Apparently it really is fall, since the trees are mostly bare, and it tastes as if someone sprinkled sugar on the spinach and carrots. These lovely treats are the icing on the cake of a beautiful, mostly sunny growing season.
It was sad to see the peppers and tomatoes go away in the hard frosts last week, but the sweet flavor in the spinach and carrots did get noticeably stronger after each cold night. We know it’s coming but every time it’s so amazing and surprising! Nibbling spinach leaves as we walked from one field to another, it was so sweet our taste buds yelled “Hey!” and stopped us in our tracks!
In between picking and washing veggies for you, last week we did everything we could think of to prepare for the first rain event in 5 or 6 weeks. We planted cover crops in a few acres of veggies that had died off in the last month, picked up all the row cover we had used to keep some things alive, cleaned up a few piles of lumber and tools etc that had been sitting out in the dry sun, and finally got the chickens moved to some fresh grass. So far we haven’t had much rain reach the ground, but it might just be enough to germinate those many thousands of little cover crop seeds—rye, vetch, wheat and clover—for feeding the soil for next year’s crops.
Next week we’ll plant garlic, and soon after that begin the giant carrot harvest. We have a little more time to play and rest now that the days and lists are shorter, but carrots and other storage crops will keep us plenty busy until right after Thanksgiving. Then
December is our month to push the pencils— firming up the budget for next year and closing this year’s books, and planning crop rotations, planting amounts, and seed orders. January and February we tackle any number of office and shop projects, take a trip or two, and go to a few organic farming conferences and workshops.
These months are where new ideas and improvements begin to take root and grow, then in March we get in the greenhouse and start actually putting seeds in soil again! 2012 has been full of teachable moments for us, and we hopefully have been listening and watching enough, and thinking clearly enough, to learn and be able to respond in the best way on the next trip around the farming carousel. We are already curious about experimenting with solutions to problems we’ve had on the farm, and the winter will give us ample time to dig into the topics some more—from adjusting planting dates in a warm year like this to improving carrot and lettuce germination, and more thorough pollination of tomatoes and peppers in heat waves, and keeping up with cabbage worms in broccoli. As we think of the changes that can be made to accommodate a hot, dry summer, it occurs to us that we should remember to also plan and be prepared for a cool, wet one, since anything is possible!!
This year has had its ups and downs for us, like all of them, and we’re very grateful to be able to share them with so many wonderful people. Thanks to all our friends and family for their behind-the-scenes support, to our skilled and dedicated staff for their happy determination to see these veggies reach your tables, and to all of you for sharing with us in the risks and rewards of farming. We couldn’t do it without you all, and it is an honor and pleasure to be growing food here, for you.
We hope you’ve enjoyed being a part of the farm this year. We see our work as a service to the community we live in, and we hope you can taste and see that in all that comes from the farm.
Your farmers, Erin and Ben
For the rest of the Newsletter click here to download a pdf copy: Newsletter10-15-12