Fall and the Long View

What’s in Upic?……

Thyme Chives Basil

Parsley Cilantro Beans

All Flowers

As the middle of September arrives we have begun to feel a tangible change in the season. The harvest focus we have been maintaining for the past six weeks or so has begun to slacken and we are able to look beyond to the work of preparing the farm for the coming winter. While there are still major crops to be brought in (winter squash is the heavy one that comes to mind) and weekly cutting for your share, during the next few weeks we will find our days filled more and more with the process of transitioning from production to rest. The most visible evidence of this work is the rows of vegetables slowly being replaced by blocks of dark green cover crops that will protect and enhance the soils over the winter. We have found time in the past month to plant about five acres of oats and peas, which are coming up strong in three of the fields. Most of our cover crops are, like oats and peas, a combination of legumes and grains. The two work together to produce and hold in soil nutrients that, come the spring, they will release and make available for the next crop.

These cover crops hold a second purpose on our farm –they feed sheep in the early winter after the grasses have gone dormant. Our ewes, which began breeding this week, will be between their second and third trimesters in late November-December. These first weeks of winter are crucial for maintaining the overall conditioning of the animals for the remainder of their pregnancies and the winter beyond lambing. The ewes mow these crops for us, fattening themselves while leaving seventy percent of the forage behind in a very available form, their manure. Now when you look out on those fields of green like we do, you can see baby lambs running in next years pastures and vibrant vegetables in next years fields.

Arugula. We have been doing well by this plant lately but it seems all of you are a bit cautious about taking too much home. Give it another try. This green is very versatile and the plantings we have been cutting lately are rich and relatively mild. Here’s a link to a couple recipes, including arugula salad and rustic pesto. http://crystalspringcsa.com/archives/category/recipes/arugula

Potato Alert Continues! We have another variety for you this week, but like the reds last week they may not keep well outside the fridge. Please refrigerate them if you are not going to eat them in the first day or two.

CSA sign-up for 2010 underway. 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. Thanks to all of you who signed up last week, it’s great to have your support in this year of less than outstanding yields in the fields. We are very proud to be your farmers.

Organic apples for sale again this week from our friends at Willow Pond Farm in Sabattus. These Red Free apples are great. This is a high quality fresh eating and sauce variety that is certified organic. Available for sale singly and in 5lb. bags. More varieties (including clapp’s favorite pears) and their stellar cider will be available in the coming weeks.

Crystal Spring whole and half lambs for sale starting this week…see us at pick-up for all the details.

There was a great column about CSA by member Sarah Wolpow in the Times-Record. Here’s the link: http://www.timesrecord.com/articles/2009/09/11/features/doc4aaa89e37a3ad730001720.txt

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