First Frost, Second Season

It didn't take long to know this one was for real. When the forecast was first announced over the weekend, it seemed like perhaps a few mild frosts for the week. Then our neighbor Gordy Cook stopped by and mentioned we were going to see 24F on Thursday. Suddenly, mild frost became hard freeze, and, well, we knew what to do next.

By historical standards (before 10 years ago) this is very late for a first frost. When we started our growing careers here (in 1994) we would typically get a frost around Sept 20. But these days, it's more common by mid-October. Either way, we know the drill.  First, let's get those last peppers and eggplants harvested. Strip the plants of their last fruits and bring them to the cooler (where they can last for 12 - 14 days). Clip the cayenne peppers plants and bring them to the greenhouse to dry (where they can store for for 6 months). Cover the celery (it doesn't like a freeze). And get all the sweet potatoes out of the ground (not the smallest task this year...).  Then disconnect all of the hoses in the harvest shed and drain the water. Drain the primer on the cow water pump. Button up the greenhouse, check the propane tank, and set the sensor to call me if it gets below 55F. Make a fire, put on pajamas, and fall soundly asleep.

When we awake, it's time to put on long johns (for real), wool hats, sweatshirts, and start our days doing something a little warmer, like sorting squash, before heading to the field to harvest wet cold vegetables. There's still literally tons of food out there (potatoes, carrots, beets, celeriac, cabbage, leeks, etc) but everything has changed. We have 26,000 lbs of sweet potatoes in storage. The leaves color faster and then fall. And we head in one direction; Towards the end of this journey and the beginning of the next.

We hope you enjoy the harvest,

Your Farmer,
(for Karen, Abbe, Ellen, Alex, Ben, and Jake)