Emily, Brandon, and I spent last Thursday tucking our plants in with extra blankets, hoping it would help. Heading through the week the lows for Thursday and Friday kept dropping until eventually, they stuck at 16 and 17 respectively. To keep all of us fed, our plants required protection. We lugged succulent kohlrabi out of the field. We hoped for cold hardiness from our turnips and rutabaga (I have a good feeling). We battled the wind, lugged sand bags around, bent hoops, and pulled covers as tightly as we could with the wind trying to make us aeronautically mobile. We would have like to do more bulk harvesting of some roots and have left less to be revealed but surreptitious checking of the weather revealed an unkind fact. It was while snacking on peanut butter and apples at our late lunch that I realized the temperatures Friday, our main harvest day, were not even going come close to rising above freezing, meaning all our harvest had to be completed before the freeze. And then, around that time, an order came in. Yes, let us add more work to less time! We did what we could, which ended with Emily, Jim, and I clipping kohlrabi in the dark and then me spinning greens dry and trying to keep them from freezing between the rinse and the walk-in.
All in all, survival rates were high. We are still waiting for word on a couple crops but what we know? Most of the greens did their thing and are even more delicious than before, begging the question, that was a possibility?! We are waiting for word back on the chard- it seems its central leaves survived and the outers sacrificed themselves for the cause- as well as the radishes. The collard, cabbage, and beets did what they are known for and hung out in the bitter weather beaming vegetably goodness. The crop I am most relieved about are the pounds and pounds of potatoes that weathered the weather from below deck. Only a few from the uppermost layers of soil froze and thawed, creating spongy potato balls which are great for throwing for dogs on sunny Tuesday potato harvests.
The order that came in last Thursday afternoon, despite its terrible timing, was one we were not in the least expecting, but hoping for-- Argus Farmstop! For those of you that haven't heard of Argus in Ann Arbor, here is a link to their website. Although they say it best, it is essentially a farmer sourced grocery store, allowing for easier access to local products with all the health, economical, and environmental benefits that come along with that for our community. Starting now, you can find our greens at their Packard street location.
And even though our plates are still full, winter time duties are piling into this clown car. Kicking off one project, Ethan, a carpenter-craftsman-collector we met though the farmers' market scene came out to look at our dilapidated barns yesterday. We are hoping to restore two of them and salvage one of them. He thinks we can. We just have to figure out how much work and time and money it will be and see if we can do it. That is what winter is for.
Another exciting winter task: acquisition! We have started ordering next years crops, kicking it off with ginger. Next up potatoes and reupping our seed CSA from High Mowing seeds (our favorite seed company as of now). We are checking local auctions and craigslist and farm trader sections of papers. We are looking for cultivation equipment, a market vehicle, and ideas for intern housing, along with variable odds and end. There is an auction coming up close by. When long standing family farms have auctions, it is always bittersweet. It is sad to see another "small", family owned and operated farm get dismantled. I fear for the land and for the community. But they always have the best equipment. Machines that are idea of cultivation, that I can learn how to work on. And pallets of hand tools. Hopefully we will rise to carry on the legacy.
More in the works as we keep working! See you for some warmer markets this week.
PS: Sorry, no pictures this week. Our mail merge apps tortured me for the last hour...
Beets by the pound
Carrot by the pound
Kohlrabi: Beastly beauties!
Greens: Arugula, mustard, tatsoi, Tokyo bekana (bok choi lettuce), Salad Mix (maybe), spinach (limited)
Swiss Chard (?) Maybe Saturday
Collards: Even sweeter now!
Hot Peppers- cayenne! Great dried for a bright colorful summer reminder in the doldrums of winter
Potatoes: German butterball, chieftan, elfe
Sweet Potatoes- the tiny ones are my favorite roasted whole or tossed in stew
Radishes- Daikon, green meat (sweet), black, watermelon, and pink
Winter squash: Delicata, Spaghetti, Red Kuri & Long Pie!
Turnips - purple top and golden globe
*We post thisbefore harvest, and although we do our very best to make accurate predictions, crops and quantities found at market may vary.