Some hot days last week weren’t enough to convince me…summer really is over, and it sure felt like fall this past Sunday as we all spent much of the morning engaged in that quintessential “autumn in Maine” activity: apple picking! We visited Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner for the deed, a family farm (10 generations, since 1803!) that is fairly close by and, more importantly, offers organic pick-your-own options. We wandered around the hill on a gorgeous cool and windy morning, checking out the rows of apple, pear, and cherry trees, plus a grape arbor. After filling 2 bags with Cortlands, Macs, and Jonagolds and a short tractor ride around the hill, we hit the farm stand for cider donuts and the outdoor play area. Lydi had a great time climbing around on a tractor and jumping around in various inflatable bounce houses while Ez enjoyed giggling at the baby goats and watching all the big kids zip around. And those apples? A whole mess of ‘em went into a superb apple pie Son made later in the day…yum!
That apple-picking excursion almost didn’t happen, by the way, for when I went out Sunday morning to let out and feed the chickens and check in with the sheep, I found…no sheep! A section of fence was down, and that told me everything I needed to know. A gut feeling I’d had (and ignored) the evening before…that the sheep seemed restless and perhaps should be moved early…turned out to have been correct. A bit later, a couple of guys pulled into the driveway with word that our flock was holed up in a barn way out on White Oak Hill Road! That floored me…it’s one thing for the sheep to get loose, but, man, they covered some distance. I drove over in the minivan, and got everyone home in two trips. The old guard of Sienna, Lake, and Coco jumped right in the back of the van when I put a dish of grain back there. Jeffe and Fiona were a little more challenging…catching and lifting were required…but soon all the sheep were back at the farm and in the winter pen (along with the guinea hens, who seemed happy to have the sheep back, too.) Note to self: move those sheepies more often now, for the grass isn’t as lush or fast-growing as it was a month or two ago!
CSA share #15 (15? Really!?) for the 2012 season includes the following veggies:
2 lbs of potatoes (Satina)
1 lb bag of beets
1 bunch of French Breakfast radishes
1 bunch of leeks
1/2 lb bag of purple, wax, or Dragon’s Lingerie beans
1/2 lb bag of spicy mixed greens
1 bunch of chard
1 pint of husk cherries
2 sweet peppers
1 sweet onion
1 head of garlic
1 lb of tomatoes (beefsteak, heirloom, Romas, and/or Juliettes)
We’re pleased to welcome crisp, spicy French Breakfast radishes back into the share this week. Those radishes will liven up a salad or sandwich, and our fall crop is looking wonderful! The bag of greens included this week is what we have in the past called “braising mix”, a combination of baby kale, mustard greens, vitamin green, and tatsoi (or Asian spinach). This spicy mix can be enjoyed raw or used as cookin’ greens by sauteing, steaming, etc. Enjoy!
I failed to mention last week that while the rest of the crew worked on harvesting potatoes, I drifted over to the squash beds and harvested the last few winter squashes. I wish I could report that this took hours, but alas, it only took twenty minutes or so and a couple of 5-gallon buckets. What I got, too, was small and probably won’t keep very long. We basically lost the entire crop this season to the insanely high squash bug population, the same critters who cut our zucchini crop down after a promising start. So, folks, there will be no pumpkins or winter squash in your shares this season. We apologize, and as eaters, we share your pain…we love having a solid supply of squash to help us through the winter and provide us with the base for everything from quick breads to soups and stews. Like you all, we’ll have to look elsewhere for most of our winter squash this year.
Finally, a reminder that MOFGA’s annual Common Ground Country Fair is happening up in Unity this weekend. This “celebration of rural living” has something for everyone: prize-winning organic veggie and livestock displays, kids’ activities, music, classes and lectures, ag and green products and demos, and food, food, food!! Alas, we are skipping the fair this year…too darn much is happening in our world this weekend…but we urge one and all to check it out and support local, organic endeavors in the process!