THIS WEEK'S HARVEST - PURPLE WEEK!
New Harvest Moon Purple Potatoes, Heirloom & Slicing Tomatoes (See Week 9’s newsletter for variety descriptions), Sweet Peppers, Candystripe Beets, Assorted Eggplant, Duganski Hardneck Garlic, Dino Kale, Integro Purple Cabbage, Lady Murasaki Purple Boc Choi, Purple Daikon, Assorted Cucumbers, Summer Squash and Zucchini, Rainbow Carrots, Mustard Mix, Little Gems & Assorted Head Lettuce
Dragon Tongue Green Beans: No limit this week. Time to make dilly beans! See last week’s newsletter for a great pickled green bean recipe
Husk Cherries - Snacks - See week 8’s newsletter for harvest tips
Cherry Tomatoes: No limit this week! See week 7’s newsletter for varieties
Frying Peppers: Shishito, Black Hungarian, Padrón / See Week 2's newsletter for harvest tips
Jalapeños: Located below the frying peppers
Herbs: Italian Basil, Tulsi Basil, Thai Basil, Purple Basil, Italian Parsley, Rosemary, Lemon balm, Lemon Verbena, Perennial Cilantro, Annual Cilantro, French Sorrel, Onion Chives, Garlic Chives, Shiso, Tarragon, Oregano, Thyme, Chamomile, Mints, Dill, Anise Hyssop (*New Italian, Thai, and Purple basil plantings on the west side of the garden.)
Flowers! New zinnias and cosmos beds on the farm to the left of the cherry tomatoes
New Harvest Moon Potatoes: The Burpee’s catalogue copy writer says it best: “Potatoes as objects of beauty? Let your eyes linger on ‘Harvest Moon’, with her velvety dark-purple skin and dense, sumptuous golden-yellow flesh. A seductively gorgeous purple potato princess, she’s as gorgeous to behold as she is tasty. Infused with creamy, nutty flavor, ‘Harvest Moon’ is a culinary triumph on her own, no butter or salt required. Multitalented, crack-resistant medium-sized potato can be enjoyed every which way: mashed, baked, boiled, fried—or adding color and flavor to a potato salad." New potatoes are potatoes that harvested fresh while the plant is still green and the skins haven’t hardened. They are crisp, turgid, fresh vegetables and something of a delicacy.
Duganski Hardneck Garlic: This week is the first appearance of our 3rd garlic variety this year. Duganski is a deep, earthy, almost musky-flavored garlic that many garlic lovers prize. Few, large cloves, and downright pretty. See Week 7’s newsletter for a rundown of this year’s garlic flight.
Beet Greens: Did you know, beets and chard are the same exact plant? Beets are just bred to have a nice round root, whereas chard is bred to have nice large foliage. Try using the nice beet greens this week as you would chard!
PRESERVING THE HARVEST
Tomatoes: This might be the last week of bulk tomatoes on the back table. Pick-up your tomatoes for canning or preserving this week before they are gone! Each share may take a 15 lb (season limit) big batch of tomatoes from the back table. You can take your 15 lb allotment all at once, or in smaller increments (7lbs this week, 8 lbs next week, for example). But get them now, because the late summer avalanche is almost over! We’ll have a scale out for weighing. Please bring your own bag or box to take them home.
Bulk Carrots: We have a ton of carrots right now. We will be putting out big carrots on the back table for pickling, juicing, etc. Check out this wonderful recipe for pickling carrots… or any vegetable!
FALL HARVEST SKILLSHARES
We’re super excited to announce two Fall workshops put on by our neighbor, CSA member, and ecological educator, Lindsay Dailey.
Colors of the Land
Saturday, September 28th: 9am - 11am.
In addition to providing beauty, pollen, nectar (and joy!), the flowers at GVCF are full of wearable color. Join us to learn the process of natural dyeing, utilizing plants to saturate fibers with various hues from nature. We’ll take a walk through the garden, look at some wild and cultivated dye plants that are abundant on the farm, and then harvest a few batches of plant material to cook up some color! We’ll discuss the process of natural dyeing, while the pots simmer, and you’ll have a colorful scarf or hankie to take home at the end of pickup. Silk bandanas and scarves (pre-mordanted) will be available to dye during the class and take home for a suggested donation of $5 - $10.
The Magic of Corn in the Kitchen and Garden
Saturday, November 2nd: 10am - 12pm
Want to make tortillas and tamales from Green Valley corn? Learn to work with the magic of corn. Lindsay — a deep student of corn — will demonstrate how to grind corn for flour, discuss recipes, and explore the alchemy of nixtamalization which makes corn sticky in order to make masa for tortillas and tamales. While we work, Lindsay and the farmers will talk about the natural history and mythology of corn and discuss planting, growing, and saving seed from this amazing plant in the home garden! And then we'll eat some fresh made tortillas! Yum!
GARLIC TRIMMERS WANTED
Thank you to Ralph Elder and Kathy Meechan for trimming up this week’s garlic! We are looking for a few more lovely volunteers for a meditative farm task — trimming garlic. Wherein… we will set you up with a seat and some nice scissors and you can trim garlic ‘til the cows come home. Literally! Let us know if you are interested!
