At week twelve we are about three months through our Summer CSA. So many weeks to go still – and so much bounty to be brought in from the fields. The mid-summer CSA crops are so enjoyable, and many will last through to the end. They’ll be joined by cool, end of season crops for some very colorful and full of variety (and heavy!) share boxes: winter squash, Brussels Sprouts (hopefully), maybe spinach again (though it’s not germinating well), and sweeter carrots from cooler nights!
Most of the heavy lifting that happens, harvest wise, happens in the last few weeks of the season, as we transition from harvesting what we need here and there for the CSA or our wholesale deliveries to harvesting larger and larger amounts of storage crops out of the field. Already, the crew is starting to cross some things off the list: the first planting of carrots, the first planting of red potatoes, garlic. Soon to add the whole first planting of potatoes and the onions. Bucket-full by bucket-full loaded onto the ever-in-motion trailer: all the produce will make it’s way down to the root cellar.
Getting into the rhythm of the fall harvest is one of my favorite times on the farm. I like working out the timing just right of when produce should get loaded up, and how many people should do what task so that we’re working as efficiently as possible. Sometimes that is the hardest when the most efficient thing to is to wait for a machine, and just hang tight for 2 minutes. I say getting into the rhythm, but more often I feel I have a rhythm just as we’re at the end of harvesting one crop and moving on to another. Rhythm or not, it seems to usually work out by some miracle.
This year I’ll be doing none of the harvest work- I am going to be done with my time on the farm, for now. I have my own tiny early-fall project to work on. Hint: it’s like a butternut squash that tries to kick my cup of (decaf) coffee off its new resting spot. Other hint: the little project wants me to stop bending over at work so much*. I am thinking of asking Janaki about putting in 30 acres of 4′ high raised beds. I think he might go for it.
Depending on how you count it (and I am the only one counting I suppose) this has been my 7th season on the Food Farm. The farm has grown since my first year, and many changes have happened on the farm, and in the peoples’ lives who surround the farm. I think I’ve learned a lot since starting, but the truth is I probably had to relearn it all just this past April and so it might not be a cumulative knowledge. Every spring I just start with a “green side up” mantra for transplanting and go from there. That red cabbage makes the mantra tricky… farming keeps one on their toes.
I’m not really mentally prepared to be done. Working on the farm has brought me a lot of joy, and has been a big part of my life for a long time now. The quick but odd moment in life of something going from an every-day reality to a memory is never a comfortable transition for me. Much of being on the farm; the work, the interactions with people, the little details, feels like a memorized little dance that happens each year. Some times more gracefully than others. Soon the little details in my head will become totally obsolete in my life. Then they’ll be forgotten entirely. Shall I document some for you? You won’t mind?
16 pounds of jalapenos fit in a 5 gallon pail and about 25 pounds of anything else. Our pallet boxes weigh 110 pounds. The flat trailer fits 76 buckets on it, but if you drive in 4th gear over a bump there is a good chance you could loose the bucket on the back left corner. Field 14a is Janaki’s favorite field, because the soil is so delicious, and Field 14b has a purslane problem on the whole south half. Dave wants 13 pounds of sand in a sandbag. It’s his lucky number, I guess.
Beyond the numbers it has been nice to get to know the ever changing crew each year, and of course the people who are always around too. I could probably list dozens of little quirks and traits of all the farmers (as I have no quirks of my own, I really notice other people’s) but the newsletter would get long, and I would probably cry.
It has been an honor to have grown and harvested for you these several years. Thanks for supporting the farm so that it could support me – and all the workers over these years. Some part of me, and any farmer or farm-worker anywhere, goes to be with you in your kitchen and at your table. All the more so if you’re eating potatoes we had to pick up after the bucket tipped off the corner of the trailer.
Keep eating good food, and keep reading the newsletter as “Farmer Emily” (as my son says) takes over next week.
With affection, and just for myself this time,
*my little project is a baby!
In your share this week:
Green Beans – Broccoli – Carrots – Cucumbers – Kale – Melon – Onions – Red, Green, and Hot Peppers – Tomatoes – Zucchini
Curried Carrot Soup
From the Leek and the Carrot
It was under 60 degrees this morning… time to make soup!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons sweet curry powder
- 1 teaspoon hot curry powder
- 1 teaspoon siracha hot sauce
- 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
- 4 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
Add butter and oil to a large stock pot. Melt butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic as well as a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, spices and hot sauce and turn the heat up to medium. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the coconut milk and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes until carrots are tender and liquid is nicely reduced.
Let cool and puree with an immersion blender. We don’t puree until completely smooth. We like some small chunks of carrot in there, but that is up to you. Taste and adjust seasoning. Top with chickpeas if you are feeling extra fun!
CUMIN ROASTED CHICKPEAS
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss chickpeas with oil, cumin, salt and pepper. I use 1 teaspoon of salt if I’m making these chickpeas for my carrot soup (because it’s already a little salty) and 2 teaspoons of salt if I’m making these chickpeas as a non-soup-addition, generally-delicious snack. Roast for 20 minutes or until crunchy. Take out the pan and shake it occasionally for more even crisping.