Tomatoes are finished for the year (except for a few in the field that we’ve opened up for you-pick), peppers are waning, but the fall crops are filling the shares today and we’re trying some new things. In the share today leeks make their first appearance, and we have a bit of butter lettuce. I’ve put a cabbage in the photo but not all of the cabbage was ready so we’re giving the choice of cabbage, collards or kale this week and we’ll probably keep doing that for most of the rest of the season. Carrots and beets made it into the shares, as did the kabocha squash and some lovely spinach.
The leeks are long, which is great! The beet greens are beautiful! It’s definitely fall. The kabocha is ready to eat now, but it will get even better over the next few weeks if you don’t use it immediately – just leave it in a dry spot that’s not too cold. This last round of sweet peppers is a bit less ripe but they will continue to ripen and color fully on a kitchen counter.
It was nice to have another dry day in the field -especially since I was expecting to be harvesting in the rain all day. Looks like we might get lucky again on Thursday with the weather – fingers crossed.
All kinds of possibilities for next week: beets, spinach, carrots, kale, lettuce, leeks, sweet peppers. We might mix it up with some Rutabaga thinnings, hakurei turnips, cabbage or collards. I’m thinking that the tomatoes are basically done but there are lots of green ones out there so we’ll open it up to you-pick. Peppers are slowing down but I’m pretty sure we’ll get another week out of them.
Besides harvest there’s a bunch of clean up happening in the field. Those kale plants pictured above are getting tall and Laura and Tiiu stripped all of the funky leaves from the summer off yesterday, leaving just the new growth. Irrigation season is over at this point so we’re winding up all of the drip tape, and taking out the sprinklers. Taking down the trellises for the cucumbers is on the list of things to do so that we can seed a bit of cover crop before the soil gets too cold. Always lot of work to do but definitely less than just a few weeks ago.
Celery, sweet peppers, tomatoes, winter squash, shallots, arugula, lettuce and chard.
The celery is the last of the year and it keeps great in the fridge if you aren’t using it all right away. I’ve been loving it as an addition to salads, but it’s also really good for adding flavor to soups and stuffings now that it’s getting colder. Sweet peppers are slowing down but we still have a good selection this week, while tomatoes are pretty much stopped. I mentioned in the last post that our winter squash harvest was very small this year. This week we’re giving out the acorn and delicata (one or the other) and those should be good to eat any time from now until next month. We’ll give out the remaining varieties soon (kabocha, black futsu, and butternut) and those will be best if they’re held for a few weeks before cooking, but they can also be used when we give them out. The first of the shallots go out this week and these have great flavor and will also keep for a long time if not used right away. We’re back into cut greens with the arugula, and we’re continuing with lettuce and big bunches of chard.
I started pulling the popcorn out of the field today, taking advantage of a dry afternoon. Unfortunately I’m still not sure if there’ll be enough to give out. The wind blew the covers off of our fall plantings of radishes and turnips which gave me a good look at those and they’re looking great so far, but still a few weeks out. Harvesting the celery today I walked by the celery root, which is also looking great. My fingers are crossed that the weather continues a mix of enough wet to keep the plants growing, and enough dry to keep any rot from growing in the fields. So far it’s been a decent mix and today’s breeze helped dry things out after the wetter weather this weekend.
Here are the likely candidates for tomorrow’s share: shallots, chard, lettuce, celery, sweet peppers and arugula. There’s a slim possibility that tomatoes might hang on an extra week, maybe cucumbers too. This wet cold weather is definitely not going to help those crops though and the fall greens and roots are likely to dominate the rest of the year at this point.
I clipped most of the winter squash on Friday and we may get that into the shares this week. We’ve had a terrible winter squash and popcorn year so there won’t be much unfortunately.
In better news, Tiiu and Laura got the chard cleaned up last week, the carrots and beets are looking good, and many of the other fall seeding seem to have gotten a very good start. Let’s hope for a little more dry weather in the coming weeks to keep the fall crops growing strongly to the end.
