Hello everyone! We hope you've been well over these past couple of weeks. The end of December snuck up on us, and it sure got cold fast! When we closed on December 12th, the temperatures were pretty mild. Here are a couple of photos from our final Saturday. The first is of grape tomatoes, returning to the earth. You can also see pieces of biodegradable plastic mulch breaking back down into the soil. There's no need for us to remove it and dispose of it. Pretty cool, huh? The second photo is of the second greenhouse that we've been renovating. At the time, the ends didn't have any plastic on them; now they do. Randy and his dad finished the structure; now this winter we will be working on preparing the inside for planting.
One of the big jobs we have to do during the winter was completed right before the storm. Randy takes samples of the soil in all of the different fields on the farm and sends them to the CT Agricultural Experiment Station for testing. He tells them what he plans to plant, and they tell him what nutrients to add back into the soil for optimal fertility. Completing this job now ensures that we have enough time to purchase the recommended soil amendments and gives them time to do their job before spring planting. The second photo is of bags of lime, which is used as a natural fertilizer to neutralize acid in the soil. Randy spread these bags onto the garlic before the snow. He'll spread lime on all of the fields eventually, too.
Speaking of the storm, we hope you all fared well. Things were pretty on the farm, but the most difficult aspect about getting significant snowfall is that our big greenhouse has to be dug out. The reason for this is that the greenhouse itself is dug down into the ground on the roadside end. The snow falls down into the ditch alongside it, piles up, and puts pressure on the structure. We make sure we always dig it out so that it doesn't collapse. Remember the drought from this past summer? Randy says our yearly precipitation stays pretty constant and says we need to make it up in snow now... personally, I hope he's wrong!
Last, but not least, our biggest job led to our ability to have this final share of the season. We cleaned out our greenhouse by harvesting all that was still good and composting the rest. It was well past time to turn the furnace off. It hadn't been running much until mid-December, and then it was necessary almost constantly. On Friday, crew member Ethan came to help us with the project. We got pretty far, but with the shortened days, we had to finish up all of the hanging pots, and pots in the back, on Monday. After this share, we'll donate what's left for a final time.
If you have any books that you've finished reading, would you consider donating them to our Little Free Library? The library gets visitors all year long (and you're welcome to come back, too!), so we would like to make sure that it's stocked with fresh materials.
What's next on the agenda? Randy and I would really like to take a few weeks off through the new year. We remember that our biggest reason for investing in farm life is our family, and we've been looking forward to some true quality time for a long time. He'll shut down the water for good, close up all of the barns, and we'll try not to step foot out there unless we need something to eat.
Believe it or not, there are already a few things that we need to seed. In January we'll start looking into and ordering seeds, Randy will map his fields, and we'll start talking about more of our timeline for the season, reflecting on this past year and setting goals for this coming year. Thank you for helping us close out the season, and we look forward to seeing you in 2021!
Contents (In approximate order from shortest shelf life to longest):
1 bunch of Swiss chard
1 bunch of mustard
1 head of lettuce
1-2 heads of escarole or bok choy (depending on size)
1 lb. of beets
1 lb. of onions
1 delicata squash
1 acorn squash
Caring For Your Share:
Wash all before using. We weren't able to wash the greens due to shutting off our water.
Store beets and greens in a Ziploc bag in the fridge. You can cut the bottoms off of any greens and stick them in cold water if they need to be revived.
Store the squashes, onions, and garlic in a cool, dark place such as a pantry. Put in a location where they will get some air flow. Keep out of the fridge and keep onions away from any potatoes you might have. The squashes will last for months, but are ready to eat now. Because delicata has a thinner skin than acorn, we recommend eating it sooner.
LGF Cooking Club:
Tagliatelle with Shredded Beets, Sour Cream, and Parsley
Shredded Beet and Apple Salad:
Roasted Delicata Squash and Onions:
Browned Butter Delicata Tea Cake:
A healthy dessert option... Delicata Squash and Apple Stacks:
Acorn Squash Pancakes:
Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Soup:
Bok Choy and Mushroom Stir Fry (toss in the mustard greens!):
Swiss Chard Potato Chive Frittata (toss in the mustard greens here too!):
Spicy Pork and Mustard Greens Soup:
Cooking Tip(s) of the Week:
5 Ways to Cook Greens (based on the type of greens!):