Week 13 CSA!!

It seems that cold hand harvest season is upon us. Although the 10-day looks pretty warm, especially over night, these past few cold nights (very low 40s here) have slowed things way down. The long season crops aren’t affected very much but the weekly successional sowings like micro greens and pea shoots have slowed way down. And waking up at 5 am to harvest has turned to 5:30, to 6, and even later now because it is very dark at that time! This past week or so it has been hoodies, wool vests, and winter hats in the morning to shorts and tee-shirts in the afternoon in the wash/pack shed.

But I’ll say that September has never felt better. I just love this time of year because the weeding is done, the field sowings are done, yet there is still a lot of produce coming out of the field = not a lot of labor but money is still coming in. In years past when I was leasing in Waterbury, I would have to start thinking about winter plans. The first few years I made plans to travel since my overhead and farm costs were very low. By the end of October I was putting the farm to bed and hitting the road, whether that was visiting family, heading to Burlington, hopping a plane south or starting a winter job. Nowadays, things are different. As we enter our third winter here on the land, we are definitely making plans, but they are very different than in years past. Instead of scouring Expedia for the best flights, I find myself scouring the Home Depot website for the cheapest rigid foam insulation, or craigslist for used three point hitch implements for the tractor, or turning the pages of an Eliot Coleman winter growing book to check in on seeding dates.

So while land ownership has presented a new way of life, this winter will present an even newer opportunity. After receiving an NRCS grant for high tunnel construction, Genica and I, with the help of my father and brother-in-law, will be putting up two more greenhouses which will make the indoor growing space mostly complete, for now. These hoop houses will provide the opportunity to try our hand at winter growing and season extension. Imagine spinach in February, or mixed greens in December, or carrots in May, or Kale all winter long - this winter will be our first foray into this aspect of Vermont farm life. I know I am excited for the opportunity to experiment and see what grows best before we really try to market the vegetables next winter. I am hoping there is interest in a “Winter Share” out there and I know some chefs will be interested in winter greens. But we must first see what does well in the cloudiest county in the state. So for now there are plans for some transplanted crops but mostly directly sown crops like spinach, arugula, asian greens, mixed greens, etc due to the timing of construction. I’ll keep you posted!

Onto the share!!

We still have some summer goodness with some scatterings of fall crops:

  • cucumbers - say goodbye to the seasons cucumbers. I pulled the last of the plants to make room for winter growing experimentation. There will be a photo below.

  • tomatoes - still going but seeming tired. I get it. A “chef’s Choice” orange, a “Marbonne” red tomato and a couple “Pink Boar.”

  • a quart of Russian banana potatoes, last night we roasted them in the oven with a few sausage links on top - the fat dripped down onto the potatoes, so good. Olive oil, salt and pepper was all we added. Though the cooking time took a lot longer than expected.

  • a few sweet onions - along with the potato sausage roast, I pan fried some onions and peppers for toppings. So good.

  • 3 Carmen Italian sweet peppers - the peppers have been so prolific this year.

  • chantanay carrots - ok, ok, I know carrots have been in the share frequently but people have been saying good things. And when I thought there would be now carrots this year due to grass weeds, well I was wrong. A little cultivation went a long way. As is always the case.

  • a bag of baby kale for raw eating, or cooking. As the weather cools, the kale thrives and that hardy flavor to me is synonymous with fall weather. We eat it just like mixed greens. But you can toss it in a stir fry at the end and wilt it too.

  • a bunch of lacinato kale (dinosaur)

  • and lastly - I know I mentioned last week that there would be no winter squash, well, turns out that wasn't entirely true. There won’t be much but there will be delicatas. These were picked yesterday so you may want them to sit out for a week or two in a warm place to encourage curing - starches turning into sugars. I don’t mean for you to do my work for me, I just got excited and put them the share anyway. What makes delicata squash nice is that the skin is edible so what we usually do is cut them in half and roast them with olive oil face down on a cookie sheet. They are done when you can easily get a fork into them. The rest of the delicata squash will have to go to grandmother who loves them. She has been affectionately called “grandma delicata” by a good friend of ours.

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Pulled the cukes to make room for lettuce. This will become baby lettuce at some point soon!

Pulled the cukes to make room for lettuce. This will become baby lettuce at some point soon!

Genica took this photo - the chard has been absolutely monstrous this year. This variety is appropriately called “Fordhook Giant.”

Genica took this photo - the chard has been absolutely monstrous this year. This variety is appropriately called “Fordhook Giant.”

So quick story: here at Naked Acre there is a “Carhartt Evolution.” They start as new carhartts, which are called “dress carhartts.” Dress carhartts are worn only for special occasions. From there they become “town Carhartts.” After a spell of front country wanderings, casual dinners, bon fires, etc. they move to “moderate work carhartts.” Moderate work does not include farm work. When they have exhausted “moderate work” they become “Farm Carhartts” where they begin to see out the rest of their days. I would consider this the “golden carhartt years” stage. After they have too many holes to make trips to the hardware store appropriate, they become “Tomato Pruning” Carhartts where they will never leave the farm again. It is here where pants die. Long story short, I fast tracked the Carhartt evolution this week by taking the tags off a brand new pair of pants and immediately doing field work! It was glorious! So this photo depicts the second hour of “fast tracked carhartt farm pants evolution.” Or “highly evolved carhartts.”  I call this photo “Carhartt Still Life with Onion and Turnip.”

So quick story: here at Naked Acre there is a “Carhartt Evolution.” They start as new carhartts, which are called “dress carhartts.” Dress carhartts are worn only for special occasions. From there they become “town Carhartts.” After a spell of front country wanderings, casual dinners, bon fires, etc. they move to “moderate work carhartts.” Moderate work does not include farm work. When they have exhausted “moderate work” they become “Farm Carhartts” where they begin to see out the rest of their days. I would consider this the “golden carhartt years” stage. After they have too many holes to make trips to the hardware store appropriate, they become “Tomato Pruning” Carhartts where they will never leave the farm again. It is here where pants die. Long story short, I fast tracked the Carhartt evolution this week by taking the tags off a brand new pair of pants and immediately doing field work! It was glorious! So this photo depicts the second hour of “fast tracked carhartt farm pants evolution.” Or “highly evolved carhartts.” I call this photo “Carhartt Still Life with Onion and Turnip.”

Ryan Z. DemarestComment