CSA Newsletter ~ Week 24
With three frosts behind us, it's feeling quite like Fall around the farm. Funny how it goes that on the warmer summers early frosts seem common. Last year, though not quite as hot as this year, was pretty darn hot, and we had a mid-September frost as well. Average first frost around here would be more like the first week of October. We've been able to harvest most of what we
The squash wasn't damaged much, but when the fruit get exposed to frost, their storage potential is reduced. Normal winter squash storage life is a few months, but we're likely to get only a month or two. We'll have to keep a close eye on it in storage, and if much of it shows signs of going bad, we'll save it by cutting it, baking it, scooping it into 2 pound/quart freezer bags, and putting it away for later in the Late Season or our new winter share, which will be from early January through mid-April. Freezing bags of roasted winter squash have been on our mind for quite a while. Every year we have hundreds of pounds of perfectly good squash with cosmetic defects that ends up being left in the field. Lots of the work with squash is cutting, roasting, and removing the flesh from the rind. Back when I used to sell lots of produce to Frontera Grill, I'd watch them fill freezers with thousands of pounds of roasted butternut squash each fall. The squash only lasts a few months at best otherwise, and getting it baked and frozen is one of the best ways to preserve it for use all winter and
Tomatillos haven't been lost yet, I don't think, but we're short on people and long on work, so it is a bit of a race to see if we can harvest more of them. The plants are largely dead and dying from the cold nights, but the fruit are still in good shape, or at least they were when I looked at them last night, which was probably the coldest night so far. The fruit are mostly on or near the ground, under most of the foliage, so they have some light protection from the frost and probably are okay. If we didn't still have over 2,000 pounds of tomatoes from our outdoor harvest to cook in the farm kitchen, we'd have more time to harvest tomatillos. If they made it through last night okay, we'll have a few more days to harvest what we can, but it's a tough call right now.
Otherwise, the box is loaded with lots of sweet peppers as we had to harvest them before the frost set in. There are a couple of hot peppers as well--the long and slender Cheyenne, or a few Anaheims that might have snuck in. They're good fresh, or you can set them in a warm and sunny place to dry after which they can be crushed and used as dried pepper. If you have a dehydrator, that works faster and with less chance of problems or mold. And there are lots of roma tomatoes, the same ones we're using to make our whole roasted tomato product here in the farm kitchen. We might not have included onions in this week's box considering how many we gave you two weeks ago, but we're in desperate need of more storage crates in which to put winter squash, and we've still got lots of onions in those crates. Lettuce and bok choy are the greens that round out the box.
As the season change, look for broccoli in next week's box, and beautiful carrots and Hakurei turnips in a week or two. Tomatoes and warm weather crops are on the way out, with fall roots and storage crops right around the corner.
and the Tomato Mountain Farm Team