Fall 2014 Weekly Updates - October 15th
This week our members are enjoying the following fresh produce:
- Bell Peppers
- Winter squash (Kabocha & Butternut)
- Red Raspberries
- Garden of Eden beans
- Red Russian, Tuscano & Dinosaur Kale
- White and Orange Sweet Potatoes
- Yukon Gold Potatoes
- Lima beans
- Lima Beans
- Lunchbox Peppers
- Summer Squash
It’s hard to believe, but the 2014 CSA season has officially come to a close. This week our members are picking up their final baskets, and I, along with everyone else that has worked their tails off to bring them all of the amazing produce they've been receiving since May, sincerely hope that they've have enjoyed every last little bite.
From the asparagus that never ends, to the pole beans the size of my arm, the strawberries that couldn’t possibly be any sweeter, and the melons that just, well, weren’t, we’ve had an amazing season of wonderful produce. It’s crazy to think how quickly its all flown by, but what’s even crazier is that we are already beginning to plan for next year.
And when I say plan, what I really mean is put together our hopes for next year. Best laid plans… there is nothing like farming to toss them all out the window. While this has been a season with great success, it’s also been a tough few months as well. Remember the rain washing out the potatoes? And melon patches that simply quit on us? Ugh, and that nasty little spotted winged fruit fly! We’ve had our fair share of downs, but in my opinion, we’ve had way more ups.
As we’ve told you numerous times, farming is a journey, not a destination, and we’re unbelievably grateful to have had our members all along with us on this journey. We really are looking forward to next year, where we’ll get the chance to put into practice all of the new things we learned this year.
And speaking of next year, the crew has been busy prepping the fields for winter, cleaning up the remnants of any old crops, and planting cover crops such as Crimson Clover and Winter Rye.
The corn fields have been gently plowed under and seeded with crimson clover, which is a cover crop that will help draw nitrogen back up into the top layers of soil, making it available for next years crops. Corn takes a lot of nitrogen form the soil, so rather than spraying our soil and plants with manufactured nitrogen like conventional farmers do, we plant the clover to do the work organically for us.
Cover crops work overtime for farmers, actually. Not only do they help to replenish the soil of lost nutrients, they also out compete weeds. Basically, they grow so vigorously, that nothing else will grow around them. The challenge is to keep them from going to seed, because once they do, they basically become a weed themselves. But if we can prevent that from happening, they’ll help us to move towards our goal of being a no-till farm.
The clover is helpful in another way as well, as it will die off at just the right time, leaving us with the perfect mulch for next year’s corn crop. We’ll be able to plant directly into the cover of dried clover, which will be like a blanket for the seeds, that feeds them as well. You can’t be much better than that.
Along with the clover, we’ve planted some winter rye as a cover crop in another area. The rye is a bit experimental for us, so we’re curious to see how it all works out. Curious, and excited at becoming more and more sustainable as each season passes us by.
As we begin to close up shop, so to speak, at the farm, everyone’s attention is turning towards the other shop, as in pie shop. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and as you can imagine, there is no busier time for a pie business than this pumpkin pie holiday.