The weeks are going by quickly and summer is coming to an end but we are only about half way through the harvest season with a lot of great vegetables to harvest and enjoy as we march towards November. Your farm crew appreciated the very rainy Tuesday which allowed us a day to focus on indoor work, prepping and organizing storage crops and materials in the barn and greenhouse.
"No farmer’s his own boss. He takes his orders from the sun, the wind, the snow and the rain.”
--Daisy, Downton Abbey
A farmer has be prepared for what nature tosses at him :-)
If you've been a member of the farm for more than one season, you'll know that in any given season most crops do well, some do amazingly well, and a few are lackluster. The cool cloudy weather has given us excellent broccoli, carrots, greens and potatoes for example. This same weather has made the cantaloupe and watermelon harvest smaller than normal and some of the watermelons don't seem to have as much color and sugars as expected. Some watermelon growers are reporting 75 percent losses. The tomatoes we grow in the greenhouse have peaked and slowed down and we are hopeful that the field tomatoes will bear mightily soon despite some disease pressure. As we look towards fall, the Indian corn (for grinding fresh corn meal or decoration), popcorn, butternut squash and pumpkins are doing wonderfully and we anticipate an incredible harvest.
The Daily Del:
One of our highly appreciated farm crew members is headed to Shippensburg to study computer science. We are used our daily dose of Del, whose inimitable expressions bring us great cheer:
"It's party time at Homefields"
"It's a _______ thing" (if planting rhubarb, he would pipe up, "its a rhubarb thing,"
"Wabbit!!! (his daily barb at me for always munching carrots)
"Let's go to Park City" (this phrase could be heard any time of the day)
Del on lower left corner
Well done Del! Congratulations on resuming your college studies and thank you for three great seasons here--your work and humor will be sorely missed.
Thank you Butch for getting the transplanter outfitted with a shade canopy. It's never too early to start thinking about next season :-) Thank you Del for several great seasons here. Thank you Tom for always helping with tools, ideas and know-how. Thank you Elizabeth for daily supervising the farm crew and for deftly bringing in the harvest. Thank you Law Reh and each of the trainees for the skill and care you put into your work and harvests.
Watermelons--we were pleasantly surprised to find watermelons ready to harvest. See note above about how this summer is affecting the crop.
Onions: mm, onions are exciting! The Ailsa Craig sweet onions are wonderful sauteed with butter and served with fried greens, atop potatoes or even plain. They are not a storage onion, so use within a week or two, or keep refrigerated.
Potatoes: yep, it's tater time. Potatoes are a wonderful source of nutrients, versatile to cook with, and very satisfying to the eater--they even help you sleep well at night. (Potatoes not Prozac book)
Cantaloupes: a great majority of the cantaloupes were split by rapid uptake of water from the heavy rain the other week, and as such are unusable. We hope to have enough for everyone to get some across two or three week's time. A super great taste of summer. Try eating with a just a bit of freshly ground black pepper.
Carrots: A great carrot crops this year! Carrots are one of the most finicky crops for us to grow, so we are pleased to have a good year with them. Check out the Yellowstone yellow carrot. Farm fresh carrots are a tasty treat, much different from bagged store carrots.
Eggplants: Asian eggplants are mild and sweet. Slice and put on the grill rubbed with oil, soy sauce, and miso paste. Tasty and easy to use.
Beets: I have fond childhood memories of eating these still warm from being blanched, prior to them being turned into pickled red beets. great roasted with olive oil, grilled with oil and balsamic vinegar, or grated in salads.
Chard: remove the lower portion of the stalk as it is usually tough. Sautee leaves in butter, olive or coconut oil, add salt, and red pepper, top with Paresan cheese.
Greens: great greens to return in September
Cucumbers: hanging on, final week?
Squash: going, going, going...soon.
Cucumbers: The crop was really good this year--the plants are tired out and winding down.
Cabbage: We'll keep finding a few of these over the next couple of weeks. Cut into wedges and serve with a sprinkle of salt, make sauerkraut
Summer squash/Zucchini: these all almost finished as well (some people cheer) stir fry, grate and use for zucchini bread or freeze for later.
Beans: The beans did well, and there is a chance we will have fall beans as well!
Scallions: goodbye until next year.
Broccoli: an awesome broccoli crop this year--will be back in the Fall.
Bok choi and Napa: these have run their course and we will see them again in October and November--a great time to make kimchee with the cool weather.
Cilantro: we anticipate the arrival of the next planting.
Turnips: coming again in fall.