This week wraps up our summer/fall CSA season, but truly there is no end on the farm. The wheels keeps on turning, and we are here learning to hold on tight with reverence, and wonder. The seasons open and close with a rhythm beyond our capacity to truly comprehend. We see the signs and exclaim at the changes, we feel it in the aches and tingles of our cold toes and fingers, we hustle to prepare our minds and bodies and homes for the season to come...like tired squirrels if squirrels also had the luxury of going to the grocery store when their little hoards dwindled. The redwing blackbirds have returned by the hundreds to glean from a rustled corn patch, the herons have returned to precisely and persistently ply the vole-pocked fields, the cover crops are beginning to paint the bare fields green, the ewes are hungrier for the newly formed lambs in their woolly barrels, and the sun, when it shows, is crystalline perfection, low and shy with a touch of nectar in its beams. The weekly wood shuffle has begun, the daily ritual of crumpled paper, kindling and fire, the waking to the light of a precious ember, the song of coyotes running the draw in our dreams. The farm is telling a more subdued tale, of rest and decay and restoration, and so are we....to ourselves and to each other. Next summer starts now, by tending to cold weary roots in our hearts and in the fields. We are mulching and blanketing and covering and just....stopping. Such stark contrast to Spring, with the kinetic energy of a rising sun and lengthening days. We have to try to remember what it WILL feel like again, and be gentle with ourselves while we reflect and rest and move with the viscosity of cool honey rather than the hum of a summer hive. This can be difficult for me - being still, being easy on myself when the priorities are less obvious, when the farm is less of an unbridled, wild flourish and more of a still canvas for transformative projects and ponderous plans. This is when the rubber really meets the road of introspection - the hurry and the urgency falls with the leaves. Our purpose and our impact here is no longer cloaked in abundance. It is bare and stark against a monotone landscape. The structure of our life, our patterns, our choices, our presence on the land, these all beg for some pruning. That is how we return with fresh growth in the spring, with blossoms and fruit and nourishment. This is all the beginning of next season, and the winter is long. The pruning tasks are many. There is much to be hopeful for.
With all that in mind, and more, we are offering lots of extra storage crops this week for your cupboards and shelves and pantries. Our attendance to winter market will become much less frequent after Saturday the 21st, and we cannot guarantee bulk quantities of anything after that time...except maybe winter squash. :) It was a bumper squash year, and it is so sweet and delicious, such treasure, like sunshine in a hard shell.
Winter Squash keeps best at 50-60 degrees at relatively low humidity (50-60%), with decent airflow. An uninsulated garage, or a damp basement is less ideal for winter squash than a pantry shelf or atop your kitchen cabinets, or in baskets in your living room. We've learned to embrace winter squash as a seasonal, edible decoration in our home. When in doubt, err on the side of warmer and drier with winter squash.
Onions are very similar. They prefer relatively warm and dry, though maybe a bit less warm than winter squash. If you have an insulated, but only slightly heated space in your house (garage or entry or even an enclosed porch), onions can keep quite a long time in that environment. They should always be kept from freezing, and dampness beneath the papery skins is mold waiting to happen. Onions and shallots, as you know, will keep plenty long on the counter as well, but the light and fruits of our kitchen counters can cause premature sprouting in onions.
Potatoes like damper and cooler conditions. A cool, basement really can be ideal. Airflow to keep molds and rot from forming is important. As with any storage crop, sometimes going through your stash to find the "boogers" is the best thing you can do to minimize spoilage. Those boogers spread like wildfire (too soon?).
Ginger is probably best stored frozen or dried. It doesn't like living in the refrigerator for very long. Make a simple syrup for drinks, or slice and dry for warming winter decoctions. So many options. Our frozen ginger is grated into dishes or sauces right from the freezer.
Please reach out if you have any thoughts or questions about stocking up this Fall. We'll be in touch soon with an end-of-season survey as well as details about how to stay connected through the Winter (including sign-ups for 2021!!). Really, that's right around the bend. We'll take much of December "off" (the animals don't rest), and then planning and seeding begins again in earnest mid-January. Wow. What a ride. We are so lucky, and so grateful to be living in community with you all.
Here's to always moving forward, but also inward, towards a more peaceful, more inclusive, more resilient and sustainable future.
With so much love and adoration,
Conner (+ Sarah)