Spring Growth

Spring Growth

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winter Ode to Kale

Greetings from a nicely warmish and windy farm. The farm is wonderful out there - the cover crops are still vibrantly green and the soil is dark black and wet. After I finish this letter I'm passing Saul off to Paul and will pick the kale for tomorrow's distribution. I'll pick about 200 pounds and it will take about an hour and a half. At the last summer seeding of kale we plant enough to have for the fall as well as the winter. We basically stockpile kale in the field on the stalk. This year we planted sixteen 200 foot rows of it in one of the back fields. The kale grows and grows all late summer and fall and then just sits there awaiting the winter. I like seeing it stored out there on the stalk. Its like a green promise of health for the cold months.

Let me tell you kale wins all kinds of awards for allowing all of us to eat locally in the winter. First of all it is amazingly nutritious. Second it is delicious. Third, and most importantly for our interest in eating locally all year, it holds up unprotected in the field until the temperature has dipped to around 5 degrees Fahrenheit for two cycles. That puts us somewhere around the middle of January. I sure don't hold up like that in the field. Let me continue my praise. Kale grows up right, so us farmers (and gardeners), can trudge out through the wind and snow and pick leaves even when the snow is quite deep. The leaves can be picked when they are FROZEN SOLID, crammed into a box, and then will proceed to thaw to a green perky perfection. Wow. Compare that to a 5 pound bag of greens trucked in from California. There basically isn't a comparison - the greenhouse gases and diesel embodied in the kale are overwhelmingly less than the CA spinach. Wendell Berry has a great quote that organic farmers use all the time, which is excusable because its a good one. " Eaters, that is, must understand that eating takes place inescapably in the world, that it is inescapably an agricultural act, and that how we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used."

Shwew, I got a little heavy there. Let me say 'Thanks!" for eating the food that grows right around the corner from you and supplying Paul and I with a dreamy career.

I am updating our recipe blog with the menu of what our family eats here at the farm. The idea is "Dinner Last Night". Feel free to email me what you had for Dinner Last Night and I'll copy and paste it to the blog. The blog - for those of you that don't know - is the Recipe page on our website.

Attached please find the produce storage guide that Paul wrote up.

Here is the veggie roll call: (a "/" indicates mix and match items)

acorn squash

cabbage/napa cabbage




greenhouse greens (Komatsuna and Yukina Savoy, great for fresh eating or stir frying)


hakurei turnips/rutabagas/fennel/celery/celeriac/beets



Thanks, see you soon,


No comments: