More local food, cooking!

Local beef sausage and garden veg, cooking

OK, perhaps not the MOST appetizing of food photos, but the point is, that’s how it looked, and it tasted great—more all-local, dead-simple cookery! Here we have my first time with this grass-feed beef honey garlic sausage from a few miles down the road—I could actually taste…honey; unusual and good! Alongside in the cast iron pan, sweet orange pepper (Orange Sun), the very last, slightly green zucchini (Golden Dawn III), and a mess of yellow cooking onion, all from the field. A little imported olive oil, salt and fresh ground black pepper, let braise-simmer for a while—an hour or so, with the zucchini added near the end—and…Bob’s yer uncle! Delicious, nutritious (I’m pretty sure), fun. :)

Peppers turn color!

Orange Sun and Gypsy sweet peppers

Red and orange peppers! It’d be nice if this was a normal sight, but with our short season and often as not inconsistent heat and sun—peppers love decent heat—peppers that fully turn color are fairly unusual in this market garden. Because they’re more uncertain, I’ve tended to give them lower priority, often transplanting them at the end of the queue, which doesn’t improve their chances. I also usually don’t mulch—peppers appreciate decent mulch of any sort (plastic especially, it’s so…efficient), the heated earth seems to really help them grow.

This year, we lucked out with the weather—unfortunately, we also planted the smallest amount of peppers ever. Oh, well, that’s how the garden gambling goes! Here we have Gypsy, a tapered hybrid that has a rather quick 65-day maturity, but takes longer to go from its pretty yellow-lime green starting color to…sweet red. I’ve grown this for a while, it always comes through, a tasty, prolific, all-purpose pepper that’s nice even when it’s not red. And then there’s the open-pollinated, heirloom Orange Sun, from seed I’ve had for years, a blocky bell pepper that needs a full 80 to 90 days, that I’ve seldom seen beyond its dark green initial color, now in a satisfyingly deep, rich orange. Taste changes with color, smoothing and sweetening—these guys are delicious!

After market

Packed up farmers' market stand

Around 1:25 p.m. and it’s just about time to head out from the farmers’ market, which officially ends at 1. This season, we’ve been storing the entire farm stand in the communal cage where vendors can leave stuff from Saturday to Saturday. The stand is quite the compact set-up, once it’s torn down and stowed away…efficiently. On the dolly, there’s the 10’x10′ E-Z UP canopy, half a dozen folding metal sawhorses and the plywood boards that turn them into tables, a pair of chalkboards, rough cut cedar display trays (a strip of four, and singles), pieces of 2×4 used to prop up the trays, and a plastic water jug used as a canopy weight (we normally have four, but this year we’ve been lashing the canopy legs to one of our neighbors, so weighting the four corners isn’t necessary). The only thing missing, besides the veg, of course, is our market box, which is a bin containing scales, bags, signage and so forth. Most farms come to market stand and all, as we did until last season’s start of…commuter farming—living off-farm—when logistics made leaving this gear at market a lot simpler. Anyhow, this huge exhibition hall houses the indoor market on Saturdays, November through April, and the big parking lot outside is where the summer outdoor market is located. The cage, a chain link fenced corner, is out of sight to the right. And that’s just about ALL the details. :)

Frost protection time again

Row cover frost protection

The frost-warning forecast from a couple of days ago, for 1°C (34°C), moved up a day to tonight. so there’s row cover all over the field. Some of it was floated out against the possibility of frost, the rest, as so-far-effective deer deterrent. Up front, around 800′ of snap beans, just starting to form, are bundled up against the cold. Then, row cover over carrots, and farther, lettuce, has been in place for a few days, and seems to still be keeping the deer from munching. In the distance, peppers and eggplant are under frost protection. Elsewhere, we’ve covered a few beds of cherry tomatoes to prepare for tonight. Winter squash and pumpkins are mostly in, and summer squash and cucumbers are finished, and the rest out there are hardy enough, and that’s about it!

Pumpkins in!

Pumpkin harvest

Brought in our compact collection of pumpkins today, ahead of likely frost this weekend. Never been big on pumpkins as far as quantity, but they are fun to have around. This year, some standards like Connecticut Field, a bunch of Small Sugar pie pumpkins—always handy—and one novelty type, Jamboree, in a fetching shade of greenish-grey-blue. Some went into the seedling room, the rest, under cover in the tiny greenhouse. One more fall thing done…and it’s still SUMMER!

Frost? Take your pick!

First frost forecast

First frost on Friday? It all depends on whose forecast you believe in. Because, as I’ve discovered over time, all weather forecasts are not created equal. The online weather page we’ve used for the last few years is often in sync with the others, but when it comes to cold, it can go its own way, and it’s usually right. Here, we have a low of 1°C for Friday, OR, I can go for a more veggie-friendly choice of two 6°C’s and a 5°C, from three of the big weather outlets. That’s the difference for me between row covering all the tender crops we’d like to save, and…not. There is a pattern: sites like this one that’re based on Environment Canada’s weather service (that’s the Canadian government) tend to be several degrees lower and more accurate. So it’s on with the row cover on Friday, then wait and see!