In your box:
–Kale, “Red Russian”
–Potatoes, “Red Gold”
–Summer squash or cucumber
The fall harvest season has a nice nostalgic touch to it. The harvest is bountiful, the hard preparation work of the spring and summer are over, and it’s time to take stock of the season and note changes for next year. But what I’ve learned the past few years is that fall is also about forgetting.
There’s a certain amount of forgetting and ignorance that is necessary to keep going as a farmer. If I remembered what it’s like to thin beets while surrounded with a cloud of mosquitoes, I’d think twice about doing it again next year. If I had a good memory of transplanting kohlrabi well after dark with the light of a headlamp, I would realize that this job is more work than it’s worth. If I could think back to the time I spent carefully weeding the green beans only to get an absolute dud of a harvest all year, I’d be tempted to give up the farm this winter.
But the purpose of September, and the harvest season in general, is to wipe all of that reality and replace it with the sheer ecstasy of running a farm. Of walking out in the morning in a sweatshirt and basking in a pure blue sky and no humidity all day. Working into the evening without even the buzz of a mosquito. And though the work still abounds, it’s the kind of work that paintings capture and children’s books chronicle—hay wagon rides, scouring the pumpkin patch, and bringing in delicious apples.
So long as we have September, I’ll forget about all the anxiety, mud, deerflies, tractor mishaps, weeds, and crop failures of the year. And in January, when I purchase my seeds for the next growing season, it won’t be the ceaseless rain of June or the humidity of July that I’m picturing. It will be a 70 degree day in September with a brilliant sky as I head out to the field to do the work I love.
With the onset of cooler weather, there’s no doubt that fall is beginning to creep into the picture. Cucumbers and summer squash are wrapping up a great year with just a another week or so of meagre harvests, and it looks like this will be the final big week of tomatoes. Enjoy them all while they last!
This week we welcome back Fennel for its last entry in our boxes. If you don’t remember fennel from the spring, it has white stalks, green leafy fronds, and smells strongly of licorice.
The whole crop is edible, with the leafy fronds a common ingredient in soups and baked dishes, and the bulbs used for stir-fries and roasting. The bulbs can be substituted in any recipe calling for celery. For a good starter into the world of fennel, try it baked: cut into quarters, drizzle with olive oil, and bake until tender, about 35 min at 350°.
To store: The bulbs will last for two weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge. The leaves will go limp, and should be wrapped in a moist towel in the fridge.
We are getting close to our open house/fall work day next week, and we’d love to have you out to the farm! We will be gathering on Saturday the 22nd at 3pm and we’ll work and visit until around 5:30, when we’ll have a potluck. Please send me an e-mail or call us if you would like to join us—we need to know how many jobs to set up and we’ll need a contact list in case we need to postpone due to poor weather. Jobs can range from easy (seated) jobs like cleaning onions to hauling compost and removing weed debris from the fields. Hope to see you at the farm! 952-353-1762 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Note—we will also be having a harvest party the following weekend, on Sunday the 30th at 3:30. More details to come. As far as the rest of the season—I’m still optimistic we can stretch out the season to a full 19 weeks, which will wrap us up the week of October 15th. Then the snow will begin…
Expected next week: Tomatoes, head lettuce, cucumber or zucchini, sweet pepper, carrots, bok choy, sage, and celery