VOLUNTEER WEDNESDAYS, 8:00-10:00 AM
Interested in some farm therapy? Come out on Wednesday mornings to help us tend the garden and farm together! Find us in the garden or out in the main fields on Wednesdays from 8:00am 'til 10:00 am. People of all abilities welcome, we’ll find something comfortable for you to do!
Middle of the Harvest Season Musings
Time flies and here we find ourselves midway through our 2019 harvest season — an exciting harvest time when Summer and Fall collide. We’re digging our way out of the tomato avalanche, enjoying the juiciest sweet peppers of the year, and getting our first tastes of Fall (hello, potatoes!)
We thought we’d take this moment at this time of transition to look backward and forward (risking the anger of the Farm Gods) to our harvest year thus far, to give you a farmer’s eye view status update on the crops we’ve grown thus far, and those that are coming soon. For at this time of year 95% of the planting has been accomplished and we can begin to take stock of the harvest year as a whole.
Where to start? With Spring of course…
We had a colossally soggy Spring, punctuated by a freak 5 inch deluge on May 18th, which of all Spring events probably had the largest ramifications on our Spring and Summer harvests. You could see the mark of the storm most clearly in the pepper and eggplant harvests. The first sweet peppers we were harvesting were diminutive —sweet but small — these being from the pepper planting in the ground during the storm and in the swamp after. Contrast them to the large, thick walled, robust peppers in this week’s harvest, planted a month after the storm, and on higher, better drained soil. The storm also hit the eggplant. So hard, in fact, we debated about whether or not to rip them out. We left them in, and in a testament to the strength of plants, we have been graced with enough to be able to distribute limited eggplant. Both the pepper and eggplant harvest are a testament to Kayta’s crop planning par excellence in that in this, a bad year, we are able to distribute some. The storm also affected our field tomatoes: The avalanche of heirlooms and canners the last three weeks were the plants’ climax, slightly smaller and earlier than in healthier years and they will now quickly dwindle toward the Equinox… making room on the harvest table.
On the other end of the spectrum we feel we’ve had the best cherry tomato, legume (peas and green beans), carrot, and greens (lettuce, kales, chard, arugula) year thus far — the result of small tweaks to practices, varieties, timing, and the almighty, mysterious, fickle, and unknowable graces of the Farm Gods. Thank you, Farm Gods.
Except for the flowers. That’s Kayta. Hats off to Kayta for the flower year we have had thus far. (Don’t forget the new cosmos and zinnias beds to the left of the cherry tomatoes!) On the flower front we were particularly happy with how the Strawflower did (and continues to do) as well as the Statice and will plant proportionally more of those winners next year.
On the heading brassica side of things (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) — harvests have been lean so far partly due to the storm which cancelled an early broccoli and cabbage planting and because we stopped trying to grow brocolli and cauliflower as much in the middle of the summer here because they famously and truly do not like heat. So we loaded the back end of our crop plan heavy with heading brassicas which are looking glorious down in field 4. (We’d like to take this moment to encourage you all to visit “field 4”, the greenest, freshest, field on the farm right now as it is a quilt of Fall greens, roots, and rose-scented happy brassicas. It is the field farthest down toward Green Valley Creek.)
And how about Fall and all those goodies? Here, dear members, we risk the anger of the furious wrath of the Farm Gods for these things are not yet harvested and can only be speculated on. But what the hey…
Potatoes: Having fully flowered, our potato friends are now nearing the end of their herbaceous lives and swelling the last of their tubers. We feel we finally got the bull-by-the-horns when it comes to what potatoes need to be happy here and are excited to roll out the 2nd of 4 healthy potato varieties this week. (The potato secret? Green sprouting and then treating them like a green leafy vegetable at planting with lots of overhead watering.)
As for the corn: It too is browning up and hardening up swollen kernels. We like how the corn looks in spite of the lodging (farmer lingo for falling over) which is ugly but not all that harmful to the ear. The lodging seems to be the result of the clay soil here not letting the roots fan out (as in a sandier loams) and nudges from those nice gusts of wind and perhaps our resident farm ghost. Anyway, we’re especially happy with the vigor of the Hopi Blue Corn (below the cherry tomatoes) and are excited for Hopi Blue Corn pancakes on crisp Fall mornings! It is our first year planting it here and we are thinking we have found a winner for a second variety that likes it here and that we can save seed from.
And the Winter Squash: We we’re looking at a pretty happy squash patch, with 9 different varieties (from delicate Delicata to a monster, feed-the-whole-village roasting pumpkin called Musque de Provence). These friends are nearly finished sizing up under various degrees of floral canopy, now naturally browning and dying back, most plants having nearly finished their herbaceous lives. The squash field is interesting; it goes from full-genetic potential healthiness, with 4-5 squash on each plant, to middle-of-the-road healthiness (with 2 squash on each plant) all over the course of 170 ft on the same bed, with the same irrigation, the same preparation, etc. Why, pray tell? We have our ideas but that, friends, is ultimately a question for the Farm Gods.
We are so grateful to you all for your kind appreciation over this quarter year of harvest boon — we so look forward to the next quarter.
Enjoy the Harvest Moon Purple Potatoes this week on this Harvest Moon (the closest full-moon to the equinox) along with a fat slice of heirloom tomato — a baffling, delicious admixture of Fall and Summer only possible in September…
See you in the fields,
David & Kayta