This Week's Share
Here comes the sweet potatoes, and lots of 'em. These yummy 'taters are great roasted, fried, baked, mashed, in curries...your options are endless. Since I don't have a lot of time to cook, I'll just throw them in the oven for an hour at 350 until they are soft and eat them straight out of the oven. Leftover baked sweet potatoes are great for snacking on the next day. We've had a rather nice harvest, so we'll have them until the end of the share.
ATTENTION>>>Fall Share Pick-Up Hours Change
As fall brings us shorter days and chilly nights, our share pick up hours will change to 2:00-6:30 starting on Friday, October 19.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
4 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped, unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Mix in the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir in the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrot, and continue to cook and stir about 5 minutes.
Pour water into the saucepan, and season the mixture with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.
Remove the soup mixture from heat. In a food processor or blender, blend the soup and peanuts until almost smooth. Season with cayenne pepper. Return to the saucepan. Whisk in the peanut butter, and cook until heated through. Serve warm topped with fresh cilantro.
Shelter From the Storm
The calendar page has turned yet again, the leaves are falling, the nights are cool, welcome to October! October is a great month on the farm and a real time of transition. We still have thousands of pounds of food in the field, including cabbage, carrots, beets, leeks and radishes, but we have started to make a serious dent in our bulk harvest. Last week we finished digging the last row of sweet potatoes and now we are 1000 feet away from the finish line of our potato dig. When we finish harvesting a crop we try and harrow the land and seed a cover crop as quickly as possible. The transition from September to October means that we will no longer be seeding Oats and Peas and instead only be sowing Winter Rye as a cover crop from here on out. The amazing thing about Rye, is that even if it only grows 3 inches in the fall it will survive the winter and start growing again in the Spring! As we get deeper into the fall more and more of the crops in the share are coming out of storage, rather than coming directly from the field. The greens and lettuce are always only a few hours old when you pick them up but the onions and winter squash were all harvested weeks ago. This is sharp contrast to June and July when we harvest the entire share no earlier than the day before you pick up!
Now that the calendar officially says it is October, we can no longer turn our heads from the inevitable truth. At some point the fall will be over and it will be winter. This beautiful red, yellow and green landscape will soon be grey and white. Our fields, still abundant with food will be cold and frozen. I know, I know, you don't want to think about that. You just want to enjoy a mug of warm cider while you carve pumpkins and listen to fiddle music, but on the farm, we always have to be thinking one season ahead. Just like we start seeding our fall crops in the middle of summer, we must prepare for the winter in the middle of fall. The first thing we do to prepare for the coming snow fall is make sure that we have a sufficient supply of hay for the cows. We consider ourselves fortunate that we don't have to make the hay ourselves. We are really lucky to have several fantastic farmers in our area that make great hay. I can't imagine having to add such a temperamental process into our already busy summer. This year we have switched from small square bales to large, wrapped round bales. No doubt you have noticed the giant, sweet smelling, marshmallows stacked near the barn when you pick your share up each week. When it comes to hay for the winter, it is always best to err on the side of having way too much, rather than not quite enough.
Once we are comfortable with the amount of hay we have, we can turn our attention to the vegetables. We have two main jobs in the fall, one is to harvest our storage crops, the other is to protect our fresh crops in order to extend our harvest as late into the season as possible. We have been harvesting and storing crops since July, starting with the onions, but things take on a different tone at this point of the season. We calculate how many pounds ar ein the field still and set out a carefully crafted fall harvest plan and try to stick to it as much as possible. In addition to bringing crops into the barn to ensure their presence in the share until November, there are also a lot of crops that we can only protect in the field. You would be surprised at the difference a thin sheet of row cover makes to the arugula and lettuce. Once the storage crops are harvested, and the tender greens are covered, we are left looking at our kale, collards and brussells sprouts. These extra-hardy brassicas are amongst my favorite plants in the world. These robust cole crops are only enhanced and sweetened by the frost and seem to prefer this time of year. So every year we protect what we can protect, and harvest what we can harvest. Than we shake hands with the kale, say good luck and walk away. We go home, warm a pot of cider, look out the window and watch the sun set while the temperature drops and wonder if we'll wake to frosted windows.
On behalf of your farm crew,
Tana, Marycia, Dominique and Larry
Max and Kerry