A very quick note here to say I’m working on the plan for the 2020 season and it’s probably going to be very, very similar to 2019. You can go back through the blog (or our Instagram or Facebook for better photos) to get a sense of what our previous season was like. Last year we opened up CSA share sales at the beginning of February and that’s the target for this year as well.
I also just put a little summary of the farm’s numbers up over at the blog on slowhandfarm.com. Short story is that it was a good season but not our best. Stay tuned to see how 2020 shapes up.
We’re going to shoot for a little larger share for the final week. Pretty much everything in the share should keep well in the fridge if you don’t get to it right away, even some of the greens. Here’s what I’m expecting:
Chard, kale and collards, radicchio, sugarloaf and escarole, arugula and mustard greens, leeks, onions, hakurei turnips, parsnips, carrots, and popcorn.
On the greens we’ll see how much we can get of all of those and it will likely be some mixed options. The radicchio and sugarloaf have been maturing slowly so I’m hoping more will be ready next week. The escarole still has some tip burn but it is super tasty with a little extra effort to clean. We should have a good quantity of arugula and enough for small bunches of mustard greens.
There’s some possibility that we may also have parsley, beets, small rutabaga, watermelon radishes, and even lettuce! It’s also possible that we might open some of those up for you-pick if we don’t have time to pick them ourselves, or if the quantities or sizes don’t make sense so come a little early to take advantage of the last light of the afternoon if you want to do a little gleaning.
In today’s share: spinach, Gilfeather rutabaga, shallots, celeriac or parsnip, chard or kale or collards, little daikons, and sugarloaf or treviso chicory.
One more week and we’re cutting it a little tight this year both on maturity dates and quantities of some of the produce in the field. It’s easy for me to see the shortfalls in the field, but the actual shares themselves have seemed pretty good in the end – and certainly delicious. Here are some notes on the items in the shares this week:
Gilfeather rutabaga (or turnips, depending on who you ask) are a bit small but are still delicious and very sweet. We didn’t thin them and there was a bit of a mix up when they got seeded which means we have more than we intended to, but they’re also smaller – that kind of evens out quantity but makes a little more work. The same goes for the daikons.
We’re just a tad short on celeriac so parsnips are an alternate option. We’ll have more, maybe of both, next week and they’re big! But they both store very well and you can just hack off pieces and use them over time.
The sugarloaf and radicchio are right on the edge of making tight heads but are not all quite there yet so they’ll be mixed option both this week and next as I selectively harvest just the ones that are most ready.
We’ll harvest everything that’s left next week so expect an even larger share then.
We’re coming up on the end of the season, just two more weeks of harvests remain. Here’s what I’m hoping we’ll have in the shares next week: spinach, sugarloaf chicory, shallots, turnips, daikon radishes, celeriac or parsnips, and a choice of kale, collards, or chard.
Looking ahead to the final week the possibilities include: radicchio, storage onions, leeks, salad turnips, watermelon radishes, beets, arugula, mustard, carrots and the usual mix of kale, collards, chard and a bit of cabbage.
It’s been tough predicting as crops have grown very, very slowly this fall. It’s good in the sense that things aren’t getting overgrown, but they’re all a bit smaller than ideal so I’m hoping a bit of moisture this coming week, and maybe the warm temperatures will help bulk things up, despite the very short days. These dry, sunny days have been great for working in and we are definitely appreciating not working in the usual cold, wet, muddy conditions of fall.
Yesterday we had time to do a little clean up in the afternoon and got some of the summer trellising ready to come down. By the end of our field work day at 5pm the sun was already down and the moon was high in the east.
It was dark and scary at CSA pick up last night. This weekend we will turn our clocks back which will only make it darker – fortunately the scary part was just Halloween so we’re done with that. Due to the dark we’ll be shortening regular pick up hours for November to 4:30 to 6:00, and we’ll make bags for anyone who doesn’t show up during those hours.
Crops are growing very slowly this time of year but here’s my best guess at next week’s share: Escarole, arugula or mustard, chard, leeks, kohlrabi, winter radishes and carrots. There are a few crops that we have small quantities left of in the field, not enough for a full CSA distribution but enough that we’ll probably harvest them and give choices of one or the other, or offer them for sale on the farm stand.
The frosty mornings this week were just enough to start sweetening up a lot of the vegetables and the temperatures never really got cold enough for long enough to do significant damage to anything. The dry, sunny conditions make field work much more pleasant but oddly I’m finding myself missing the rain a bit, and it wouldn’t be bad to get another shot of water in the ground to help some of the crops bulk up a bit. On the other hand, one of the things I love about eating from the farm is that the weather dictates what’s good, and when, and it makes some of the decisions for us encouraging constant creativity.
The forecast for next week makes it look we’ll get the September we missed out on. I can’t decide if this is a good thing or not, but it should certainly make working in the fields a little more pleasant. I keep predicting parsley and one of these week’s it’ll make it into the shares. Chard, kale, collards and cabbage will continue with a pick one theme. Mustard greens or arugula are also likely in the greens category, and I’m hoping we’ll get one more round of head lettuce before we get into our chicory harvests. For roots we’ll probably have beets and Hakurei salad turnips. Parsnips are also in the plan and we’ll do a little exploratory digging on Monday to see what we can get. Storage onions of one sort or another will fill out the shares
We took advantage of the lovely weather to do a little more clean up in the fields. The cover crop that got seeded last week looks like it’s starting to come up well. All of the irrigation tape and sprinklers are out of the fields now. The tomatoes are strangely hanging on and still producing a few decent tomatoes so we’ll leave those up. With this weather I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few sweet peppers ripening. We may open those up for you-pick next week if so – although it’s quite possible that cold, clear nights this weekend might actually do them in finally.
Two final notes: Thursday is Halloween! Tiiu is planning on offering face painting at pick up that evening to anyone who’s interested (4:30-6:00). Second, the first week of November (in two weeks) is the end of Daylight Savings so pick-up hours will be extra dark. We’ll have lights at pick-up, but we’ll also only be staffing the pick-up until 6:00 for the November evenings.
This week some of the cabbage was ready, just a bit – and a bit earlier than planned, and I’ve had this idea for a while about giving more choice of greens so I tried it out and harvested just the cabbage that was ready, along with bunches of kale and collards and then gave folks some choice at the CSA pick up. We’ll continue that in the future I think, although this coming week it’ll probably be mostly chard as it’s looking good and I’m not sure how much longer it’ll last (it’s our most frost sensitive of the big bunching greens).
I’m hoping the lettuce will continue to produce for at least another week or two, it’s not been holding as well as I’d like but we’ll harvest it as long as it’s useable.
Parsley is possible, as are small bunches of big arugula, or maybe bunches of rutabaga greens from thinning out our planting to help the roots size up. I think the salad turnips should be ready, and I hope those will also have nice greens. We may also have the first of the fall Bora King radishes, a colorful daikon type (pictured above on the right). Continuing on the root theme, carrots and celeriac are also strong possibilities. And, to round out the share we’ll toss in some onions.
We took advantage of the lovely weather yesterday and had a productive afternoon cleaning up the summer crops. The cucumber trellises came down and the corn, beans, squash, cucumber, and eggplant beds all got mowed. With a little luck we’ll have enough dry weather next week to put a bunch of cover crop seed down where those crops had been.