Sunday, September 29, 2013

October 1st and 4th: Lovin' Fall


Order your fresh turkey now--they are the best you will ever taste!!!
I love fall.  Maybe it is because of the bright colors, or the cooler weather, or that it is my birthday month, or the crispness, or the fact that soon I will get a break...whatever the reason, fall is my favorite season.  This past week has been sooooo gorgeous and easy to work in, it is a blessing.  We have been busy busy harvesting crops for pick ups as usual and this week we will move into winter storage crops like carrots, potatoes and winter radishes.  I am feeling so lucky and bountiful this season.  I was looking across the fields trying to decide what to give out for pick up this week and there is so much to choose from, it is hard to decide.  I hope you are loving it!
This Week's bounty: lettuce, fennel, watermelon radish, purple kohl rabi, chard, onions, colored carrots, tomatoes, peppers, herbs...GARLIC!
Next week: ...cabbage, potatoes, leeks...
There are many kohl rabi, fennel salads on the internet but here is one:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 24th and 27th: fresh new veggies


Okay, I will admit, those are not my hands (although one might argue that I do have man hands) and it's not my fennel.  Zach took the camera on a trip with him, so I was unable to photograph the fennel in my fields....they look just like this...and they taste awesome!!!  I know some of you will be terrified to take one, but I promise, they are a treat: roasted with peppers, tomatoes and onions or sliced thin on a sandwich or it pairs great with seafood...
Even though my body tells me it's fall and that it is time to slow down, the farm is bustling with activity.  It is actually very hard to prioritize right now.  Several crops are on the list for harvest before too much more rain or too cold of temps, the animals are bigger and need to be moved to fresh pasture more often, and fall tasks (like seeding the hoop house) need to happen before it gets too late.  Oh and I need to remember to bathe and eat : ) 
A big THANK YOU to the great crew of volunteers this weekend who cleaned hundreds of pounds of onions!!!
This week's bounty: lettuce mix, hakurei with greens, fennel, peppers, beets, potatoes, colored carrots, herbs chard/kale/tat soi/ pac choi, and lots of tomatoes!
Click here to learn about about fennel 
Don't throw out the fennel tops!!!  Click here for fennel top pesto

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 17th and 20th: fall is a comin'

A respite from the rain!

Ahh these last couple of days have been MUCH needed!  The past few weeks have been an effort to keep everyone afloat: pigs, turkeys, carrots, potatoes...myself, Jean and workshares!  Despite our best efforts, the fields are still wet and sloppy and many times we have been harvesting for pick-up up to our ankles (or shins) in mud.  It's the worst, I think, because  I feel like I am destroying the soil structure, but also I am starting to worry about some fall crops. Typically I wait until the weather gets cooler to harvest crops for winter storage as the cooler temps make the crops sweeter, but I am starting to wonder if I should just forge ahead before they rot.  Alas, we have not been able to harvest potatoes for pick up since the fields have been so wet...hopefully this week....

   Cover Crops

One of the most important parts of organic farming is planting cover crops.  These are seeds (generally grasses) that go into the ground where edible plants are not planted.  For example, I have 4 acres of open land that I could potentially plant vegetable crop on.  I try to keep at least .5 acres, if not 1 full acre, out of production each year so that that field may "rest".  Resting the field allows for the soil microbes and nutrients to reestablish themselves.  And typically if I plant a cover crop there, the plant material gets tilled right back into the soil, adding important organic matter and nutrients, rather than harvesting it for our plates. Every cover crop has a different importance to the field.  The tall grass behind me is sorghum sudan grass.  It is a warm weather crop, I usually plant it just after the 4th of July.  It is great at suppressing weeds because it grows so fast and it adds a huge amount of organic matter to the field. Organic Matter is important because it helps to maintain moisture, but still allowing for drainage, and allows a field to hold onto nutrients, rather than having them run off with the water.  In the foreground is oats and peas. The peas add nitrogen, essential for plant growth, and the oats just add soil stability for hard core rain, so we don't get soil erosion (aka loss of nice soil and nutrients). 

This cover crop is hairy vetch.  It is in a mix of peas, vetch and oats (aka PVO, or soil building mix).  It was seeded in a fallow (resting) field in the spring.  The oats grow fast, and support the peas as they grow. As the summer progresses, the oats and peas die allowing the vetch to take over. Vetch  survives the winter and sometimes is hard to kill in the spring, especially if it is a wet year I will allow the pigs to forage in here, adding additional nitrogen and have them help to kill the vetch.  I will not plant vegetable crops in this field until 2015.

In the PYO garden: 
Tall white flower on the left: gladiola (harvest when the bottom flower is fully opened)
Tall white flower in the center: Ethiopian gladiola (harvest when the bottom flower is fully opened)
Smaller orange flower: Sunburst orange marigold
Larger orange flower: state fair zinnia mix
This week's bounty: lettuce, arugula, radish/turnip, greenbean, pepper, onion, tat soi/pac choi, edemamae, carrot, melon, corn, herbs...lots of tomatoes....

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 10th and 13th: Fall air

Fall means TURKEY TIME!

These lovely ladies and gents are gobbling their way through our pastures...right to your plate!  Oh, was that mean?  No seriously, I love these guys while they are here.  They are quite the characters and, if I let them, they would just follow me all over the farm, right into my bed at night.  This week we are moving them way back to hang with the pigs, so be sure to visit them.
Don't miss out!
Please contact me via email or at pickup--$40 deposit
They will be ready, fresh, October 12th
Once again the air is brisk, a reminder that fall is right on our heels.  This time of year always makes me a little nervous, hoping that the last of my fall crops will have time to mature before first frost.  Your share last week started to move back into cool weather crops (arugula, turnip) and this week even more (tat soi, radish...and no more cukes!).  Hope you are ready for a punch of sweet fall greens and cabbages!
This Week's Bounty: (subject to change) lettuce, tat soi, kale, beets with greens, cabbage, yellow wax and green beans, hakurei turnip, radish, edemame, the very last of the zukes and summer squash, tomatoes, herbs, melons and corn

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 3rd and 6th: Rainy Days

I  Love my Rain Gear

We needed some rain, but 4 hard falling inches was a little much.  We are lucky to not have many erosion problems, but it certainly gets sloppy.  Jean and I picked beans in the pouring rain Monday and couldn't even see our knees we were buried so deep!  Looks like we are going to have a quick change from super hot and humid to a high of 65 tomorrow and low of 40.  That's pretty drastic.  Already the fields are changing and soon, very soon the summer crops (cukes, zukes, summer squash, basil...) will stop feel like I just planted them!


In the PYO garden...

background: ageratum--dondo blue
foreground: purple love grass

celosia: China town

left: holy or sacred basil--a wonderfully scented herb.  Used in Thai dishes and also has many home remedy benefits
right: opal basil--tastes just like the green, but adds a little flare to your dishes
This Week's Bounty: lettuce, arugula, chard, carrots, hakurei turnip with greens, sweet and hot peppers, edemame, green beans, yellow wax beans, sweet onions, melons, corn for full shares, eggplant for some, herbs and unlimited cukes, zukes, summer squash, tomatoes