In your box:
Welcome to your final week of our 2018 CSA season! We hope you’ve enjoyed the experience, tried a few new crops and recipes, and celebrated what the season brought us this year.
I think I’ll remember 2018 as the growing season of extremes—all of our crops this year seemed to work either really well or not at all. I don’t remember having this many crop failures before—green beans that wouldn’t fruit, tiny beets and garlic and sweet peppers, winter squash eaten by really hungry rodents. And yet it was my best year ever for tomatoes, carrots, spring broccoli, and season-long lettuce. The end result is that the boxes were always full, but never quite jam-packed with abundance. If we were pioneers relying on our own food we wouldn’t starve this winter—we’d just get really sick of tomato sauce and rutabagas and wish we had a little more variety to get us through.
I’ll also remember this year for the worst fall ever. Week after week of rain, clouds, and cold weather. All the leaves seem to have changed and mostly fallen from the trees during the incessant rain last week, leaving everything brown and November-like without the brilliant colors we usually get in October. This is especially frustrating for me since it’s usually the most agreeable time of year to work—no bugs, no sweat, and no allergies.
The harvest season may be done for the year now, but I still have a lot of work left to do in the garden. I generally stay pretty busy right up until Thanksgiving, and even a little after that if the weather allows. I’m always busy applying compost, reeling in irrigation materials, dismantling tomato cages, and cleaning out the greenhouse for next year. I’ll be planting garlic next week, so I’m hoping for a few more warm and sunny days. This year I’m also building a new compost structure for turning compost and looking to anchor our tomato high tunnels to avoid wind damage in the future. I am also looking forward to naps. Lots of naps.
Your last box isn’t overflowing with veggies, which is how I like to end the season. The consistent cold weather of the past few weeks has robbed us of broccoli, cabbage, and head lettuce that never achieved a good size. And I’m still upset with the critters that ate all of our butternut squash that should be in this week’s box.
But we do have a couple crops that don’t mind the weather—or all the mean things that many people say about them: Brussels sprouts and rutabagas. We’ve kept the sprouts on the stalk this year since that helps them to keep longer. You can keep the whole stalk in the fridge or even out in a cool spot on a porch. When you’re ready to use them, just pop off the sprouts and boil them for 3 or 4 minutes. Don’t overdo it—mushy Brussels sprouts are a certain way to turn people off from them for life! The rutabagas look like really big turnips, with a little more yellow than white underneath. These can be peeled to remove any residual dirt. Rutabagas keep until the new year in a fridge or root cellar. Try your rutabaga mixed with mashed potatoes or chopped and cooked into a thick stew.
Once again, thank you so much for your support this growing season. It hasn’t come easy, but farming continues to be my passion and I’m so grateful that you’ve supported our farm dream this year. We couldn’t run our farm without your support and encouragement. Supporting a CSA makes a real difference to our local economy, our rural landscape, and sustainable agriculture. And you get to eat rutabagas in the bargain!
I’ll follow up next week with a brief survey to get your thoughts on this season and suggestions for next year. I will also be returning to all of our delivery sites next week to pick up any returned CSA boxes. I can recycle the boxes that are spent and reuse some of them for next year. If you have any boxes around the house, please return these to your pickup site by Wednesday of next week so I can pick them up. Thanks!
Expected next week: Several nice naps and dreams of summer 2019!
Thanks again! Have a great winter!
-The Kirkmans, Fox and Fawn Farm