Another great labor day potato harvest yesterday. By all estimates we had more potatoes and more pickers than ever before. Many thanks to the over sixty folks who shared their labor day holiday laboring with us in the field. We pulled about 13,000 lbs. of spuds during the two and a half hours -and we still have over a thousand bed feet of potatoes to dig! Luckily, we have a vigorous school group from Merriconeag coming this week to help out. Thanks again everyone.
All of the spuds are now in the barn where they will cure under ventilation for the next few weeks while we sort and grade them. This year’s crop looks relatively clean of disease and sound which means we will be able to save seed from them for next year. Potato seed isn’t true seed but really just smaller potatoes that we keep over the winter and then plant in the spring. The little tubers sprout quickly and establish strong plants but unlike true seeds that are formed through a sexual/pollination process, they are effectively clones of their parent plant. The lack of genetic diversity these clones have makes them vulnerable to being wiped out by disease, i.e. the great potato famine of Ireland in the 1850’s. As farmers we try to counter the possibility by growing five varieties, with the hope that if we did have a problem with one or two the other three would persist.
With the arrival of potatoes comes the gradual shift from summer to fall. Many of you are sending kids back to school, taking the last fews days of camping, making those “before the snow flies” lists, etc. As you transition over the next few weeks, so will your share. Potatoes, winter squash, cabbage, and storage onions will all sneak in alongside tomatoes, peppers and eggplant for the next few weeks, easing you into the transition. Fall is such a great time in Maine and the produce seems to dovetail right into the cooler nights and crystal clear days, offering sustenance for the season ahead. Enjoy.
Savoy Cabbage is Classy
Savoy cabbage is in your share this week and we really think it is something special. This crinkled leaf (savoyed) cabbage is really sweet with a unique tangy finish flavor. It does really well in coleslaw mixed with that green cabbage you still have from last week or even braised quickly. Look here for our favorite recipes. The past couple years we have made an effort to grow smaller cabbage heads with the idea that everyone could use them in one or two dishes instead of having to try and figure out how to make four meals including cabbage in one week! We do this by planting them closer together in the fields, crowding the plants and making them share nutrients and water, keeping them smaller. Even with this effort though, many of these savoy heads are still quite large. You can always share some with the neighbors.
Canning Tomatoes for Sale
In the cooler months, you can enjoy the flavor and vibrance of summer with your own preserved tomatoes – whole, sauce, or however you please. We will continue to have flats of “imperfect” slicing tomatoes from the fields for sale this week at $10 for a 10lb. flat ($.75/lb) for those of you who would like to start canning or freezing. Our own Roma tomatoes are also for sale at $17.50 for a 14lb flat ($1.25/lb.). The canning/roma tomatoes are low moisture/concentrated flavor and take less time to prep and sauce than the slicing varieties. We also have a few cases of wide mouth quart canning jars for sale at $14/case. Want to can or freeze for the first time here’s our favorite how-to site http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/
CSA sign-up for 2011 begins this week
We will be taking deposits starting this week for the 2012 season. Your commitment to the CSA in the fall is vital to our planning for the coming season. We realize you have many great choices when is come to spending your local food dollars and we are proud to be your farmers. A deposit of $100 will not only secure your share for next year but will get you on our winter payment plan. Having all of you sign up early is an enormous help to us for our planning process as well as reducing our administrative duties next spring, when we are busy in the fields.
What’s in Upic?
Cherry toms (one pint per share please)
What’s in the share?
Baby Bok Choi