Week 3 of Winter from Valley Flora

  • Bulk Kale
  • Celeriac
  • Autumn Frost Winter Squash
  • Red Potatoes
  • Pea Shoots
  • Cauliflower
  • Curly Parsley
  • Goldrush Apples
  • Onions
  • Leeks

There are two extra-special things that made their way into your tote this week: Goldrush Apples and overwintering cauliflower. The former is our favorite apple variety (which is saying a lot, given the 35+ different varieties of pommes growing in the our orchard). It's a late-harvest apple, never coming off the tree before Thanksgiving and it stores well into May with refrigeration. The flavor is sweet-tart and complex with firm texture that lends itself to fresh eating or baking. A big thanks to Abby, the apple queen, for adding these to the share this week!

The overwintering cauliflower is one of four varieties that come on in a staggered succession throughout the winter and spring. I've waxed poetic about overwintering cauliflower before, because it astounds me every time we harvest it: how did this plant make a perfect white dome of dense curd through the darkest months of the year? Quasi-miraculous in my botanistic opinion. The plants were seeded in early July and transplanted in eary August, so they did most of the work of growing a large frame of leaves in late summer and fall. But the actual heading of the cauliflower doesn't get triggered until this moment, after the Persephone period when the days start to stretch longer. Our mild winter means that this variety is almost a month earlier than it was last year, so enjoy the unexpected!

Also, there's quite a stash of leeks in your share this week. There was a little communication mishap with the crew, which resulted in lotsa leeks for all this week! :)

London Bridge is Down

The reigning queen of Valley Flora, Maude (my Belgian draft horse), died on Sunday at the farm. She was 25 years old and a founding member of our crew since Valley Flora hatched in 2008. Maude was part of my first draft team; I lost her partner, Barney, to colic over a decade ago but Maude soldiered on, working every season in harness to help us coax vegetables out of the field. In 2017 she gained a new herd when I brought Jack and Lily home. By then she had earned her retirement, but she ruled the roost as lead mare until her very last day. Which, as it turns out, was a beautiful last day: Saturday, sunny, out on grass, eating with gusto, rainbows flying overhead. The next morning when I came to feed her, she was gone.

Maude helped make my farm dream come true, a Valley Flora icon through and through. I thank her for everything she gave to make it possible, and for everything she taught me along the way.

All hail the queen, she will be missed dearly.