[From 17-Nov-2012] 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.
Another in my series of possibly-not-so-appetizing photos of oh-so-delicious food. Local food. Ingredients either grown by me or gotten from those who did. I still find knowing where your food comes from endlessly satisfying, it doesn’t get old. Anyhow, without further ado, on to the one-pot, no-culinary-skills-required Beef and Eggplant Stew. More »
Checking in on the fairly massive time investment we made in thinning 800′ of late-planted Touchon carrots—and it’s paying off! Not that there was any doubt that thinning works, it’s just so…tedious. After laying down carrot seed thick (in other words, after using the Earthway seeder), we spent hours removing thousands of extra seedlings. Because these guys went in so late, I wanted to give ‘em every shot at making the best of good weather and sizing up while they could. Now, the effect of 1″ (2.5 cm) spacing really shows. We still kept them pretty tight, thinning a few short stretches to 2″ (5 cm) for comparison, but mostly did them like this, aiming/hoping for a big yield of fairly slender full-size carrots towards the end of October. You can see, second from right, a little one that escaped. It may seem obvious, I’ve found appropriate spacing is easy to overlook or downplay. When you’ve actually seen the massive difference it usually makes, it’s hard to ignore! Think better seeder. :)
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!
, frost protection
, row cover
, summer squash
, winter squash
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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…)
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!