Hi, everyone! This is Fall Program week 4 out of 8... 4 more weeks of goodness to go!
Randy reports that he's two weeks ahead of clean-up schedule! Part of this is because the weather has been a little bit in his favor over the last week, but honestly, most of it is due to our amazing, reliable, hard-working crew. Most of our drip tape, Reemay cloth, hoops for the Reemay, and rocks for the Reemay have all been picked up. Most of the plants we can't harvest from anymore have been mowed down and tilled under. Here's a shot from Waverly Rd. that shows what it looks like now and underneath is a shot from June, before we even really got going with the summer crops. What a difference!
One of Randy's big jobs now is seeding cover crop on his fields. Cover crops are used to restore nutrients to the soil. When you're not using a particular plot of land, you can seed crops that are specifically meant for this purpose: oats, peas, rye, millet, wheatgrass, alfalfa, clover, and vetch are all examples of cover crops. Most of the time, these aren't crops that you are going to harvest, eat, and use. Rather, they are planted when you know that your soil is depleted of nutrients after a long growing season.
Randy chooses rye for a few reasons. One, it is the hardiest winter crop that can tolerate temperatures below freezing, to keep the soil in place and prevent erosion during extreme winter weather. If you're using a cover crop in the summer, you might choose something different. Second, it restores organic matter to the soil when you till it under, which means it's a natural fertilizer and you can reduce your chemical inputs come spring. Third, it will continue growing again in the early spring, which creates a natural weed suppression. Because it's already established, early weeds have less area to spring up. Lastly, it has a very quick germination rate, which is so important when you're seeding it this late in the year, when the sunlight and warmth are less abundant. If you don't get it established before the freezing temps hit, it won't work, so it's a race against time. Here's a photo of Randy loading the rye into the seeder on his tractor.
Thanksgiving Centerpiece Workshop
A few years ago, we hosted our first annual Thanksgiving Centerpiece Workshop in our barn, and since then, it's been a beloved event here at the farm. Katelyn of Rustle Floral Co. shows you how to make a centerpiece using one of our sugar pumpkins, and it's a beautiful experience. We've decided to host it again this year, but with COVID-safe protocols in place:
- No more than 16 people will be in attendance during one time slot
- Doors to the barn will be open
- There will be tents set up outside the barn for those wishing to further distance in open air.
- We will be sanitizing before and after each time slot
- Mask-wearing will be a requirement in order to attend
- Tables are spaced out 6 feet apart, and tables of two will be used
- A few more take-home kits are also available, for those who wish to complete the centerpiece at home
- If state guidelines determine that we are unable to host the event in-person, we will provide a $10 refund and a take home kit to all those who purchased a ticket
Time Slots are:
Monday, November 23, 2020 from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. (SOLD OUT)
Monday, November 23, 2020 from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 24, 2020 from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, November 24, 2020 from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
To purchase a ticket, visit: www.laurelglenfarm.com/events Pre-COVID footage:
Spotlight on Tokyo Bekana:
Tokyo Bekana is a mild Asian cabbage green in the Brassica rapa family, meaning it's related to turnips, mustard greens, and bok choy. Randy loves to try out new cultivars for our foodie members, and thought this would be an exciting addition to our boxes this fall because it's not commonly found in stores or even at farmers' markets. These bright green-yellow leaves are tender with a crunch, and you can eat them raw in salads or cooked. This week, you're also receiving mustard greens, which will make an excellent companion to the Tokyo Bekana. Our recommendation is to try it stir-fried or in veggie wraps, or in an Asian style soup with pork and rice noodles. If you've still got Napa cabbage left from last week, all 3 would be fantastic together.
One more major goal to accomplish this week: prepping garlic to be planted for next year! Although many of our crops are "overwintered," meaning they can sustain the winter elements to be harvested next spring (collards, kale, leeks, and scallions, for example), garlic is technically the first crop to be seeded for next year's harvest. While we watch TV in the evening, we'll spend time separating each and every clove so that it can be individually planted. More on that process next week!
