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2023 Main Season Week 16 of 20

Hi everyone!


A couple of housekeeping items to start our week:

  • Please remember that we require 48 hours notice to accommodate any changes to your share pickup and we can not accommodate changes the day before. We feel so harsh saying that, but we can't make it possible. The morning before your pickup, we make the harvest list and if we haven't received notice of a change, we move full steam ahead with harvesting. I pack shares that same day and can't guarantee I will see your email in time to prevent harvesting and packing it. Once it's packed, we can't skip your pickup and double it another time. We hope you understand, and the 48 hour policy is in place in order to avoid us disappointing you. Thank you!

  • Enrollment for 2024 Vegetable Subscriptions begins on Sunday, October 15th at 7 a.m. There will be a short early bird enrollment period and this year, there will be a discount if you pay by cash or check! Details are coming by email later this week.

 

It's fall! Last week, our major project was harvesting and storing all of the winter squash. It usually goes like this:


Drive a truck with a large cardboard bin or two in the back. Two crew members snip and pile one type of squash at a time along the rows. Two more crew members wipe down and toss the squashes up to Randy and I, who are standing on the back of the truck. We sort and stack the squashes into the cardboard bins. I am invited to this every year because I am extremely particular about the ones you get in your shares (especially Extended Season members). I want them to be unblemished, of uniform size, of perfect ripeness, and of course, a specific count to ensure enough for everyone. Here they are with the spaghetti squash.


First we harvested and sorted the spaghetti squash, taking out anything with blemishes because they will rot in the middle of the bin, become liquified, and stink up the entire bin! (Sorry... hope you aren't eating!) We set aside 85 for Extended Season shares. Then, I went out and harvested 85 honeynut and butternut squash to my liking for Extended Season. Later in the week, the crew picked up the acorn squash, delicata, hubbard, kabocha, and sugar pumpkins.


This week, in honor of the start of fall, you'll all receive an acorn squash in your share. This will probably be the only time winter squash is included in the shares. Like our ancestors have always done, we believe in storing these away for the colder months and enjoying all of the fresh, perishable items that are still in great abundance. It wouldn't make sense to throw out all of the beautiful greens, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, (and SO much more - this is the most abundant time of the year!) in favor of eating something that will last through February if we store it properly. So, we honor our bodies and nature by eating just a little taste of these for fun now, and reserving most of them for the post-frost Extended Season shares.


 

Similarly, do you know why pumpkins and winter squashes are so iconic at this time of year? Every plant has a "days to harvest" timeline, and pumpkins, winter squashes, and even crops like leeks have about a 100 days to harvest timeline. This means that even when you plant it earlier in the season, it takes a long time for the fruit to mature. In comparison, radishes are a 30 day crop - one of the shortest there is. That makes it perfect for gardening in small spaces because you can quickly plant radishes, eat them, and turn over the land for something new. Nature dictates the length of time it takes to grow a pumpkin and it can't be controlled in this climate.




Also in comparison, we plant squash, zucchini, and cucumbers 9 times over the course of the season! In the spring, we start the seeds in the greenhouse and plant the first round outside. At the same time, Randy chooses a different location and seeds the next round directly in the ground. He direct seeds every 2 weeks for a total of 9 times. That's what keeps the harvest coming! Succession planting is an incredibly important skill when it comes to farming and I don't know how Randy keeps it all straight. We are harvesting from the 8th and 9th of our squash, zucchini, and cucumbers plantings now - they're almost done for the year. With the cooler nights, the ripening process slows down drastically compared to the height of the summer, which means we no longer need to harvest them every other day.

 

The very last of the planting is now complete. On Saturday, Eric and Ross worked in the rain to put the last extra transplants of lettuce and escarole in the ground. Randy thinks it might be too late for that round to come to maturity (we'll have plenty to go around anyway!) but we'll see what happens with the weather over the next couple of months. He couldn't bear to waste the plants, so hopefully we have a mild autumn.


 

We really want to share some cool news with you first here because we are already getting excited for next year's farming season.


To give you some background, this weekend, we held a "stuff-a-bag of gourds" and "bundle your own ornamental corn" in our old hay barn. It was a FANTASTIC day. Not only were the twinkle lights in the barn so beautiful and cozy, but member Diane validated our reason for doing this - she said when you typically buy a bundle of corn, maybe 2 out of the 3 are pretty and one is a dud. By bundling your own, you got to pick your own color pallet to make sure you would love them all. That was our exact thought process! Look how different they can be.


It was so sweet to see families, friends, and couples come out to pick out corn and gourds together. Nothing crazy exciting, but to our little community SUCH a simple joy. It got us thinking... why not do more like this?


(Hi, Judy!!)


