Week of October 21st – CSA Newsletter #20

Last week was a wild ride, weather wise. The cold and wind caused havoc on our row cover that is protecting some of our frost sensitive crops. Even with rocks every few feet holding down the covers, they still needed to be checked every few hours because they were blowing the rocks off. And that causes me some serious stress. Why? Well, I’m glad that you were thinking that. A few years back we headed out to the field and saw something that I’ve never seen in all my years farming. From the top of the field we saw in the distance what looked to be a giant kite floating about 50 feet in the air. Except that it wasn’t a kite. It was a 3000 square foot piece of row cover caught in the wind. With our jaws dropped, we witnessed the row cover dance and twist its way out of the farm field above the trees all the way across Route 13 to the other side. It’s a miracle that nothing serious happened that day but I definitely worry every time we have row cover out in high winds! To top it off, we got another 2 inches of rain last week. With the shorter days and less sun, standing water is returning in some spots of the farm. And it just so happens that there was standing water in some of the beds where we still have beets and lettuce in the ground. Aah, the joys of farming. With the sun that we had over the weekend, the water had receded when we went out to the field to harvest today. But it means that we have to get those crops out of the ground sooner than later.

Last week continued my run of farm tours (I have at least one group on the calendar each week until Thanksgiving) and another speaking engagement. Students from Groton High School came for a visit to learn about our Sustainable Farming and Food Systems degree and tour the farm. I was particularly excited about this visit because Groton has recently focused on revitalizing an agriculture emphasis with their students. Their Ag teacher will be teaching one of our Food Systems seminars at the high school through Concurrent Enrollment with Tompkins Cortland, they put up a hoophouse and we are working on ways for future collaboration. The talk I gave last week was for New York state high school counselors at The Food & Farm Experience sponsored by the NY Farm Bureau. It was a great opportunity to share what we are doing here at Tompkins Cortland and the career opportunities in agriculture and food systems with folks from across the state.

Ok, let’s get to this week’s CSA share. The choice this week will consist of rainbow chard, kale, spinach, stir fry mix and mini head lettuce. The lettuce is a little smaller than usual but was in an area that was in standing water for a few days and I just didn’t want to chance it not making it. There will be more kohlrabi, beets, fennel, eggplant, hot peppers, garlic, tomatillos and a mix of sun tan (they’ve started to turn color) and sweet peppers. The tomatoes have slowed down significantly but they are still trudging along and will also be available this week. There are also two new items this week. First, there will be napa cabbage. This type of cabbage is very versatile in how it can be prepared. We really enjoy using it in stir fry’s or cabbage rolls in our house. The other new item this week is one that most of you are probably unfamiliar with. They are ground cherries. These little wonders look like mini tomatillos because of their husks but are anything but. I find their flavor to be like a tropical grape but I get so many other descriptions when people try them that it’s hard to pin point it. I usually just pop them out of the husks and snack on them or add them to salads.

Have a great week!

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