Here we are with some quintessential fall weather, and we're doing some essential fall work. Winter crop harvest!! Today the crew (in addition to harvesting, washing, and setting up for distribution) harvested napa cabbage for the winter csa, finished up digging, topping and picking up a bed of parsnips, and started in on the first of fourteen 200 foot beds of fall and winter carrots. Those carrots are going to be delicious - super sweet from the bout of frosts we've had so far. Look for a significantly different carrot in the upcoming weeks. Like candy. The kale and collards have also taken on a extra dimension of deliciousness due to the frosty nights. If you haven't' enjoyed the kale and collards yet, give them a try now. They are a different animal than summer greens. I'm not sure how Paul keeps putting more and more crops into the walk-in cooler. I think either he is magic or the cooler is. Like a clown bus. If you could take away the cooler walls we'd just see a giant cube of tightly packed vegetables hanging out together in the middle of the distribution shed.
These last couple of weeks before true cold weather sets in (to a farmer that's around 23 degree frosts) we spend all of our time harvesting harvesting harvesting. The first year we ran the Csa Paul and I did all of it alone, with digging forks, and my mom and dad in the house in full support mode. My mom kept the food coming, my dad read to Yheva and kept the wood stove hot, and Paul and I worked super hard, just coming in to eat or sleep or calculate again just how many carrots the winter csa needed and then back out again in a dry change of clothes. Whew! This year its easier. On one hand we've got a baby, on the other we have a new shed, and indoor wash area, and..... a ROOT LIFTER. Hallelujah! No more forking carrots. That root lifter is pulled by the tractor and slurp! it sucks down under the root crop growing in a raised bed and lifts the roots in a funky wave motion reminiscent of the giant worms in the movie Dune. This lifter makes our work much faster and less back breaking. The crew follows the tractor with five gallon buckets, twists the tops off the roots, puts them in the buckets, and, once all the buckets are full, dumps them in a big plastic lined watermelon bin that sits on a pallet carried by the forks of the John Deere. Once the bin on the pallet is full we drive it over to the truck-dock side of the distribution shed and lower it onto the dock. Another full bin then gets placed on top of it and the whole bin sandwich gets pallet-jacked into the cooler. Another pallet is them placed on top of the pallet sandwich and boxes of vegetables are stacked up to to ceiling. All in all it's a three pallet high tower of food. And so it is repeated until the cooler is full. You guys eat a lot!
carrots, potatoes, beets, parsnips, cauliflower, cabbage, hakurei turnips, leeks, head lettuce, spinach, daikon, watermelon radishes, celeriac, green peppers, hot peppers, winter squash, kale, collards, and escarole.
kale, collards, and sunflower heads. all unlimited. This is a great time to freeze greens for the winter. Go on out and fill your freezer with chlorophyll.