We are into the final days of the 2018 CSA Season. It has been quite a year. Robert and I thank you for your participation in our small, family farm CSA.
If you have stashed the white or russet potatoes and not looked at them in a while, you will find they are sprouting. This is because we do not spray any chemicals on our potatoes to keep them from growing. I recommend removing the sprouts off when you see them. Otherwise eventually, the sprouts will drain the potato of all moisture and leave it a wrinkly, rubbery mass.
Speaking of potatoes, Nat King Cole sings “the world is my sweet potato pie” which is a dish to keep in mind if you think you have more sweet potatoes than you can eat!
The last of the CSA Boxes are going out soon. Look for a variety of winter squash and sweet potatoes when the last of the eggplant and bell peppers are gone. If you still have some eggplant and peppers in the refrigerator and are confused by the small sizes, consider making a ratatouille with them where size does not matter—only flavor!
The garden clean up continues. Fingers crossed that all of the work will be done by Christmas this year! Robert is spending long hours still in the garden. One evening he snapped this photo as the sun was setting in the west.
And we simply could not resist turning the “sunset over the garden” photo upside down to display the quite distinct cross in the sky above the garden. Our harvests were protected all season long!
Robert is working on the fall garden clean up. He is able to get a jump start on this chore this year because as our CSA Members know many of our fall crops are practically non-existent in 2018. Every piece of fabric, every stake, every fabric staple, every inch of drip irrigation tape must be removed from the field during cleanup. And yes, excluding the starting of seeds and plants in the greenhouse, it takes as long to close down production as it did to start up production. In other words, the fun is not over yet–the beat goes on! We are watching the hurricanes and their associated rainfall carefully. This is one factor which can extend this job into January or beyond whereas normally all work can be accomplished by Christmas.
Birds (especially crows) quickly learn human patterns. They will wait for people to leave before descending from the trees into the garden. Our smart crows actually know where our house is location in relation to the fields. When Robert is in the garden, some of them will sit in the trees at the house and harass me with their caw-caw-cawing. I think now they are upset now by the limited number of veggies available! The minute Robert leaves the field the crows swoop into the gardens to peck at our dear vegetables. When they see the truck leave the house and drive back into the field, they ascend to the surrounding tree tops with a few sentinels coming up to the house to try and intimidate me! Working with nature is challenging to say the least.
This is the “high spot” in the field and where the remaining eggplant and peppers are still growing. I still have not sent out those closing emails–perhaps in another week? The end is nearing.
Fall has arrived with barely a change in temperatures! I am sure it is confusing for the birds and animals who do not have a calendar to tell them that “fall” is here. I have been seeing and hearing the geese fly over the house in their “V” formation. They go back and forth and then back and forth again the next day. They land on the pond with a graceful flutter which I have witnessed. When I see them flying over, I feel that is where they are going again on a “trial run” and to bathe. Perhaps they are just conditioning themselves for their long flight to the south?
We are into the month of October and in this 2018 Harvest Season, we plan to end the veggie deliveries and pickups on October 31. If you are a CSA Member who has paid in advance through the month of November, we will have boxes for you during November on your usual schedule. However, we will be gradually closing down the majority of the CSA as the month progresses. No one has yet to receive an email saying that the CSA Boxes are ending. Rest assured I will email each CSA Member directly and ask for a reply so “we know that you know.”
In October look for a variety of winter squashes. All are tasty! If you want to use them for fall decorations, that is your choice! We have some potatoes, sweet bell peppers and a few eggplant which are still growing on the “high side” of the garden.
This has been a year! We are blessed to have the gifts we have received from the gardens! The time for hot soup and hunkering down will be here before we know it.
Late last evening Robert and I were in the gardens looking around to see what would be available for the boxes this week. There may be a few eggplant, but they really are not doing well this season. The peppers look good and we trust they will continue to get enough sunshine to sweeten them and not be overcome by tropical storm rains! We trust you are enjoying your tomatoes. They were late this season, but the late tomatoes are always the sweetest ones!
As we were looking about, I got to see the doe with the twin babies. Then a third fawn made an appearance! For a moment we thought there were triplets, but then saw a second doe lingering on the sidelines. Thrilling for me! Robert gets to see these creatures on a regular basis as he spends decidedly more time than I in the gardens. Also, the wildlife is accustomed to seeing his truck in the fields and are not frightened by it like they are of my car. When they see me, they go into “Stranger! Danger!!” mode. This photo was taken from some distance; but f you look closely, I think you can see four of the deer –one doe and three fawns.
In the boxes this week expect some more (admittedly ugly) potatoes, tomatoes, and sweet bell peppers. Possibly there will be a cucumber and a few eggplant. We will have a variety of winter squash over the next few weeks: spaghetti, carousel, acorn, delicata, buttercup, and a few of the dusty green type. The winter squash did not have the opportunity to harden as we would have liked–weather patterns. But the bugs are starting to eat them, so this is as good as it gets for the season and our signal to get them into shelter!
Robert has been mowing around the gardens in an attempt to eliminate some of the weeds which have taken over. He leaves the pretty yellow-flower weeds, however, as the local bees seem to like them and not much else is blooming this time of the year.
Those members who have been with us for fifteen years–or any amount of time–know there are good years and bad years in farming. Even the potatoes have been challenged in 2018. I just posted a short story about potatoes which I trust all will find amusing. All in all, we are happy enough with what we have been able to provide in this trying season. Thank you for your continued support AND for bringing back those empty CSA Boxes!!
A Girl Potato and Boy Potato had eyes for each other, and finally they got married, and had a little sweet potato, which they called ‘Yam.’ Of course, they wanted the best for Yam.
When it was time, they told her about the facts of life. They warned her about going out and getting half-baked, so she wouldn’t get accidentally mashed, and get a bad name for herself like ‘Hot Potato,’ and end up with a bunch of tater tots.
Yam said not to worry, no spud would get her into the sack and make a rotten potato out of her! But on the other hand she wouldn’t stay home and become a couch potato either. She would get plenty of exercise so as not to be skinny like her shoestring cousins.
When she went off to Europe, Mr. And Mrs. Potato told Yam to watch out for the hard-boiled guys from Ireland and the greasy guys from France called the French fries.
And when she went out West, to watch out for the Indians so she wouldn’t get scalloped.
Yam said she would stay on the straight and narrow and wouldn’t associate with those high class Yukon Golds, or the ones from the other side of the tracks who advertise their trade on all the trucks that say, ‘Frito Lay.’
Mr. And Mrs. Potato sent Yam to Idaho P.U. (that’s Potato University ) so that when she graduated she’d really be in the chips.
But in spite of all they did for her, one-day Yam came home and announced she was
going to marry Tom Brokaw. Tom Brokaw! Mr. And Mrs. Potato were very upset. They told Yam she couldn’t possibly marry Tom Brokaw because he’s just . . .
Are you ready for this?
Here it is!
Some of my family is from Ireland and some of my family is from France. I trust the Irish, French, Indians, Commentators, and all others will share the humor in this potato story and not be offended!
Fall is in the air. A couple of cool nights reminded us of what a wonderful season fall is! School is starting. We are noticing the leaves on various trees starting to turn yellow. My Autumn Joy Sedum is turning slightly pink which is always a sign of fall. Will fall be early this year?
In the boxes this week expect potatoes, spaghetti squash (pictured below), tomatoes, green peppers (some starting to turn colors), a few patty pan squash and zucchini. Possibly there will be a cucumber and a few eggplant. This first wave of eggplant is not producing well, but perhaps the next will be better. We are also seeing some beautiful acorn squash. If they are not in the boxes this week, they will be soon. Season change!
We started calling these individual-sized spaghetti squash “hurricane squash” the year we had two hurricanes back to back. In those days we were still supplying vegetables to some restaurants downtown. That week they all closed their doors (and cancelled orders) because there was no electricity. CSA Members, however, still arrived for their boxes and were quite happy to have something which they could cook on the grill and eat from the shell–no electricity or dishes required. And now you know why we switched all of our produce marketing to CSA Members!
For tips on preparing the spaghetti squash go to the Recipes “W” for Winter Squash and scroll towards the bottom of the page. They are great served with sauteed peppers and summer squash! Or just use a quality spaghetti sauce.
One final note: The Farmer says the winter squash were unable to properly harden this season due to the weather patterns. So don’t try to keep them sitting around for any length of time. FYI, they can be cooked and the pulp frozen for later use. It will taste just like the day you baked it. And if you use vacumn seal bags for storage (after freezing first), the “spaghetti” will taste great for years! We know this from experience!
There has been a hodge-podge of mixed veggies in the CSA Boxes recently. Some members received lettuce and escarole which we discovered growing in the weeds! Robert calls this year a Survivalist Garden. The beets are pretty much gone at this point. They never got very large, but one can do a lot with two or three pretty little beets!
We do not see many eggplant on the first wave, the boxes will have them whenever possible. We do have hopes for the second and third waves of eggplant. The peppers are doing better in some areas of the garden than in others. We trust they will increase in September. We are starting to find a very few ripening tomatoes. Don’t expect many in the beginning! The plants are all staked up and looking good. A great deal of effort has been put into the tomatoes. Fingers crossed! We discovered these growing in the weeds!
They are some of the largest melons we have ever grown! The excessive rainfalls can be thanked for this! We trust the sunshine has been sufficient to make them sweet. Use your own judgement as to when to eat them. The melons were weeded clean at one point and then Nature took over and we thought they were lost. The beets on the other hand were weeded many times and you know how they turned out. An interesting year to say the least, but we’re still standing and have not felt the need to close the CSA down! Thank you one and all for hanging in there with your CSA Farmers!
Weeds have been getting a bad rap, so I want to post this photo of our “backyard.” Obviously, there has been no time to use the weed eater. The area is overgrown, but look at the beautiful, purple flowers on these weeds. The butterflies love them!
On a housekeeping note: We began the season with three (3) labeled boxes for each CSA Member. Presently, I have one (1) box on the shelf. I know some members do not even take the box from the pickup site. However, if you do and you are “hording” CSA Boxes, please return them! And if you have tossed them out, please stop by Ingles and locate clean boxes to replace them. It has become necessary for us to go into the “unlabeled box” part of the harvest season going forward. Thank you in advance for the boxes!