We've been kicking around the idea of a flower bar for a while, and our secret to share is that we are going to make a flower bar a semi-permanent staple at the farm next year. We think it will bring the same amount of joy to see couples, friends, families, and parents/children putting together beautiful arrangements to enjoy at home or gift to someone else. So, if you enjoy our little bag stuffing and other events of the sort, we think you'll be excited about this, too!


By the way, the large ears of corn sold out, but the small ears are still available this week. We'll put out an assortment of ears and you can bundle them throughout the week: 3 for $5 or $2 each. We don't have enough gourds to do the stuff-a-bag again, but the remaining gourds will be for sale in our store for $2.75/lb. I can't believe no one bought this spooky one!


 

Bulk box season is now complete! We have finished harvesting plum tomatoes for the year. There may be the possibility that we can put a 25 lb. box of "seconds" together on the spot, but we can't guarantee it based on our inventory. Feel free to ask if it's possible if you are interested. We thank you so much for allowing us to trial a first come first served system with bulk boxes this year and we loved it so much more. We think it was a smoother process to have you come in when you were ready instead of trying to email and coordinate a date - and our inventory kept up with this, too. We plan to do it next year this way, too!


Slicing tomatoes will no longer be in shares, but we continue to harvest them through the first frost.


This week, we will put out a tray of "seconds" for members to take a free bonus tomato if you'd like one.


 

We are all set with box donations for now! This is just one of the mountains we received after our request and we appreciate your generosity. We'll let you know if we end up needing more, but we will hold off on accepting more for now. Thanks again!


 

Finally, you're invited to our 2023 Jack-o-Lantern Carving Contest! On Saturday, October 28th from 10-11 a.m., join us in the barn to show off your carved pumpkin! Bring a pumpkin that you've carved prior to the event (our insurance won't allow us to carve on the premises). We'll display them with tea lights and everyone will vote on their favorite. Coffee and cider will be served. If you'd like to bring a coffee cake-like dessert to share, please do! Please park on Farm House Lane and walk up the hill to the farm. The winner who receives the most votes will go home with a trophy (thank you to members Kate & Bill for making this hilarious prize!) Pro-tip, if you want to save the pumpkin for Halloween night, coat the cut edges with vaseline!


 

We'll end the newsletter with a few more pretty photos from the week. Thank you, Cindy, for sharing this gorgeous photo of your haul on Saturdays! Always a pleasure to see you all!





 

In Your Share (Listed approximately from shortest shelf life to longest)

Large:

  • 1 bunch of kale

  • 1 small head of cauliflower

  • 1 lb. of green or wax beans

  • 1 lb. of sweet bell peppers

  • 1 pint of shishitos

  • 1 head of green cabbage

  • 1 acorn squash


Small:

  • 1 bunch of kale

  • 1/2 lb. of green or wax beans

  • 1 lb. of sweet bell peppers

  • 1 head of green cabbage

  • 1 acorn squash


Caring For Your Share (All of this information, plus long-term storage info, can also be found in our Vegetable Library of Resources).

  • Store peppers in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Set the crisper drawer to low humidity to allow some of the ethylene gas that results from decomposition to escape. Ethylene gas will cause the peppers to rot sooner.

  • Leave the outer leaves on and store the head of cabbage in the fridge. The outer leaves will keep moisture in the head and prevent it from drying out.

  • Store acorn squash in a cool, dark place such as a pantry, cabinet, or cellar where it will get air flow.

  • Store beans in a plastic bag in the fridge. Wash and blot dry when ready to use.

  • Store kale in a plastic bag in the fridge. Or, snip the ends and store in a glass of water, like a bouquet. Wash and spin out when ready to use, within a few days.

  • Store your head of cauliflower in an open plastic bag in the fridge. Wash and use within the week.


The LGF Cooking Club (Recipes to try in addition to those in the Library of Resources!)

Large Share Additional Items

 

Please note that Victoria does not work on Thursdays this season. Emails received on Wednesday night through Thursday will be answered on Fridays.


How to Change Your Pickup Day

  • If you need to skip your share for the week, or change your pickup day, you must provide us with 48 hours notice since we pack shares the day before pickup. Once your share has been harvested and packed, we can not cancel your pickup.

  • For Tuesday pickups being changed, we need to know by Sunday. Wednesday pickups, we need to know by Monday. Saturday pickups, we need to know by Thursday. You have the option to choose another of those pickup days: Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday. Or, you can skip a pickup and double the following week.

  • If you miss your pickup, we will hold your share for 24 hours after your pickup day (Monday for Saturday members), and then it will be donated to a local food pantry. With more members than ever before, we don't have the cooler space to hold onto shares longer than this. This is a great option if you accidentally miss your pickup - just come the next day.

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