It's official. Fall is upon us. We're saying goodbye to peppers, watching tomatoes melt into the ground, seeding our cover-crops for winter and spring, and transitioning our energy into the covered spaces on the farm. The greenhouse has been cleaned up and organized, the high tunnel beds are prepped and seeded to lettuce, turnips and spinach. The caterpillar tunnels too, are beginning to fill with fall and winter greens. In the next two weeks, we'll be transplanting the last successions of lettuce, spinach and mustard greens into these low tunnels. If spared from the mildew and slugs, these crops will provide fresh food well into early spring.
The granary is overflowing with sweet summer sun in the form of winter squash and onions. These crops are curing slowly to concentrate sugars and flavors and will feed us well into the winter months. The barn is also beginning to show the seasonal transition. There are tarps laid with dry beans ready to be threshed and Phacelia seed ready to be cleaned. The last of the hemp plants hang from the rafters, and the pigs and sheep will be returning soon to inhabit their winter housing.
This is the beginning of the farrowing and lambing season. The first litter of piglets just arrived this week, with at least two more to go before December. Cuteness overload. Please let us know if ever you'd like to visit to see the animals. Lambing will likely begin in late February, and so this time of year keeps the rams very busy, and the ewes very discretionary.
As the rains return, so does the focus on the landscape beyond the farm fields. There are native plants to rescue from blackberry, wood to be bucked and cut, hedgerows to be cleared and planted, and fruit trees to be pruned, mulched and maintained. There are projects on lists, and lists to be budgeted. This is the gift of the season of wet soil and green grass, of dormant plants and shortening days - that we find the space to shift our energy and resources from production, from weeding, from harvesting to stewardship of this place in all of its facets and corners and qualities. There is no food if there is no life in the land. We are all of the soil, and Autumn is a great reminder of the cycles that give us life through death, decay, regrowth, and regeneration. It is a reflective time, and a bountiful time, and a time to nurture our selves and our families and our home so that we may re-emerge in the Spring with renewed vibrancy and vision for another blazing trip around the sun.
We have so enjoyed this journey through the season with you, and we are grateful beyond measure for the support, enthusiasm, and appetites of our members. This is one of four shares remaining in the main season CSA. We are excited to continue offering food through the winter, as long as we have food to share. There are a couple ways this will be possible. The winter market on Saturdays is a growing and happy affair. You'll find us at Friends Church on Eureka from 10-Noon pretty much every Saturday until we have nothing more to sell. Also, we are exploring options to continue offering inventory through Harvie, this online system. With enough interest, I believe we could offer mid-week "farm-stand" shares, in which members could construct a custom share from available inventory. If this is of interest to you, please let us know and we will pin down the details and logistics.
Recipe suggestions for this week?
I feel compelled to give a little love to the spaghetti squash. There are lovers and haters and our house is divided. I suggest letting go of expecting this to feel like pasta. It will never be pasta. There are so many wonderful things to do with it though. Our friends at Nourished Beginnings did a Pad Thai with it that looked amazing. I'd probably throw some sauteed brussel sprout tops into that if I were you. They are our current green of choice. You can use them in place of collards, kale, or even savoy cabbage. This is one of my favorite weeknight meals and they'd shine in it.
And one last public service announcement- we're realizing that some of our onions have the funk. Mid-summer as we watched the rains come down we knew that the moisture would be slipping fungal spores between the leaves. We'd hoped it wouldn't be too bad. Unfortunately, it seems that about 1/3 of the storage onions are rotting from the inside out. This makes it very difficult to tell from the outside. We're doing our best to stay on top of sorting but are certain you're probably all already aware of this. Please stop by the winter market and grab replacements and please let us know when and if you find rotten ones. We're hoping there are some more resistant varieties than others.
Feedback always appreciated!
Sarah + Conner