The frost arrived at the farm this morning, and was lighter than expected. Although the weather folks would have you think that the growing season is finished with the first frost or freeze--au contraire, it is only the end of the warm season crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, watermelons and cantaloupes.
Cold season crew members: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, carrots, beets, kale, chard, senposai and such laugh at the cold and even get sweeter as their starches turn to sugar.
This week we made a lot of preparations for the cold weather--got all of the butternut squash out of the field to keep them from being freeze damaged, put up lights in the distribution area and over top of the wash sinks, brought in irrigation tubing and winterized outdoor plumbing systems. We welcomed back Elizabeth from her vacation and also got to give some attention the landscape areas which get skipped over in favor of vegetable care and harvest during much of the growing season. We mowed down the now derelict tomato patch with some satisfaction :-)
Lighting the way for vegetable washing on these darker days. Thank you Butch!
The distribution is now nicely illuminated for the days that turn to evening to quickly now. Thank you Butch!
Resident artist Bradley stopped by the other week for some pumpkin transformation.
Suggestions for the Harvest
Sweet potatoes: wow, these sweet potatoes are super good.
Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Chunks:
My wife roasted some sweet potatoes, chunked and coated with coconut oil and sea salt, in a baking dish at 400 for 1-2 hours until soft and crispy-edged and they went over like melt-in-your-mouth chocolate confections.
Butternut squash: your farmers find that the butternuts and Long Island Cheese squash are tops when it comes to baking and cooking winter squashes and pumpkins. Did you know that canned "pumpkin" at the store is usually squash due to its superior flavor and texture?
Popcorn: our popcorn is very tasty--put oil in heavy bottomed pan and heat up the oil. Put a test kernel in when you think the oil is hot. When that one pops--pour in popcorn enough to cover the pan bottom and shake. Put a lid over the pan--but not tightly, so that steam can escape. Shake the pan as corn pops until popping slows. (it must be said that everyone seems to have a different method that works for them--and only them, perhaps ;-)
Winter Squash: these hard squash will keep in cool and dry storage for months. Great for apple and squash bake, curried or sweet soup.
Cilantro: great in a sandwich, soups, salads, recipes from around the world
Dill: great for pickling or with potatoes.
"Dessert Turnips": Our pet name for the sweet and mild white Hakurei salad turnips is dessert turnips. These are not your ordinary firm and strong purple top turnips. They are best eaten raw like carrot sticks with or without some kind of dip. Growing up, we had carrot, celery and turnip sticks at holiday meals.
Arugula: Yes, the arugula is back—cheers from all corners. This spicy green's nutty flavor jazzes up a salad or sandwich really well! Kind of zingy for most people--use as your palate prefers.
Ornamental/Flour Corn: feel free to shell your corn from the cob sometime and bring the kernels in to grind in the mill that we have here. Run it through once to grind coarsely and then tighten it up and run through again for finer grind for cornmeal for cornbread, cornmeal pancakes, muffins etc.
Potatoes: Yukon Gold potatoes are the farm favorite for French-fry making, hands down. 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)
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 Parmesian cheese. Mustard Greens: Known for their pungent flavor, these greens can be added to a salad for a mustardy hot punch, or can be added to soups or stir frys. Flavor mellows when cooked.
Tatsoi: A mild green that is great raw in salad or cooked. We think of it as fall spinach.
Purple Mizuna: a unique mustard green from Japan that has mild flavor and is great in salad for color and flavor.
Senposai: has a sweet and tender cabbage like flavor. Makes a great outer wrap for veggie wraps. Use raw or cooked.
Tomatoes: goodbye until next season.
Onions: If you have onions remaining at home, they will keep for several months in cool, dark, and dry storage.