Frost, The Real Thing

Friday night was cold, really cold. By the looks of the burning the crops and perrinials around here, I would guess we had a temp somewhere around 26. I could have given you a more exact number but I as not here…more on that later.  This kind of cold usually doesn’t really hurt the crops we have around this time of year except when it comes out of nowhere. Frost-hardy crops like kale, chard and cabbage that we’ve been enjoying the past couple of weeks usually do fine with anything above twenty.  The exception is when we have really mild temps and then we get a crash – just like last week when we had balmy days and nights prior to friday night’s cold. The plants get used to the warmth and can’t adjust to the quick drop – especially when the drop is so far below freezing.

The good news is that most of our remaining kale, chard, cabbage, leeks, parsnips and turnips are doing well. The heartbreaker is that the broccoli we had hoped to harvest this week and next is a total loss. The upic field as well is done, as you can see from the photo of the Zinnias below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we wind down the CSA season Mother Nature is assuring us that our timing is right and winter is on its way.

Two Weeks Left…

Next week will be our last harvest and we hope to send you home with a good load of stuff including two pumpkins, potatoes, parsnips and turnips. Its always sad to come to them end of a season but winter helps us make the most of the summer to come.

Sign up Now for 2013

The time has come to sign up for 2013. Some of you may know that our CSA filled up early in the spring and many members from 2011 who intended to sign up were disappointed to miss the opportunity.  In fact since late spring we have been maintaining a growing wait list of people who are not currently members who would like to join for 2013.  With this in mind we would like all current members who are interested to sign up in the next couple of weeks before we open it up to former members and then new members on the wait list on October 22nd.

What Happens to the Farm in the Winter?

I wish I could report that us farmers begin our hibernation sleep on November 1st, eating mashed potatoes for every meal and barring the door until the next spring, but it’s not true. While winter is a slower pace than our 80 hour weeks during the season, once the last harvest is done we begin the process of getting ready for the season to come. Almost everything you could imagine that goes into making the CSA work during the summer is usually broken, lost or in desperate need of updating this time of year.  If we’re lucky a lot of this rebuilding is done during November and December.  Before the end of the year we start planning the season to come; signing up new CSA members, ordering seeds and supplies, hiring apprentices, working on the website and catching up on sleep.  With February comes lambing (we expect somewhere near 100 lambs next spring) and by March we are back in the greenhouse starting the first seedlings of the year. The new farm crew arrives in April and then the momentum starts again, finally coasting to a stop right back where we are in October.

Farmer Seth in Haiti

I was lucky enough to travel to Northeastern Haiti this past week. There I met several groups of farmers and learned about their crops, seasons, pests, and livelihoods. One of the many things I worked on was the identification of a pest that has been ravaging almost every crop they grow for the past couple seasons. These farmers have no access to entomologists, USDA scientists or cooperative extension agents and as a result have been just suffering through the damage this one pest has done to their livelihoods. Within 24 hours of taking a photo of the bug and sending it off to a USDA research station in Puerto Rico I had the it identified and was tracking down sources for two beneficial insects that have been used effectively to control this pest on neighboring islands. In the next few weeks we hope to import a population of these beneficials to the area and hopefully impact next years crop for the farmers of this area.

If you missed the description of the trip in last weeks newsletter here’s a link. I also hope to send out a mid-week posting with photos and more information about my travels.

Pumpkins for the People

We will have pumpkins for you this season. The crew  harvested over 700 many weeks ago and have been curing them in the barn.  This year’s crop is only jack o’lanterns.  In the past we grew pie pumpkins but the feedback we received was that people were using the pie pumpkins for decoration.  We should have enough for 2 per share but if you would like to donate one or both of yours to a family with more than 2 kids let us know.  Look for pumpkin distribution to happen next week.

Turnips and Parsnips Are Great. Read on and you’ll believe me.

You are lucky enough to be getting not one but two kinds of turnips this week. The small turnips that you’re getting by the bunch are japaneese Hakurei and the are great raw, sliced into a salad or eaten right off the greens. Sweet and creamy these are great. We also have the classic purple top turnip that is a great high vitamin starch root that goes great with mashed potatoes or greens. Here’s  a few recipes from the website.

Also this week are New England’s best kept secret (vegetable), parsnips. This sweet and nutty root is a relative of the carrot and gets sweet and delectable when roasted or mashed. Here’s a couple recipes from the website as well.

What’s in the Share

Parsnips

Turnips

Potatoes

Kale/chard

Lettuce

Chickories

Hakurei turnips

Sweet potatoes

Butternut squash

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