Thursday, September 10, 2015

Late Summer Farm Update

by Captain Jack de Wilde, The Dog
Angel showing off an abundant broccoli harvest!
Hello Everyone!  I’ve been rather quiet recently as we’ve had some other very important topics to discuss in the newsletters this summer.  However, our Harvest Party is coming up in just a few weeks on Sunday, September 27 and you know I can’t keep quiet about a farm party!  Second to winter, fall is one of my favorite times of the year, so I’m happy that the changing of the seasons is upon us. While we’ve had a fairly cool summer with temperatures barely hitting 90°F, we’ve had some hot & steamy days recently.  We’ve had to run the air conditioning in the office so the ladies can stay comfortable and get their work done.  On these hot days I usually only work a half day and stay in the office during the heat of the day.  If you have seen the amount of fur I have, you understand why.

So I thought this would be a good week to fill you in on where we are with things on the farm as summer is winding down and fall is beginning.  With the cool summer we’ve had, many of our fall crops have been growing nicely and are actually coming in ahead of schedule.  We have four fall broccoli plantings that normally mature in late September and all of October.  Well, they’ve already started making heads and the first part of this week the crew cut over 1,200# of broccoli!

Picking Tomatoes
Our long tomato season is soon to come to an end.  Last week we picked over 12,000# of tomatoes! We’re trying to make the most of it before they’re all ripe and gone.  Dad still hasn’t gotten tired of BLT sandwiches and he’s eaten them every week for about 4-5 weeks now!  Benji’s crew said it’s time to stop harvesting melons.  We still have one more watermelon harvest, but after that we can officially say good-bye to watermelons & melons.  Cucumbers and zucchini are also coming to a close.  The peppers are still ripening and we hope to continue picking them until we see the first frost.  I hope you’ve been enjoying the mini-sweet peppers.  These are a special little pepper and we are happy to share them with you this year.

As soon as we finish harvesting a field towards the end of the summer, Dad gets antsy to chop the remaining plants, spread compost on the field, and then plant a soil-improving cover crop mix.  This is very important so we can ensure there are nutrients going back into the soil for next year’s crop. When you come to the farm for the party, I can show you some cool fields with different cover crops on them.

Butternut Squash Harvest
While summer crops are winding down, more fall crops are coming.  Last week we finished digging all the potatoes and also started harvesting the winter squash. We’re getting them in as fast as we can because they are ripe and ready to go.  One problem we have right now is that we still have a lot of onions in the greenhouse where we also need to store the squash!  We’re trying very hard to finish trimming the onions and put them in the cooler so we have more room for all the beautiful winter squash. Just a few more weeks and it will be time to dig sweet potatoes!
The fist burdock root harvest
Around here, fall means serious root crop harvesting.  When it’s time to harvest root crops for winter storage, you’d better stay out of the way.  Nothing holds my Dad or Rafael back!  Last weekend we started harvesting burdock root, which is not something we usually include in CSA boxes, but it’s a very important crop for our farm.  Later this week we’re going to start digging sunchokes and next week’s box will definitely reflect the transition from summer to fall.  Celery root, leeks, potatoes….time to make soup!

We have many more tasty vegetables to harvest for you though before we get into the heavy root crops.  Jicama, lemongrass, celery, Portuguese kale and I almost forgot the fall cabbages!  Dad loves creamed cabbage and creamy cole slaw.  I don’t care for these dishes, but we usually have these things with cheeseburgers…which I do like!

Well, I know I forgot some things, but you get the jist that there’s a lot happening around here!  Dad and I have been checking the pumpkins, which should be ready just in time for the party.  Have I mentioned we’re having a party?  Just a reminder that I’m a dog and will need help at the party to get my pumpkin out of the field and onto the wagon.  Usually there are plenty of children who are willing to help, but I thought I’d be proactive and ask in advance so you can put this event on your calendar and make plans to attend.  It’s going to be a fun day and we hope you’ll join us!

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