ShopTalk - Regular Season
a home Base For Shareholders
September 13, 2017 - DIstribution Week #17
(you can still get the newsletter the usual way - just scroll below for our .pdf archive)
what's new this week
Fall Crops Come On Strong!
Acorn Squash: Everyone's favorite squash to stuff! We distribute squash in the reverse order in which they keep (in other words, the squashes that don't store as well, we will distribute first). This week we've got acorn for you and then comes delicata, carnival, pie pumpkin, buttercup, red kabocha, and finally, butternut into the winter. We expect to have squash through Thanksgiving.
Watermelon Radish: Also called "Mosato Rose," this golf-ball sized radish has quite a treat in store for you when you cut it open. If you slice it just right it will look just like a watermelon! Great roasted with other roots, or sliced in a salad. It's a little spicy and a little sweet! This crop is plentiful this year and we should have it on and off through October.
Green Kale: The fall crop is tender, tasty and bountiful. It will continue to get sweeter as the nights get colder, but it is looking good and time to harvest the first leaves now.
what's on the way
Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers: $2/lb
Toscano Kale, Brussels Tops, Swiss chard: $2/lb
Beets, Chinese Cabbage, Green Cabbage: $1/lb
Apples (from Cold Spring Orchard): $10 / 5 lb bag
to purchase bulk produce:
in the farm shop:
just come on in and see the farm shopkeeper
in the Boston area:
visit our Bulk Produce Shop on our website:
Beans - last crop! Easier access - right behind the barn.
Cherry Tomatoes - end of the season - still sweet and plentiful!
Tomatillos - lots! great time to make some roasted tomatillo salsa!
Now that it's last-minute-sauce-making-season, shareholders are asking again about the plum tomatoes - unfortunately we lost the whole crop this year because of late blight.
Raspberries - This crop has come on heavy - all at once! Eat your raspberries the day you pick them - they are very very ripe! It is weedy back there, but if you look low there are so. many. berries.
Parsley - abundant and great crop. Time for tabbouleh!
(a few) Flowers - the cosmos are (finally!) flowering, and there's a beautiful orange tall hedge of tithonia to pick behind the fieldhouses.
Perennial Herbs - Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano and more!
On Our New Herb Growing Experiment - If you've been a shareholder before this year, you may have noticed that this year we experimented with a new way of growing perennial herbs. Here's what happened. The "perennial garden" by the parking lot had become very grassy and hard to maintain. After researching other farmer's techniques, and with a goal of plentiful herbs for eating and drying, I made a plan to try it behind the barn, as a field crop. This has been a multi-year process. The "perennial garden" had pigs last year, and was kept in flowers and cover crop this year, with the aim of reducing the weed population. Planting a wide range of accessible PYO crops in the raised beds and surrounding area is still an important piece of the vision for this space, one that I overlooked this year and am committed to improving in the future. For the culinary herbs, the plan is currently to try to over-winter the beds behind the barn, and so we will have even earlier access to these nutritive flavors next season. We'd love to hear your feedback on this herb experiment! How has it been for you?
Check here for updated picking info
Senior Shares Car Access
New this year - folks with Senior Shares are entitled to use their personal vehicles on farm roads on Sundays (following signs for clues as to traffic flow). We'd like to keep accidents to a minimum by ensuring that no other personal vehicles are driven around farm roads. If you do not have a Senior Share, please park in the parking lot and then walk to the fields.
REcipe of The Week
SHOPTALK - OLD SCHOOL
(you can still get the newsletter the usual way - just click on the week for a .pdf to print)
What's happening at the farm
Pic of the week
HOW WE FARM
One of the ways we fertilize is through the use of fall sown “cover crops” which feed the soil through biological means. These plants will build up nitrogen, minerals, and organic matter in the soil. This is one way that we can continue to grow vegetables without using chemical fertilizers. In addition these crops hold the soil in place, keeping erosion due to wind and water to a minimum.
We spin on the seed (oats, peas, vetch, rye, red clover) with a broadcast spreader and then lightly harrow the seeds, which incorporates the seed into the first few inches of soil.
Oats help to bring up minerals from the sub-soiland convert them into a usable form for plants. Oats do not over-winter but begin to decompose in early winter, releasing nutrients into the soil which are in a form that crops can use as food in the spring. Vetch (a legume in the bean/pea family) and red clover host a bacteria on their roots (azotobacter) which takes nitrogen from the air and makes it into a form that plants can use. These legumes over-winter nicely, growing back again in the spring when it is disked into the soil releasing all of their usable nitrogen (and other minerals) to feed our crops.
Some areas will be planted to vegetables again next year and some cover crops will be left to grow through the Spring and Summer. When a cover crop is left in the ground to grow the following year it is called a fallow crop. By leaving our land fallow (not planting a crop for human consumption) we give the soil a chance to build nutrients and soil life. By rotating our crops around the fields we ensure that all of our land will be fallow every five years or so. This is one way our soil is replenished and can continue to allow us to harvest 250,000 lbs. of produce from our farm each year.
There’s still tons (literally!) of food in the fields - leeks, carrots, potatoes, squash, celeriac, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, kale, and collards - but September marks the beginning of winter preparation and the last chance for us to plant our leguminous cover crops. Now that it has rained we can put those seeds in the ground and they will germinate and help prepare our land for next year.