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!
In the end, this is all about food and eating. Tonight, back to basics: heat applied to simple, locally grown ingredients, no culinary art or even a favorite recipe, just some mellow cooking. In the pot: grass-fed beef from a few miles down the road, plus, from our harvest, onions, carrots, potatoes, garlic, and green beans, well water, and a little store-bought salt and pepper. Simmered, covered for a while, for a couple of hours. The Yukon Gold potatoes, medium starchy, added thickness without melting away to mush. The beans, teaming up with the carrots, contributed a little veg lightness to the…stew. Dinner! (Fall must be in the air…)
This is our second Saturday market with quite a solid harvest, both selection and quantity. Last week was fine, this week we’ve added the first of the fall spinach, also, an unexpected bushel of radish that sized up practically overnight, picked at the end of the day yesterday at the perfect maturity moment. For the record, we have: green onion (Ramrod), two kales (Red Russian, Nero di Toscana), green and yellow beans (Jade, Indy Gold), two carrots (Nelson, Touchon, mixed), radish (Rebel), cherry tomatoes (a mix of 7-8 varieties, hybrid and heirloom), Asian greens mix (mustards, mizuna, tatsoi, etc, our custom blend!), arugula, Swiss chard (Lucullus, a pale green heirloom), beet (Kestrel), salad mix (four varieties of lettuce), summer squash (Golden Dawn III, Baby Tiger and Raven zucchinis), cucumber (Fanfare and a few round heirloom Lemon), and spinach (Bloomsdale). For those who like lists!
Friday’s harvest to Saturday’s market is the way it is! We still go direct from field to stand, with no cooler in between, and that seems to work out. And the stand itself hasn’t changed much in the last few seasons: raw cedar bins on boards on sawhorses, baskets up front, under the 10’x10′ E-Z UP canopy. What’s new is our latest in DIY veggie sign technology: the usual cards printed in marker with description and price, but now mounted with tape on long, thin coffee stir sticks, stuck right in with the produce. Anyhow, good weather, a decent turnout, a fine morning all round!
A pretty satisfying second installment of our “experimental” Weekly Harvest Share: “Like CSA, but one week at a time…”! Satisfying because, for the first time this season, harvest day felt kinda normal, with around 20 items harvested, enough variety to have to pick what went into the shares. And the winners, the veggies that made it through thick and thin: kale (Red Russian—no worries about running out of RR…), beets (Kestrel), carrots (Nelson), zucchini (Golden Dawn III, always there in numbers), cukes (Fanfare, Lemon), baby leaf lettuce (house blend, and a nice first cut!), beans (Jade, Indy Gold, first picking of this planting), assorted cherry tomatoes, green onion (Ramrod), sweet pepper (Cubanelle, picked young and green), onion (yellow cooking, from sets, kinda…compact), peppermint & spearmint (bagged, for tea!), and eggplant (old reliable Dusky). So, better late than never!
The muggy wave continues, the sixth day or so of bright, swelteringly humid heat. Today was only 21°C (72°F), but the Humidex (or whatever exactly They call it) says it’s the equivalent to us humans of 40°C (110°F). It does feel that way. I can’t recall ever hearing a spread that big—quite weird, or maybe the Humidex got more accurate…
A smaller crew than usual this Monday morning as we harvested for CSA shares. Lynn and Mel (above) were out earlier, hitting the field at 7 am, partly to get a jump on the heat, partly because they both had to leave earlier as well. Michelle arrived around 8:30. Tara was tied up preparing for a short trip. Jordan, another Monday regular, is away for a couple of weeks, on various visits around the north-east.
People in the field. I still find it mildly unlikely and extremely cool each time one of our tiny field crews assembles for a day. Sometimes it’s a crew of two, other times, usually harvest Fridays and Mondays, the numbers swell (big for a tiny farm!).
We all head to the field for different reasons and different returns. The work is never endlessly tedious, we don’t go out and, say, pick beans for 8 hours, but we do get a lot done, and everyone does a bit of everything. You can find a little instant closure, where the start and end of a thing are all right at hand. You can learn to small-scale farm. You can chill out, take time to think—garden meditation while breathing some relatively fresh, country air and dabbling in the dirt. Chatting while veggie gardening can be great. It’s whatever you want it to be…
Today, it was hot. The shares were done by noon as planned. It’s all good! :)