Saturday, October 29, 2011

The First Snow!

We had a layer of snow on the ground when we woke up on Friday morning!

We had a busy Thursday afternoon preparing for a very heavy frost and the threat of snow. We harvested lots of beets, kohlrabi and celeriac to protect them from the cold snap. These vegetables are moderately tolerant of the cold weather but we were really happy to get them out of the fields. No vegetables really like to be snowed upon! It was a tough afternoon because we were working in the cold, sleeting rain... farmers really have to be able to work in all conditions.

Our Friday morning harvest was also affected by the snow. You can't harvest vegetables when they are covered in snow so we had to wait until the layer melted in the bright sunlight. So, as the cooler weather creeps in our work schedule changes to adapt. And, it looks like we have more snow coming this weekend! We will see what it brings.

We are not ready for winter to settle in quite yet... we still have the rest of the garlic to plant, and carrots, parsnips and beets to harvest. So let's hope we don't get too much snow!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Abundant October

Our CSA Room is so abundant this week! Next week is the last week in our main season CSA and you can barely tell because... we have so much amazing food right now! Can you believe that even at the very end of October we have such excellent variety?

We feel really great about going into the winter because we have so much food in the coolers, prepared for winter storage. We kept telling Lisa to stop seeding carrots in June because we thought we had enough, but now we are so happy she did plant so many! We will have carrots into the spring! With all of the rain in the past months, we did have a lot of rot affecting our carrots so it was good we had an abundance of them. Cabbage, winter squash, beets, carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, and potatoes already in storage and still more in the fields!

Even though we are very sad to be at the end of our main season CSA, we feel solid and prepared for the winter! Hope everyone enjoys the last week of the CSA!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bulk Harvest!

We love the potato digger!

October is the time at Mighty Food Farm when we race the weather to get the crops out of the ground. With frost a reality and the freezing of the ground impending, our days are spent harvesting vegetables for winter storage and filling our coolers and root cellar with the year's abundance.

Potatoes in the truck!
We are happy to announce that we finished our potato harvest on Monday! After a challenging harvest, we were happy to complete that job and to have all of the potatoes in the root cellar and ready for winter storage. We harvest potatoes into black crates which allow them to breathe, providing them with proper ventilation during storage. Our potatoes store well in our dark and humid root cellar well into the spring of next year.

Douglas harvesting carrots!

We have also begun our bulk carrot harvest. We like to grow a lot of carrots here at Mighty Food Farm!! We know that our CSA members and our customers crave these tasty orange treats well into the spring and we like to be the last ones at the market to offer them... even as the snow is melting in April (or even into May)! We harvest our carrots into recycled grain bags, which also allow the vegetables to breathe, and keep most of them in the cooler. We store our root vegetables dirty because this keeps them the freshest!

Our next big bulk harvest will be beets and then parsnips.... Even though the winter in Vermont is long and cold, our CSA members enjoy fresh and delicious organic and locally grown vegetables all year around!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Potato Harvest

We sure harvested a lot of potatoes this week! We had some dry weather at the beginning of the week so we were able to use our potato digger, an implement for our tractor. The potato digger is awesome because it goes down the bed and lifts the soil, dislodging the potatoes from the ground. Then we follow behind and pick up the potatoes that have been exposed and do a little bit of digging to uncover the ones that were covered with soil. A lot of farmers dig potatoes by hand with a digging fork. Our backs are very grateful this is not the process we use! But even though we have a potato digger, the potato harvest is not a quick process. We grow a large field of many different varieties and it takes time to get them out of the ground. We grow the traditional red and gold varieties, Russets, a blue potato, a potato that is red both inside and out, and gold and red fingerlings.

We also grow sweet potatoes! We are one of just a few farmers in the state that grow them because they are a challenging crop. Not only do they prefer warmer climates, but the deer love to eat the foliage and rodents love to eat the potatoes in the ground. To promote their growth and survival, we plant sweet potato slips (which are basically sweet potato seedlings) in black plastic and then immediately cover them with a fabric row cover. This provides two layers of warmth. This year we did not have a lot of pest pressure and the potatoes look huge and beautiful! Right now they are being stored in our warm basement so they cure. Curing helps develop their sweetness.

The Crew and their harvest!
Yay for potatoes!