Growers Row: October is the month of: Green tomatoes! Purple Potatoes! Sweet potatoes! ALL THE SQUASH!
By Lauren Kaplan, Crew Leader
If you’re a CSA member, it may be time to say farewell to most summer fruits like peppers and eggplant -- BUT you can expect about 2 more weeks of green tomatoes! These tart, tangy fruits may be intimidating, but we encourage you to give them a try during the short window when they’re available. Green tomatoes are great pickled halved (for snacking and salads) or in slices (for sandwiches or *pickled* fried green tomatoes).
Later in the month, look for the appearance of purple fingerling potatoes and the much-beloved butternut squash. Purple potatoes make for a fun mash, and are beautiful roasted with rosemary or thyme -- especially if you snagged a celeriac root from an earlier distribution. Butternut squash can be roasted in rounds, in cubes, with brown butter and sage, or tossed together with potatoes and sweet potatoes. It is also perfect for soups and pies. When substituted for acorn squash, it lends a velvety quality to this 5-ingredient Thai-spiced Pumpkin Soup. Kale and carrots will get noticeably sweeter as the weather gets colder, and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes will eventually make their hefty debut.
While you all are busy steaming up the kitchen with your farm-fresh creations, we (the farm team) are out here busily covering our farm-fields with cover crops and planting hardy greens to prepare for Winter CSA. Kale, chard, spinach, radicchio and cutting lettuce are all making their way from the greenhouse to the high tunnels. Here, they will be planted with careful attention to spacing, to maximize space while still ensuring enough room for plants to size up. They’ll grow slowly, and we will harvest these precious winter greens from December through March.
Out in the fields, some blocks are home to fall radishes and turnips, all of which are swelling in size beneath their stiff leafy canopy. In others, large blocks of cover crop are quilting the farm in lush, verdant green above, while below ground they are cultivating a rich, busy micro-ecosystem in their rhizosphere or root-zone. Some of these cover crops, such as the majestic sudan grass or oats and peas, will either be tilled in or will winter-kill, covering the soil like a winter blanket. Others, like rye and vetch, will survive the winter to bring a burst of life to the farm in March, when the soil softens.
Meanwhile, we continue to harvest every week for CSA, and to chip away at bigger projects -- such as liberating our fence from the clamoring tower of trailing vines and other plants that are threatening to pull it down with their leafy weight. Here to help us with some of these projects, we have the newest group of Vassar and Marist students! It’s been a pleasure and a help to have some fresh new faces on the farm, as well as some help from former students who seem to just really like being here. (We know how they feel!) And of course, workshare continues, with some really hard-working, fantastic groups to close out September and kick us into full-on Fall.
Enjoy the autumn harvest, and we’ll be back with more Winter CSA share updates in November!