Really feels like fall this week. The weather gurus are talking up the possibility for the first frost (even for us coastal folks) this Thursday or Friday. I personally don't think it will happen as it will be the earliest frost by five days we will have seen on this farm in our 11 years here. That said we have been getting ready this week for the cold that will arrive one day or another. Harvesting peppers, eggplant and the last of the tomatoes is the easy part. Larger tasks are bringing in the ample winter squash and sweet potatoes. Sweetening the Crop Harvesting sweet potatoes is complicated. Certain varieties of this southern crop actually grow easily here and the plants flourish all summer virtually pest free. The complicated part comes in when we harvest. First the crew has to cut away a think tangle of vines from the surface, allowing us to come in with a tractor and loosen the soil around the clusters of tubers. We have to be very careful handling the potatoes at this point as their skin is very delicate and comes off if they are handled roughly. Because of this we pull the tubers by hand and grade them by size into vented lugs. These lugs are then packed into an insulated room and we crank up the heat to 85 degrees and let them cure for about 10 days. The curing hardens the skins making them easier to handle but more importantly it signals the potatoes to convert their starches into sugars -which is what we all love about this crop. This process started last week so with any luck all of you will see your first sweets in the share next week!