Hello again! After a sojourn away from the blog, we are back and ready to fill you in on the last 4 weeks of action.
It’s been an epic month of fall harvests. Over the past 4 weeks, we have completed the harvests of beets, rutabaga, winter squash, potatoes, daikon radish, watermelon radish, turnips, celeriac, sweet potatoes, and cabbage! All of those crops are now washed, bagged, and in the walk-in cooler, except the squash which is upstairs in the CSA barn. It’s been so satisfying to bring in thousands upon thousands of pounds of food for the winter. This is a favorite time of year for Brian and I, not only for the gorgeous weather and New England colorscape, but also because of these massive harvests of hardy storage crops that we find most fulfilling as farmers.
We’ve had repeated frosts, beginning October 16 that have killed our eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and other tender crops. To my view, after a long season of enjoying these summer crops, I am glad to say, “goodbye and see ya next time.” As a response to these Fall frosts, we have been putting the fields to bed by discing in spent crops and seeding down cover crops, and by putting away tools like tomato stakes and row cover fabric.
One huge project over the past weeks was cracking seed garlic apart, planting, and covering it. There was quite a bit of math that entered into the calculation of how much seed to crack open, and in the end it was nearly perfect. We planted 3,500 row feeet, or 10,500 cloves. As I have written previously (2014 blog while in Maine), garlic planting is a spiritually meaningful task for the farmer because it joins the current season with the next one. While most everything in the field was planted in the spring and is gone by this time of year, sowing garlic is moment for looking ahead to 2018 and creating an indissoluble covenant with the future of the land.
In mid-October, Brian and I took a 3 day vacation up to Vermont. Brian’s grandparents, aunt, and uncle were visiting from Washington and California, so we got to see them for a few days. We also got to check out the work that is being done on the barn that Brian’s parents bought just over a year ago– a new foundation, among other things! It’s very exciting to see that process up close. We also saw many dear friends in Burlington.
Some really fun things from last week included tearing up a beaver dam and doing wagon rides for the CSA. There was a beaver dam built a bit downstream from our river crossing that took the crossing from human ankle-height to the height of the horses’ bellies in a matter of 2 days. Those critters are really master builders; I was so taken by the skilled craft of the structure. Beavers are, for the most part, highly protected by state law, except for the right to maintain agricultural crossings. David got on the back of our strongest horse, Gus, pulling a harrow behind them. The rest of us waded in to loosen debris with various tools, and we brought it down in a few hours, and basically went swimming ourselves. Later in the week, on a picturesque Autumn day, David lined up straw bales on a wagon and gave wagon tours of the farm for the CSA members. The rides were very popular with all ages, and they were running laps around us all afternoon as we harvested cabbages.
I would like to finish with a recipe for a soup Brian made a couple of weeks ago that was out-of-this-world amazing.
- pork bones
- purple daikon radish
- purple mustard greens
- udon noodles
- matchbox peppers
Simmer bones in water for as long as possible. (We did it for 12 hours). Remove bones, feed a nibble of pork fat to Amos the dog. Bring broth to a boil, add chopped ginger, garlic, and onion. Slice daikon, throw it in. Chiffonade the collards, dump them in. (If you don’t know how to chiffonade, watch a video it will change your life). Add udon noodles. Meanwhile, slice bacon and peppers into small pieces and saute to crispy perfection. When udon noodles are one minute away, slice and add mustard greens. Salt to taste. Serve with bacon & peppers on top. Buon appetito!
Love To All and Happy Fall,