Steady rain is falling now and will continue into tomorrow, but we got most of today’s harvest in before the wet set in. (And first thing this morning was gorgeous…you’d never have suspected the clouds would be rolling in.) The crew today: Glen, Anna, Brittany, and making her SSF debut, CSA workshare member Pat. After the greens and beans were finished, Brittany helped Sonya wash and sort in the barn while the rest of us dug potatoes, 8 buckets worth by noontime. Thanks, everyone! Thanks also to Sigrid, who spent her Labor Day yesterday hanging out with both kids while Sonya and I got some work done, and to Shana, who harvested with us last Thursday and Friday mornings. Her workshare shift is done, and we will miss her!
Beyond the usual harvesting and animal care this past week, we also got a couple of larger projects done. One was sowing pasture seed in Field 2. Much of that field was left fallow by design this season, and last Wednesday, Sonya mowed and spaded the half of the field closer to Summit Spring Road (a handful of beds are in use in the other half of the field…flowers, onions, kale, cabbage, etc.) Then we walked the beds and broadcast by hand a pasture seed mix I picked up at Paris Farmer’s Union a couple months ago. The mix features different grasses plus clover and alfalfa. Finally, Sonya and Lydia went through with the tractor and used the spader to very lightly kick dirt over the seed. A bit of well-timed rain fell a day or two later, and hopefully the seed will take off and get established before the weather turns colder. As I wandered up and down the beds, tossing seeds, I was struck by the fact that we really are in a period of great change for the farm. Before we arrived here, the entire open part of the property was hay field…then we opened up some land, and for 5 seasons, Field 2, our largest field, was the farm workhorse, loaded with all manner of veggies, herbs, and flowers…now as we transition away from the CSA, we are returning that part of the farm to pasture. It was a little sad yet also satisfying to close that circle. And the sheep and whatever other critters we may end up bringing into the farm will be very happy with that pasture next year!
The other big project was the onion harvest. We’ve been harvesting sweet onions as needed for weeks now, but the time had come to get the rest of the crop out of the ground in one fell swoop, especially considering the rain expected this week which could cause the bulbs to rot if left in the ground. While I moved sheep, Sonya and Lydia got the whole job done, pulling every last sweet and storage onion out of the bed and loading them into crates and harvest baskets. Later that evening, I stacked the crated onions onto a table in the greenhouse, covered the tops with burlap sacks, and put a couple of fans on them to hasten the drying process. Like garlic, the onions will keep for a long while once they have a chance to fully dry out.
CSA share #13 for the 2012 season includes the following veggies:
1.5 lbs of potatoes
1 bunch of carrots
1 lb of Dragon’s Lingerie or wax beans
1 head of lettuce
Choice: 1 bunch of chard -or- green cabbage (Friday CSAers: Farmer’s choice)
1/2 pint of husk cherries
2 sweet peppers
1 sweet onion
1 head of garlic
1 enormous bunch of basil
Up to 12 lbs (!!!) of tomatoes (beefsteak, heirloom, Romas, and/or Juliettes)
I offer up this quote from SSF 2012 Super Volunteer Brittany Wallingford: “Dragon’s Lingerie beans are like a waterfall in your mouth.” We couldn’t have said it any better than that, and we hope you’re enjoying the beans! (Note: Brittany’s analogy should NOT be confused with the torture technique known as “waterboarding”.) Those wacky husk cherries have been around for a few weeks now, often as a share choice, but this is the first week that we have enough of them to pass along to everyone. The sweet little fruits are related to the tomato and the tomatillo…just peel off the paper and pop ‘em in your mouth. We usually just snack on them or put them in smoothies. They can also be frozen and used in smoothies or shakes down the road. We’ve heard they make excellent jam, and some friends mentioned last season that they mashed husk cherries up with hot peppers to make a quick sweet-and-spicy relish for fish. Experiment and enjoy! The tomato peak is RIGHT NOW, so get creative with all those tomats in your share this week. Here at the farm so far we’ve canned tomatoes, made a few giant batches of tomato sauce (and frozen most of it), whipped up a tomato curry, made enchilada sauce (most of it frozen, too), and made fresh salsa, as well as eating those suckers raw in salads, BLTs, the ever-popular caprese sandwich (sliced heirloom tomatoes, mozzerella, basil, and olive oil), etc.
We hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend, and that you all are navigating the seasonal changes OK…cooler weather, back to work, back to school, etc. This week is eventful for us, too. Lydia is back at pre-school after a week off, Ezra’s first day at daycare is happening today, and Sonya spends her first full day down at USM tomorrow. Madness! Enjoy the veggies, folks, and have a great week!