The light has turned this last week and we have started to process of bring in fall produce to cure. Onions and winter squash are our big fall crops aside from potatoes and these first two both have to cure in the dry heat of the greenhouse for a few weeks before we can share them with you. Plants, like us and keenly aware of the change in season and prepare themselves for winter in one way or the other. Onions are a biennial crop that grow to size one year and produce seed the next, continuing the process of reproduction that is the plants ultimate goal, one that we interrupt by eating them. We all know onions have layers and each layer is attached to a leaf. Our goal as farmers is to have onions with lots of strong leaves which will translate into thick layers and big bulbs. As the light changes the leaves begin to loose their vigor and the neck that separates the leaves from the bulb becomes soft. The top of the onion then flops over. This is the sign to us that the onion is no longer growing and the leaves are beginning to die back while the layers of the onion start to harden. This is called dormancy and for the plant its a process of storing energy for the winter so that the onion can make flowers and seed in the spring. For us it's the process of transforming a soft, fragile summer plant into a storable winter food. Our winter squash plants still look great and there is a lot of fruit out there. In the next couple weeks we expect the foliage to begin to die back and the squash will be ready for harvest and curing in the greenhouse. The dry heat of the greenhouse will pull some of the moisture from the fruit and concentrate the sugars, making squash that is bland when we harvest it into sweet satisfaction in a couple weeks. Unlike onions squash is an annual and goes from a seed to producing new seed in one season. This plant's reproductive strategy is to produce a sweet fruit that mammals of all sizes will eat, exposing the seeds that rodents can then bring into their winter storage areas underground. Like us, rodents can be forgetful or greedy and some of these stored seeds, buried in the ground will still be around in the spring, sprouting into new plants.