This year’s pumpkin haul

Assorted pumpkins

This season didn’t see too much pumpkin action in the garden, with less planted than in the past (although we’ve never planted A LOT).  Mixed with winter squash in a couple of locations, the spread-out pumpkin patch added up to somewhere around 50’x50′ (15x15m), about half of the usual, enough for 3 weeks of CSA, plus some for the farmers’ market. The selection was to-the-point as well, with lots of the freakishly fast-growing Neon (60-80 days!), a few Connecticut Field, and some compact Small Sugar for pie and Snackjack for seeds, all basic mildly-ribbed-and-orange, without the  unusual extras of most other years. True to past form, the hybrid Neons, even the ones transplanted quite late in June, completely ignored the mysteriously weird conditions this summer that slowed down just about everything else. Here, loaded on the trailer, is about half of the overall harvest. No intriguing pumpkin surprises, still, EVERY successful harvest is ALWAYS worth a high-five, therefore, officially fun… :)

Yes, carrots!

Freshly harvested Nelson carrots

Just-rinsed carrots in the soft light of an overcast day: beautiful every time! Some veggies look particularly good without trying… These are freshly pulled Nelson, at a pretty fair size but not yet fully mature, from our fourth planting of the season. Every year so far, I’ve put in at least four, sometimes five plantings in succession, and we rarely see really fat, full-sized carrots. This has worked well for CSA and farmers’ market: our carrots are freshly harvested every week, never from storage, and at a versatile size, always perfect for eating raw and usually big enough for convenient cooking as well. Today’s haul, bundled and laid out for rinsing on the long screen table, will be heading into CSA share bags in just a minute, for pick-up this afternoon…

Carrots, rinsed and bundled

Harvesting Jerusalem artichoke

Harvesting Jerusalem artichoke

For tomorrow’s farmers’ market, Lynn, Andie and Jordan harvested more of this year’s Jerusalem artichoke. The tubers have gotten noticeably bigger since pulling some just a couple of weeks ago… Chokes are a really simple, satisfying harvest, at least, when you pull up the plants in their first year. These guys are spaced at 12″ (30cm), so we just grab the usually multiple stems at each spot and tug. The main root ball is shallow and contains most of the tubers: pull ’em off, and bang the root clump a bit to get at the ones in the middle. You also have to scrabble around for maybe a hand’s width or two past the little root crater to find a few extra outlying tubers—guess that’s where the “invasive” part of choke lore begins, they do try to spread. Overall, though, it’s quick and easy, especially when the fall weather is mild like today. Nice!