The farm underwent a transformation this week... a change in Winter clothes. In a whirlwind week we composted, prepped and seeded into cover crop over 70% of the farmland we planted this year, as well as a new area farmland for next year. Those bare areas you see out there are now seeded into a mixture of Bell Beans, Magnus Peas, Dundale Peas, Common Vetch and Barley and Oats -- an excellent nitrogen fixing, organic matter building blend. Soon a green fuzz of Barley and Oats will cover the land and then, come spring, a waist high sea of green will wave in the wind. This crop will feed, enrich, and build the soil next year and beyond.
The Fall transition into cover crop, which takes place on many or most small organic veggie farms in temperate climates, made me think of one of the ways vegetable farming in Sonoma is very different than vegetable farming in New England and colder temperate climates North. In those places, Old Man Winter mandates that you initiate this process; i.e. frost kills your tomatoes and peppers and other cold sensitive crops. In this climate, we could have let these crops keep producing and limp into Winter as long as possible. Instead, we choose to mow them down for the health of our soil. In order to germinate a great stand of winter cover crop in Sonoma county, it is best to get it in the ground by the middle of October. Any later and you risk colder temperatures inhibiting the germination of the cover crop seed and your fields laying bare through the winter. You were probably tired of cherry tomatoes anyway, right?
So, in the Final Act of a month of field clearing harvests, we picked a few bins of green tomatoes, said thanks to the tomato plants that gave us so much this summer, and vanished them back into the soil from whence they came -- with a little help from our flail mower.
The areas of the farm that are still planted into veggies, our Fall brassicas, greens and other goodies, will hold that pose through the winter. Some will be mulched and some undersown with clover. These areas we will rest in cover crop in the early summer, and all areas will be rotated into another crop family.
I recommend taking a moment to appreciate the changing of the guard out there if you have a moment. The first blades of oat and barley are poking up out of the soil, at attention, waiting for the rains to transform the farm into a sea of green.
See you in the fields,
THIS WEEKS HARVEST: Butterscotch Butternut Squash, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Cured Cabernet Onions, Heirloom Tomatoes, Green Sweet Peppers, Broccoli, Daikon Radish, Napa Cabbage, Beets, Celery Root, Rainbow Carrots, Brussel Sprout Tops, Red Russian Kale, Arugula, Spinach, Frisée, Flashy Trout Back & Muir Summercrisp Head Lettuces
Check out our favorite Kim-chi recipe... great preserve using Daikon Radish and Napa Cabbage
Jack O' Lanterns: We brought the last Jack O Lantern pumpkins into the barn so that we could transition that field into winter mode. There are a few left. Did everyone get one? Don't be shy! Limit 1 per share. For households with two or more children, limit is 2 per share.
U-PICK in the GARDEN:
Shishito and Black Hungarian Frying Peppers
Padrones & Jalapeños
All harvestable herbs and flowers.
Garlic Planting Party & Fall Harvest Potluck:
When: Sunday, November 5th, Garlic Planting at 2:00 pm, Potluck at 5:30
Where: Out in the main fields next to the raspberries
What now? A party wherein we plant 2018's garlic!
What-to-bring: Clothes you don't mind getting dirty. Water, sunhat, snacks, and a dish inspired by the Fall harvest season
Join Green Valley Farm + Mill for Farm Cycle, a fundraiser for Sonoma County farms affected by the fires. All proceeds from the day will go to help support fire relief for food farms and farm workers in Sonoma County via CAFF and Undocufund.
The day includes a bike ride (optional), a feast, fundraising, speakers, and music.
Read more about it here:
You can pick up quite a haul at Green Valley these days, don't forget to check out the creamery for Bramble Tail beef, Hands Full Farm eggs, Bramble Tail milk and cheese (herdshare members only), herbal remedies by Aubrie, and Firefly chocolate. Hawk Hill Sourdough Bread is located in the freezer in our barn.