I went to sleep on Friday night thinking about a lot of things (kids soccer games, potato harvest, laundry -just to name a few). A killing frost was not even in my top 50. All forecasts during the week were for a stunning weekend (great soccer weather). Saturday morning I was up early to water and move sheep and repack the wheel hubs on the potato digger. I looked out across the pasture as the sun rose and knew I was in trouble. The light patches on the grass were frost and I immediately thought of just one thing -sweet potatoes. If it had been two weeks earlier my anxiety would have been diffused among many crops like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and tomatillos but all of these summer crops are done, leaving only one potential victim.
Sweet potatoes are a true snow bird crop for us. The green shoots arrive by mail from Tennessee each June and we hurriedly harvest them before it gets frosty, never to few the cold. When that southern box arrives in the spring we rush them into the ground laid with black plastic for warmth. Most years we can harvest them before the September equinox but this year we put that off. Hoping a warm fall and some rain would bulk these tubers up, they were on our list to harvest next week. That is until Saturday morning. Sweet potatoes are in the same family as the morning glory and are sensitive to frost is a way few other crops are. When the cold comes their leaves turn black like most sensitive plants but the vines also begin to decay quickly and release a chemical that can travel into the tubers and cause them to rot very quickly. Nothing is so painful as loosing a crop below ground.
We were able to harvest about half of the crop yesterday and cut the vines from the remaining tubers. While not our best harvest this looks like a solid crop -in spite of the change in the weather.
Our first real potatoes in your share are adirondack reds. These are great all-purpose potato with red skin and red flesh. No better excuse to turn on the oven than a raining cold day and a few potatoes to roast. More varieties to come in the next few weeks!
Renew Your Share for 2016
Many thanks to all of you who have signed up for 2016 already. Throwing your hat in with us now makes a huge difference for us as we plan our way towards another great season. Those who sign up now can take full advantage of our winter payment plan (not to mention its just done – and you don’t have to remember to do it later!). Your share is great value of fresh organic food that you know is grown well. Joining early allows us to work hard over the winter so we all can have the produce that makes our Maine summer taste so good. Click here for Brunswick Shares and here for Portland Delivered Shares
Pork for the Winter
Bacon, ribs, chops; need I same more? We will have more info on how to order pork at CSA pick-up, shoot us an email or click here for the digital version.
What’s in the Share?
Sugar Dumpling Squash
What’s in Upic?