Squash Suspense

At the beginning of the week, we checked the winter squash; was it buttery yellow and ready to harvest? But it wasn't quite ripe. Makes sense - the field was too wet to plant on the planting date, so it was seeded a week late. On top of that, the whole season has been running a week behind schedule due to the cold weather. So we weren't surprised. When the squash still wasn't ripe mid-week, we caught a glimpse of the future. Winter squash harvest has a drop dead deadline (for the squash). The frost. Remember the year 50 shareholders harvested the squash with us on a Sunday because a sudden frost was coming? Our predicted first frost date is September 15, but these past weeks we've felt the winter chill in the morning air. There was even a spotty frost on September 1st that seemed to pass just over us; we saw tiny pockets of it but no damage. We can see the thousands and thousands of pounds of delicata and butternut and kabocha in the fields, and we can see the window of time shrinking between when it's ripe, and when the frost comes. That's gonna mean some heavy lifting! And so, the squash is the farm news of the week, though it's still on the horizon.

Here's what we did do this week. The present called us to attention with the urgent and immediate task of harvesting the mountains of food that is ripe - peppers! potatoes! all kinds of brassicas!  Next, we prepared so we're ready when the squash is: we repaired bins and wagons, tools of the squash harvest trade. We started selling winter shares, the final destination of some of this squash! Looking at the impending cascade of squash and realized that once it starts, it'll leave little time for anything else til it's safely in the greenhouse. So we breathed, and we did the things we won't have time to do when we're focused on the squash. We cover cropped, seeding oats and clover to protect finished fields from erosion, and to build nitrogen, minerals and organic matter in the soil. Cover cropping our long term investment in replenishing the healthy soil. After all, it's because of the soil that we are even able to have all this squash in the fields to worry about! And just in time for next week, the first squash is ready and we are ready to pick them.
We hope you enjoy the harvest.

Your Farmer,
Zoe
(for Dan, Karen, Abbe, Rebecca, Sunny and Ellen)