It’s been nice not having to irrigate on the farm but I’m also glad we had a dry day today for the first fall harvest. In the share are red beets with greens, carrots, sweet peppers, what are probably the last of the cucumbers (have I said that before?), a tomato or three, eggplant, a small bunch of collard greens and a head of crisp lettuce – and not pictured: yellow storage onions. I think thursday’s share will not have the eggplant and may also not have the cucumbers.
Kale and collards used to be relatively easy and abundant crops for me to grow but we’ve had infestations of brassica white fly for the past few years which are making it more and more challenging to grow them. Apparently this is a relatively new pest for the Northwest, having just shown up five or six years ago, but it is common in some other areas of the world. I’ve had this same experience in the past – a new pest or disease showing up in a crop that previously was relatively easy to grow – and each time there’s an adjustment period while we figure out new approaches to growing. In the meantime what I’ve noticed is that the greens aren’t always keeping as well as they did in the past and they may have a bit of etching on the back of the leaves. The worst part is that it makes our harvests much slower and smaller. If there was ever a time to hope for cold weather it’s now, as that seems to help a bit.
Field work is slowing down and I was finally able to get some mowing done today. We’re pretty much getting to the point in the season where it’ll be all harvest and clean up for the rest of the year. We still have a little weeding to do, and a bit of cover crop to seed, but mostly the work is harvesting these days.
We’re keeping the farm stand stocked with extra carrots, the few summer squash stragglers, a bit of extra lettuce and both sweet and hot peppers. Take advantage of the last of the year you-pick flowers, herbs, cherry tomatoes and hot peppers too.
Firstly, I hope the #climatestrike is sending a message to world leaders, and that folks will continue to take small and large personal actions to reduce their environmental impact going forward. It’s something that’s definitely on our minds on the farm continuously, and we’re really grateful to have a supportive CSA community eating our vegetables, helping us to continue our work.
Next week we’ve got a number of good options for the first week of fall. Green crisp lettuce, more carrots, onions, and sweet peppers should all be in the share. Chard is the likely green, although I don’t like giving out chard the same week as beets and beets are another strong possibility. Also on the possibles list are more tomatoes (fingers crossed for a bit of drier, warmer weather), celery, and even a continuation of cucumbers – which have amazingly been continuously producing for more than 11 weeks now. Summer squash produced for all 13 weeks of summer but I’m pretty sure it’ll live up to its name and not make an appearance in the fall shares.
Looking a little farther ahead into the fall, the salad turnips, winter radishes, arugula, and mustards (pictured above between more beds of carrots) are all looking good. Spinach, winter squash, celery root, parsnips, fennel and kohlrabi are all also looking pretty good, but it’s hard to say how much we’ll have. We also have leeks, some chicories, collard greens, kale, cabbage, and lots of chard. I’m probably forgetting something, but we’ll see as the season rolls out. Stay tuned to find out what we actually harvest – or just come to the farm and see for yourself.
In the share yesterday was a small bunch of kale, sweet peppers, carrots, red onions, a cucumber, a summer squash, a tomato, a bunch of parsley and a head of red leaf lettuce. The cucumbers and summer squash are still holding on, but I’m not sure if there’ll be more for Thursday this week. The tomatoes have plenty of green fruit, but it’s ripening very, very slowly with this weather. I had thought we were finished with the red onions but I found a tote of them in the shed with the storage onions so those go in the share while we continue to clean the storage onions and shallots for the fall shares.
We got lucky yesterday and it was a mostly dry day on the farm, only a few very short showers in the late afternoon. That allowed us to take care of some of the weeds germinating in the fall crops from all of the rain we’ve been getting. I actually had a bunch of rainy day chores in mind, thinking we’d be soaked all day. We’ll have to do those another day and with this forecast it looks like maybe that’ll be sooner rather than later. This is definitely the wettest late summer I can remember in the 19 year I’ve been farming here. We’ve had a few very dry falls recently so my perspective might be a little warped. I have a vague memory of a season about 8 or 9 years ago that was so cool we never got any tomatoes at all.
Fall shares will start next week and I’ll send out confirmations to fall CSA members today or tomorrow. The fall season is scheduled to last 9 weeks and to go until the week before Thanksgiving. Expect more roots and greens in the near future.