend most of their time at Coltivare, it was great to have them out here connecting them to the farm and the Farm to Bistro concept we are trying to achieve. While the students were here, they also picked up an order of produce based on what was available to prepare in a cooking competition they were having on Wednesday. I was invited down and had the opportunity to taste 16 different dishes that had farm produce featured. Everything was great and I was really impressed by the creativity and variation of the cuisine.
Alright, on to this week’s CSA share. In the choice this week there will be a bunch of veggies harvested before the frost. There will be a mix of green bell and frying peppers. They are mostly small and cute but I didn’t want to see them go to waste. The hot peppers this week will be a mix of anaheims and hot portugals, two mild peppers that were out in the field. As well as one more distribution of shishito and poblano peppers. We also cleared out as many green tomatoes from some varieties that we grow out in the field. These tomatoes are probably a little small for fried green tomatoes but are perfect to pickle. And there will also be greens this week to choose from. The bok choi/tat soi mix is taking a week off to regrow but there will be kale, chard and the return of spinach. This is regrowth of the spinach from a couple of weeks back and our covering of it kept the deer at bay. There will also be tomatillos, eggplant, beets, sweet peppers, garlic, kohlrabi, cherry tomatoes, beefsteak and heirloom tomatoes (which will be combined in one choice). There are two new items this week. There will be fennel, which I love to roast with beets and probably our only week of winter squash. We got our squash planted a bit late this season and a lot of it didn’t size up before the frost which is a bummer. But there will be a choice of mostly acorn and delicata with a few spaghetti squash and pie pumpkins in the mix. The acorn and delicata are delicious halved, de-seeded and roasted with a little olive oil and maple syrup. These squash have tender skins and don’t need to be peeled.
Have a great week!