The Nesco/American Harvest Food Dehydrator & Jerky Maker: a lil contraption purchased last summer, waiting for winter experimenting (thinking about the extra garlic). There’s of course some research to do, like the difference between drying and freeze-drying, what gets lost on the way, and how to test if it’s dry enough to store safely for a while (fruit should bend, but a dried pea when hit with a rolling pin should…shatter!?), the usual…stuff. Then, lots of garlic slicing!
Just snow. At least a foot down in the last few hours and still falling, fast and blowing a bit, but far from what I’d call a blizzard. Pretty! Next, warm and raining forecast for a couple days from now to take it all away. Up to a couple of years ago, I still hung on to the idea of an annual schedule for when to start and stop watching the daily weather that would mark the beginning and end of the growing season. Now, it’s take it as it comes, any time. Always exciting! (Where did the woodpile go?)
At the top of the winter reading book stack. From the 1970s. Bought by chance from a used book table in the trade show at an organic farming conference. Always fun to hear someone explain what they know and believe, in simple, articulate words. As opposed to…weasel words!
“When I am milking my cows in the barn early in the morning or when I am working in the field, sitting on a tractor for many hours with little interruption, sometimes with searchlights into the night, who is there to talk to? It is then that I have put questions to myself and tried to find the answers, and in writing about farming, why not retain this form?”
Um, why not! Dirt Farmer’s Dialogue, Carsten Jens Pank, B-D Press, 1976. More to follow…
It’s crispy out there. The latest crazy weather trick seems to winter acting like…winter. Except colder. And with less snow. Still, the sun is getting higher, the days are getting longer, another season in the field…comin’ up! I’m quite excited!! (In the pic, next year’s firewood is a real wood pile, a motley assortment of softwood, hardwood, and the occasional bits of lumber, gathered from around the farm, and so much of it that it was easier to cut, split and pile for a while and sort and stack later.)
It’s the last of the beets, a mix of varieties – Red Ace, Bulls Blood, Chioggia – from different beds, golf ball-sized, cold-sweetened, nice! Leaves, not in the greatest shape, were trimmed, leaving enough stem to avoid bleeding. Around 50 lbs, and that’s it for this year’s beets.
Third week of our first winter farmers’ market and it’s going great. So far, the weather hasn’t been bad, so it doesn’t seem entirely radical to have freshly harvested greens and carrots this late in the season, but it’s still quite a novelty at our market. One other small farm is doing the same season extension stuff for the first time this year, which is cool, it makes the idea of fresh, local food well past the usual outdoor season seem…doable. Which it obviously is. After the last few years of ending the market, outdoors, on the last Saturday of October, being up and running this late in the year feels excellent, and going till Christmas will be fun. Only downside of being indoors here is the rather ghastly lighting, but like most things, you get used to it, and warm is good. On the stand today (and almost sold out by mid-morning): carrots (Nelson), spinach (Bloomsdale), mizuna, mustard, arugula, everything harvested yesterday.