Week 14 from Valley Flora!

  • Collard Greens
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Head Lettuce
  • Walla Walla Sweets
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes

On Rotation:

  • Eggplant
  • Heirloom tomatoes

The Halfway Mark!

We are 14 weeks into our 28-week CSA season, tipping headlong into the peak of the late summer harvest: tomatoes by the bucketload, peppers by the bin-full, eggplant spilling out of totes, apples and melons making their first appearance. On Tuesdays and Fridays, we find ourselves staggering out of the corn patch under the weight of 80-pound harvest backpacks overflowing with fat ears of corn. This is that moment when my countertop is covered in a glorious rainbow of tomatoes and peppers, and making dinner is as simple as cutting them all up, tossing in some spiced chickpeas and pouring a lemony dressing over the top (my go-to Wednesday night meal plan for late August/September/early October: Spiced Chickpeas and Fresh Vegetable Salad from Ottolenghi).

But simultaneously while we revel in the glory of late summer produce, our every spare moment is now turning towards bringing in the storage crops. We are at once bears (gorging in the moment to put on fat for a long winter's nap) and squirrels (racing around maniacally stashing food for winter). All of the onions and shallots are out of the field as of last week, curing in the warm environment of our propagation greenhouse right now. Once the tops have dried down completely, we have hours of onion cleaning work ahead of us: clipping the tops and the root hairs, filling bins to a standard weight, and stashing them in our climate-controlled dry room for long-term storage.

We begin digging storage potatoes in earnest tomorrow, with the help of the horses who will undercut and "lift" the beds with our horsedrawn potato digger. The crew will fall in behind them, filling bins with red, yellow, and purple potatoes that will will get stashed in our new walk-in cooler (built just for storage potatoes, beets and other root crops this year). If yields are on par with past years, we have about 10,000 pounds of spuds sitting underground right now, and every last one of them will be sorted, lifted, stacked, washed and packed by hand. (If you join our Winter CSA, you will be still be enjoying VF potatoes next April.)

And also near on the horizon, winter squash harvest. Way out in Molly (that's the name of our western-most field), we have a beautiful half acre of winter squash finishing off. It's been a great squash-growing season this year and my latest fieldwalk revealed big over-sized Delicatas, bright orange Kabochas, deep-dark Acorns, sunny Spaghettis, and an abundance of buff-tan Butternuts. It's a good thing we're all farm-fit, cuz the squash deadlifting is about to begin. It's a physical test for everyone, including our little 1/2 ton flatbed farm Toyota :)

All to say, even though summer is waning, school is resuming, the days are shortening - we're only halfway through the season and there is much, much more still to come. Your CSA tote will continue to get heavier and denser (watch out in October, whoa!). The one good thing about the days getting shorter from the tired farmer's perspective is that there's a little more time in the evening to cook, at least come November. But for now, the marathon continues: it's mile 14 and we're digging deep. Thanks for all your cheering; it keeps us motivated and inspired.