Here it is, already the second week of October. Fall jobs are popping up around every corner of the growing space. Some are bigger than others, but nothing quite matches the Tomato Tear-Down. Removing the tomato vines is a pretty epic process, so we always have to work up to it a bit before diving in. We spend so much time throughout the season fussing over the tomato plants, with all of the pruning, trellising, and harvesting, that it seems abrupt when suddenly it is time to cut the strings and tear down the plants. But like all good things, the fruits of our labor must come to an end.
We begin by stripping the plants of all marketable fruit, then pick loads of green tomatoes with the hopes that they will ripen in storage. Finally, we strip off all the "rotters" and set them aside to be fed to the chickens (Ever wonder how those egg yokes get to be so vibrant looking??). Once the fruit is removed, Travis cuts the strings and the process of unclipping, unwinding, and uprooting begins. Then, with a heave that comes from a season of heavy lifting, we drag the vines out of the tunnel and into the back of the LUV truck. The LUV's flat bed is just the right size for one row of tomatoes, so we take it one row at a time. Our little vintage diesel may not be road worthy, but it truly is a warrior! With over 200,000 on a rebuilt engine and a body that could fall apart at any minute, it would seem impossible that this truck could offer us anything. But she starts right up every time and takes the load where it needs to go. Just ask Travis, the LUV is truly a pleasure to drive!
At the end of the day, we are all a little bit bummed that tomato time is coming to and end. The good news though, is that the end of one crop is the beginning of another, and this means that there still is much to come. Our fall line-up will not be complete until we distribute the Brussels Sprouts, parsnips, Honeynut squash, celery, mini romaine and red cabbages. Fall greens, such as our baby kale mix, mustards and arugula are growing bigger and sweeter as you read this, so you can rest assured that there will be plenty of food to fill your tables in the final weeks of the CSA season.
And by the way, if you want to stock up on fall extras outside of the CSA, come visit our booth at the From the Land festival located at the Toll/Londowski farm just 1.5 miles west of Boerson Farm on County J in Green Lake County. We will be set up the weekend of the 17th/18th in the company of many other artisan and local food vendors. I hope to see you there!