I planted our first batch of fall greens, radishes, turnips, etc a little over two weeks, so in a week or two we should have some of the quicker growing crops–mesclun (baby mustard and asian greens), arugula, and French breakfast radishes–followed soon after by baby bok choy and hakurei turnips.
We also have some fennel that is just about ready. We might start harvesting that in the next week or two.
As many of our veteran CSA members well know, we don’t always have the best luck with winter squash and pumpkins. This year we tried planting our winter squash a little later this year to see if that might help them do better. The plants have been flowering for several weeks now and are all forming fruits at this point (butternuts, acorn, sweet dumpling, delicata, and pumpkins). We hope to have some winter squash and pumpkins to offer you this fall.
Last weekend was reasonably dry, which means… I was able to take pictures on Tuesday afternoon! Although we’re still toting lots of summer crops to markets and pick-ups, we’ve been thinking ahead to fall and seeding and transplanting lots of fall crops over the last several weeks. And so, I present a taste of what’s to come!
From left to right, I present some of our tiny miracle brassicas – Caraflex cabbage, Super Red 80 cabbage, and Nelson Brussels sprouts. Why miracle brassicas? These, along with some broccoli and cauliflower, were transplanted over the course of last week. They were, however, looking a bit rough, thanks to lots of hungry harlequin bugs and cabbage loopers in the high tunnel – and by rough, I mean, “If these little guys make it, it’s going to be a miracle.” I was pleasantly surprised on my photo expedition this week to see that they’ve all grown a bit, and they each have a few new leaves intact. It’s very encouraging! We transplanted kale, kohlrabi, and more broccoli this week, and I’m hoping that they make similar progress over the next few weeks.
We have a few plantings of fennel in the ground at the moment. Fennel is a member of the carrot family, and has ferny leaves much like dill (also a member of the carrot family). Fennel has an anise or licorice flavor, and can be eaten raw or cooked.
We’ve started to see young winter squash starting to form, like the butternut squash-in-progress here. Of all of the fall crops that I’ll miss after I leave next week, winter squash are second only to sweet potatoes on my list. As we weeded a later planting of winter squash this afternoon, we could see some tiny (1-1.5″) sweet dumpling and Delicata squash starting to form as well!
Our watermelon radishes were seeded about two weeks ago, and look to be doing well. They’re a milder radish than the French breakfast radishes that we had in the spring, and really do look like little watermelons – green outside, pink inside. There were a few in storage from last fall when I arrived in May, and they were very popular at the market! In the same field, we also have several varieties of turnips that are about as far along as the radishes. Bad joke alert: one should never turn-up one’s nose at turnips… (I’m rather partial to them.)
And we’ll finish up with Cara’s obligatory flower pictures – I can’t help it! The butterflies are really quite partial to the zinnias, and our second planting of zinnias are looking great!
Hope to see lots of you at the market tomorrow morning! I can’t believe it’s my last Saturday market – I’m going to miss them!
New this week:
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan Published by Penguin Group (USA), Inc., 2009
In Defense of Food was one of the first books I borrowed from Theresa’s collection, before I started blogging. As I finish rereading a chapter of my most recent book (Agrarian Dreams, about organic farming in California – stay tuned!) and taking a few notes for my post, I thought I’d fill the void with a previous read. I read Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma in college. Actually, I read it three and a half times in college – it was assigned for my applied plant science class, my community and environmental health class, another environmental science class, and I read a section of it while researching a paper in my freshman writing seminar. (Omnivore and I are good friends by now.) Having found that book very thought-provoking (it was one of the driving factors in my decision to give up eating meat as a junior at Furman), I was excited to read another of Michael Pollan’s books.
In Defense of Food is Pollan’s argument against the abundance of processed food that pervades American food culture, and against what he labels ‘nutritionism’ – the reduction of food into specific nutrients that are marketed to us. We’ve all seen food packages that exclaim, “Contains omega-3 fatty acids” or “Fortified with vitamin A or D or Q” (yes, I am aware that there is no vitamin Q). Pollan alluded also to an oat bran craze that occurred before my awareness of food systems. This reductionist view of food as nutrients allows, as the book notes, Frito-Lay potato chips friend in peanut oil to claim that they are a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids. (Um, potato chip companies making health claims strikes me as a bit…wrong.)
Pollan’s response to the current food culture boils (food pun intended) down to seven words: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” This doesn’t sound that complicated or revolutionary. (What would we eat besides food?) The final pages delve into this mantra further, providing the following guidelines for a healthier American food culture:
Eat food. – Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. (Go-Gurt is Pollan’s example of choice.) – Don’t eat anything that is incapable of rotting. (Ahem, McDonald’s fries and Twinkies.) – Avoid food products containing ingredients that are A) unfamiliar, B) unpronounceable, c) more than five in number, or D) that include high-fructose corn syrup. These are markers for highly processed foods. – Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle. – Get out of the supermarket whenever possible – farmers’ markets, CSAs (shameless plug, courtesy of Michael Pollan), etc. Shake the hand that feeds you. (I’ve researched the farmers’ markets in my hometown so that when I return to the Western Shore, I can check them out!)
Not too much. – Pay more, eat less. (Opt for quality over quantity.) – Eat meals – not in front of a TV or computer, not in a moving car; sit down with family and develop a family food culture. – Do all your eating at a table. – Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does (i.e. gas station food). – Eat slowly and appreciate your food. – Cook, and plant a garden.
Mostly plants. – Eat mostly plants, especially leaves. – You are what you eat eats too – beware of industrial livestock feed, antibiotics, etc. – Buy a freezer – buy in-season produce from farmers’ markets, and store it. – Eat like an omnivore – choose a diverse range of foods. – Don’t look for a dietary magic bullet – dietary patterns are more than the sum of their foods.
Whether you subscribe to all of these suggestions, just one of them, or simply mull them over, they are good food for thought (hmmm… more food puns), Stay tuned for two, maybe three more reading list posts before I finish my stay at the farm at the end of August. I’m also hoping to get out to take more pictures this week – it’s been so rainy lately that photo opportunities have been few and far between. (It often feels like it’s either raining, about to rain, or just finished raining with rather bedraggled plants. I say this as we have a good chance of rain for our harvest day tomorrow.)
Enjoy the last few weeks of summer!
|Expected Harvest:Back again this week: