Happenings on the Farm
The past few weeks have been wet. We recorded about 9" of rain on the farm in roughly two weeks. The wetness was enough to wash out many of our summer crops in just a short period of time. Tomatoes are officially over as they appear to now be infected with late blight and about 3 or 4 other major diseases, which is common for this time of year. We took great care this year not to spray our tomatoes with any organically certified fungicides so this is just the natural end to a delicious tomato season. It was really a one two punch from Irene and then following tropical storm system that moved through the area. Irene's strong winds knocked many of the tomatoes down and the next front (lee) wiped us out.
The farm continues to march on and will produce large quantities of good food for the remainder of the season. We have begun to pull the winter squash in from the fields, lots of it, bin load after bin load and will place it in the greenhouse to cure before distributing it. Leeks are in the field ready to be picked and we should have a generous supply that will last throughout the season. They are a wonderful addition to many fall dishes. The leeks are sweet, not too pungent and have a unique flavor that can add depth to many simple dishes including potato leek soup. The potato crop has been fantastic this year and we continue to pull in amazing spuds. Yesterday, with the sun shinning we pulled in about 880# of potatoes. We typically begin to harvest large quantities this time of year so that we can have large amounts of food stored up heading into the colder months of October and November. On a similar note we have been squirrling away onions since the middle of July and we will have a nice supply of storage onions for the remainder of the season.
Spaghetti squash and acorn squash willl be the first two squashes distributed. Spaghetti squash is available currently and acorn will be curing in the greenhouse for roughly 7 days. Spaghetti squash is harvested early in the fall or late summer, it is oblong in shape with a creamy-yellow thick skinned shell. It can be stored in a cool dry place for approximately 1 month. If you have never cooked with this crop before don't worry it's easy. Cut in half length wise, remove seeds, drizzle with olive oil and bake face down at 375 degrees until tender (about 40 mintues). When finished use a fork to scrape out the yellow flesh, it will look like spaghetti and has a sweet taste. What makes squash so great is that they are very nutritious and usually have a sweetness to them that will entice even those who despise vegetables. Acorn squash will be out shortly for week #16 and #17. The variety of acorn squash that we grew this year is called Honey Bear. They are small to medium dark green fruits that have an orange to slightly amber colored and sweet, nutty flesh. As far as squash go it is near the bottom in terms of sweetness. People often use this squash as a stuffer but there are obviosly many things one can do with an acorn. Onc common recipe idea is to stuff the acorn squash with in season apples, walnuts, cinnamon and drizzle of maple syrup. Lots more squash after that sweet dumpling, carnival, delicata, butternut, red kuri, buttercup, long island cheese and baby blue hubbard to name a few.
We are beginning to head into fall with some slightly above average looking fall brassica crops. Broccoli and cabbages look slightly below average as they were ravaged by flea beetles leading up to Irene. The cauliflower, collards, red and green kales look great and we should be distributing the bulk of them as soon as they are ready, typically around week #18. Broccoli will be available as it is ready, but you may notice some browing near the surface of the flowerets. This is a result of 9" of rain and no sunshine for a week, but it is still tasty and only superficial damage. Most browing can be removed by simply trimming it out with a paring knife. The carrots, beets and parnsips for the fall look great but need some more time to size up and sweeten. You can anticipate a small gap in the availability of carrots and beets for at least one more week. Once they are ready we should have a nice supply to last us the duration of the season typically for the last 4-5 weeks of the CSA distribution.
That's all for now folks. We hope you enjoy another week of seasonal, local, and organic produce!
Farmer Chris and crew (Chris W, Cody, Heidi, Amy, Georgie, and Jari)