The Waning of the Light

What’s in Upic?……

Thyme Chives Basil

Parsley Cilantro Beans

All Flowers

August comes to a close this week and we enter fall in full force. This passing month is traditionally one of celebration as plants begin to fruit and all of us finally settle into summer. In Old World agricultural society this month was set aside for families to get together and eat, enjoying the first harvest of grains and baking the first bread of the new season. Lammas or Lughnasa are pagan holidays from English and Irish calendars that mark this special time when the harvest begins but before the preparations for winter need to be addressed. Interestingly the August vacations many of us take with family still address this need to celebrate before buckling down again with work, school and the rapidly approaching winter.

As a farmer I see other significance with this time as well, watching the light rapidly disappear. Both crops and weeds transform almost before our eyes at this time as they prepare for their last month of uninterrupted growing. As the days shorten, plants that in June or July would be twelve or eighteen inches tall before they began to set seed, start this process at three and four inches, sensing that there is no time to waste in fulfilling their reproductive responsibilities. At the farm we use the changing light to our advantage by seeding large quantities of greens for October. Plantings of arugula, lettuce mix, asian greens, and kale that would be sown three weeks apart at the height of summer are seeded just seven days from each other. The rapid loss of light speeds up the succession time between these plantings during the first days of their emergence from the soil. These same plants push towards maturity and then hold their quality in the cool October air, allowing us to cut them each week for you.

One crop that we hope to have through the end of the year is baby bok choi. This is a staple in our greens mix and match and is great by itself or paired with more substantial vegetables. Here’s a quick and easy recipe for stir-fry using bok choi http://crystalspringcsa.com/archives/category/recipes/bok-choi.

Hopefully by now you have all had a chance to chat with our stellar group of apprentices this season. Kate, Kelsey, Douglas, and Bethany are the one of the best groups we have had in thirteen years of farming. Aside from mastering the daily running of this place (my vacation a few weeks ago attests to this), they are just great people that Maura and I really enjoy having around.

Pigs for sale. Order your whole or half pig and fill the freezer for the winter. These are our own pigs raised here at the farm and processed however you like them at a USDA inspected butcher. This is a great way to have the best quality farm-raised pork all winter long. Those of you who have ordered lambs from us or freezer meats from other farms know by that by buying a whole or half animal you can save money without compromising quality or conscience. Bacon, ham, sausage and ribs are all included and packed as you like. Neighbors and families can split halves or quarters. Whole pigs are $4/lb. hanging weight and halves are $4.25. Talk to us at pick-up for more details.

CSA sign-up for 2010 begins this week. Get on board early and beat the spring rush for CSA shares. Sign up now with a deposit and get on the easy winter payment plan. A $100 deposit will hold your share with payments in February, April and June of next year.

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