Farm Happenings at Oak Spring Farm
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Farm Happenings for September 16, 2021

Posted on September 13th, 2021 by Lisa Duff

Hello Farm-ily!

We've instituted Friday afternoon Field manager meetings so we go over crops that are finishing up as well as crops that are coming in. We need to take more notes and pay more attention during the season to see what worked, what didn't, where we need to improve etc.   It has become too burdensome and clearly not efficient for Lisa to be alone doing all the crop planning in the dead of winter thumbing through the field notes and seeding charts. Plus those who spend more time in the field should have some input! We're looking to get a head start on the 2022 crop plan and we need to firm up planting dates and plans for our winter tunnel plantings so we'll have early spring crops. These weekly meetings are helping us identify more clearly the crops that are causing issues or stress on the farm and crops we have ease with. The OSF crew works hard and the more efficient we can become with planning the more fulfilling the work.

Our summer onion crop is mostly gone due to wet harvest conditions, leaf miner and poor curing conditions. Hope you enjoyed them while they were here! We hope to have one more harvest of fresh, big onions this fall. 
Onions need to be harvested in mid-late July then cured/dried and then cleaned & sorted for storage.  This happens at the same time of year when we are busy planting, harvesting & packing for the weekly shares, weeding, irrigating, and cleaning up harvested crops. Garlic is harvested a few weeks earlier than the onions and also requires drying, cleaning, and sorting.   Doing both garlic and onions can create a lot of stress on the farm team.  Our week off at July 4th may have proved too early although we did use that week to get all the garlic harvested and hung. The onions got harvested but curing space was tight and 50% of our onions did not get harvested on time and then were not cured properly so we lost 50% of the crop. I'm telling you this because we may consider buying in some of our onions next year depending on how important onions are to you. Look for a survey on the FB Farm-ily page!

Growing potatoes in our satellite field is a challenge.  An insect pest called leaf hoppers eats the potato plants, causing the leaves to brown and die, but our biggest pest is the Colorado Potato Beetle. Both pests are tough to control.  Our potato plants always die earlier in the summer than we are ready to harvest them.  Without the plants covering the soil, the weeds take over.  Honestly the weeds take over either way, especially at this field where we aren't there everyday. This makes harvesting difficult, the harvest less fruitful and leads to the weeds being an issue in the field for years after the potatoes. The good news is what potatoes we have been digging are beautiful and delicious!  We have La Ratte fingerlings this week as well as Red Norlands. Pardon the dirt but unwashed potatoes store better....

Peter Siwik is a long time friend and good farmer. A Certified Organic Family farm in Dallastown, PA they will provide us with carrots this week, beets next week and perhaps some sweet potatoes this year. As Fall rolls around and we work to keep our variety high we will bring in some crops from Peter Siwik Family Farms.

We have PawPaws for fruit share this week plus we have some to purchase as an extra! They are very exciting, hyper local and super seasonal. I've been eating them everyday-so deliciously different from our other local fruits. 

Check out the extras page and grab a bag!

Cheese share: Horseradish

Fruit share: PawPaws from Two Boots farm-see last weeks newsletter to explain PawPaws. They are DELICIOUS. What a special treat.

Storage tip of the week:

Keep your onions, potatoes and garlic in a cool, dark spot. IF you'll use your onions soon it is fine to put them in the fridge. If you want to save your potatoes and garlic don't put  them in the fridge! Wash your potatoes just before use. Leave the skin on-they are more nutritious that way. Scrub them with a veggie brush to get them super clean. 

Recipe of the week:

Potato Leek Soup

1 C butter

2 leeks, sliced

salt & pepper to taste

1 qt chicken or veggie broth

1 tablespoon corn starch

4 cups of potatoes (any kind really) diced and peeled if you prefer for a finer textured soup

2 c heavy cream

In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Cook leeks in butter with salt and pepper until tender, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes.

Stir cornstarch into broth and pour broth into pot. Add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the cream, reduce heat and simmer at least 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Bon appetit