A Message from Randy:
Contents (In approximate order from shortest shelf life to longest):
1 bunch of Tokyo bekana
1 bunch of mustard greens
1/4 lb. bag of spinach
1 lb. of potatoes
1 spaghetti squash
1 head of lettuce
1 bunch of Tokyo bekana
1 bunch of mustard greens
1/2 lb. bag of spinach
1 bunch of scallions
1 lb. of potatoes
1 spaghetti squash
Caring For Your Share:
Wash all before using:
Store the kohlrabi in a Ziploc bag as is; there will be no greens to remove and save this week because of the freeze on October 30th.
Store the mustard greens, Tokyo bekana, and head of lettuce in a Ziploc bag in the fridge, removing any bad spots first. Shake out the head of lettuce to remove excess water. Wash and spin out when ready to use. Spinach can also be cared for the same way; just leave it in the bag and be sure to wash very well.
Store the potatoes, garlic, and spaghetti squash in a cool, dark place such as a pantry. Put them in a mesh bag or a location where they will get some air flow. Keep them out of the fridge and keep garlic and potatoes away from each other.
Store the tops of scallions in a Ziploc bag with the roots in water in a small glass of water, like a vase.
LGF Cooking Club:
Spaghetti Squash Recipes: 39 Ideas from Breakfast to Dessert:
Roasted Kohlrabi (Toss in the potatoes, too!):
(If you're like us and you don't love it raw, cooking it changes its flavor profile and sweetens it)
Similarly, Roasted Kohlrabi with Old Bay Onion Dip:
Kohlrabi and Lentil Soup (Substitute mustard greens for the collard greens in this recipe for a kick):
More ideas for the kohlrabi? Home fries, slaw, or fritters.
Tokyo Bekana Wraps:
Spicy Pork & Mustard Greens Soup:
Slow-Cooked Salmon, Chickpeas, and Greens Recipe:
Shrimp Stir-Fry with Chinese Greens:
Egg, Mushroom, Potato, and Spinach Hash (P.S. 100 grams is about 1/2 cup of spinach):
Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Soup (Use this more as inspiration for your items this week than an exact recipe):
Cooking Tip(s) of the Week:
The Foolproof Method for Washing Salad Greens
(Hint: Skip the colander and running water!)
Biweekly Catch-up Time:
This past weekend, we notified our winner of the Most Creative Soup contest...
Congratulations to Dana! We had originally intended to have our crew pick the winner, but you all let us off the hook (phew, thank you!) Dana emailed this submission over, and I posted it to our social media stories. We were instantly flooded with "reactions" and messages asking for the recipe for her Cauliflower Chowder, and we knew she had to be the winner. Here's the link to the recipe:
https://damndelicious.net/2014/03/22/cauliflower-chowder/ Dana recommends adding a can of creamed corn to the soup, too, for some sweetness.
On Friday night, we said goodbye to all of our summer crop plants. The squash, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes were all lost in the first snow storm of the season. But who can be upset after the run we had this year?! We had a few early light frosts, but other than that, we have no complaints at all. It's the beginning of November, and we still have some tomatoes left after the last harvest... we feel pretty lucky! Here are some photos of the destruction:
This shifts our focus heavily to clean up. Randy and his crew harvested a ton of peppers that were left behind on these plants and then focused his energy into mowing down the plants with his tractor. One of the other big aspects of clean-up is picking up all of the drip irrigation lines that helped to water our rows all season long. Here's a shot of crew member Ethan winding up a bunch of line.
A few years back, Randy switched to using biodegradable plastic mulch on his raised beds to help with weed control. We used to pick it up by hand and throw it away... which was extremely beneficial to reducing our chemical inputs, but obviously still not eco-friendly. Now we plant on biodegradable plastic whenever possible, which means it can be harrowed under and added to the soil. This also helps us to cut down on our labor after the main growing season is over.