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Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 22nd and 25th: The End of Summer

 Fall Harvest in 80 Degree Weather

The last few weeks we have been going through the motions of fall tasks: sending the animals on their end of life cruise, cleaning out and prepping fields for winter, and preparing to harvest storage crops like carrots, turnips and beets.  The crazy thing is that it has been nearly 80 degrees!!!  It feels a little unnatural to be harvesting storage crops in that heat--fearing that packing the cooler when the crops are so warm may overwork the cooler and potentially decrease their storage life in the process.  It looks like the temps are going to drop this week and we may fall into panic mode (to harvest everything before a freeze) overnight.  I've got my winter coat and hat ready to go! 
This week you will find parsnips in your share.  Most of the parsnips we grow are left in the ground, covered in straw and then dug in the early spring for the first summer share pick ups.  Digging parsnips is always a challenge. The roots are sometimes 18" long and it is very hard not to break them or gauge them with the digging fork.  I don't know if folks realize how hard it is to grow and or harvest some of the crops we offer.  Veggies may look simple and innocent when they are sitting on the shelf at pick up, but at times hours of labor went into planting, thinning, harvesting and cleaning them.  To name a few, crops like: leeks, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips are very time and labor intensive.  Not that I am looking for sympathy, just thought you might want to know : )
Crops like broccoli and cauliflower elude me.  They take up loads of space and just pop out one head (unlike, for example, a pepper plant that needs just as much space, but it pumps out tens of fruit over the season).  Plus they want the temps and rainfall to be perfect for the 100 plus days it takes for them to mature (ha! yeah right!)  Alas, this fall's broccoli and cauliflower are finally starting to head up and look gorgeous!  Savor them sweetly. 
This week's harvest: lettuce, onion, potato, parsnip, carrot, pepper, tomato, broccoli/cauliflower (at least for halves---fulls got it last week), Chinese cabbage, pac choi, tat soi, kohl rabi, fennel....I might be forgetting something...

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