In your box:
I am aware that there’s nothing really original or pleasing about a farmer griping about the weather. But this is absurd! We haven’t seen the sun in weeks. It rains EVERY DAY. The thermometer is stuck at 45 degrees when it should be in the 60s. I can’t even see my boots any more through all the mud that is coated on them.
Yet, we still have a good quantity of crops out in the garden that demand to be eaten. So I continue to trudge out in our ceaseless rain to pick them and bring them in for washing. Washing, unfortunately, is about the worst of it. Our packing shed isn’t heated, and neither is the water I use to wash the crops. So harvest days now involve scrubbing as quickly as possible in frigid water and then running inside to wash dishes or find a warm radiator or anything that will give some blessed relief to my frozen hands. Ah, the joys of farming….
Some growing seasons I don’t want to end, but with how lousy the weather has been the past few weeks I’ll admit I’m really looking forward to next week. We do still have one more box of veggies coming your way after this week, and then I’ll quickly move into hibernation mode.
I do have a slight correction to make from last week: raccoons are not rodents. I mistakenly lumped them into that family last week when I was mentioning the widespread damage done to our pumpkin and squash field. This is important to raccoons, since it officially removes them from suspicion of eating hundreds of our squash and saves Nathan’s favorite animal from any blame. Based on bite marks on half-eaten squash, whatever ate all of our squash and pumpkins has large incisors for front teeth, which is a feature common to all rodents (picture a beaver). Raccoons have a beautiful smile with flat teeth in front, totally incapable of causing the damage in our field. They are also really cute and wouldn’t think of crossing me.
We have a couple of new crops in your box this week, both of which we expect again next week for our final box: leeks and turnips. Leeks are a close relative of onions and garlic, and are most commonly used in soups and stews. These have a deep, rich flavor that develops over the course of the entire season. Leeks are the first crop that I start in the greenhouse way back in late February, and they are happy well into November out in the field. The greens as well as the white stalk are edible, but it’s the stalk itself that has the richest flavor and works great in potato-leek soup.
Turnips are a great versatile winter crop that works in a wide variety of meals. Try grating them into a cole slaw along with the cabbage or cook them with potatoes and mixing for mashed potatoes/turnips. Our favorite use is to mix them in a hearty stew. If you try this, slice them up and add them at the same step when you would add potatoes. Peeling them is not necessary and they’ll keep in the fridge for up to a month.
Remember—next week is your last delivery for the 2018 season. For our Thursday delivery sites, we will be shifting your drop offs to Wednesday to avoid delivery on the long MEA weekend. Tuesday sites will receive their box as usual, and Thursday folks will find their box at their usual site and time (just a day early). Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about that change. Enjoy your last local veggies! We’ll have your final newsletter next week and then follow up in a week or two with a request for feedback.
Expected next week: Cabbage, carrots, spinach, turnips, leek, rutabaga, and Brussels sprouts