Costa Bianca Swiss Chard
Mesclun Salad Mix
Goldrush Russet Potatoes
Cubanelle & Sweet Peppers
Fall seems like its finally settling in and before we know it we will see some colder weather, even frost. The change in temperatures has been a huge relieve, the heat was really getting to us and making irrigation barely effective. As you all know it is still dry as can be here and we hope for even a sprinkle, fingers crossed for tonight; but the reality is 1/3” of rain will barely help saturate the ground. The drought conditions can be seen all over the farm and even in our woods. The ground is brown and bare in spots and trees look haggard. We are able to irrigate our crops luckily but the down side is that this increases varmint and bug pressure, as our hydrated crops are in high demand. If you have never seen our farm, our crop fields are dotted throughout a 10-acre area that is surrounded by woods outside our fence line. This fall we have seen an immense amount of groundhog pressure. Groundhogs do not like to stray far from their dens; but with nothing available they will search out what they must. They have been an issue on our farm for years; but the damage incurred this year is unlike ever before. This is due to a combination of the severe dry and hot conditions with the fact that we have been understaffed and therefore have not covered all of our crop areas with row cover. Groundhogs will search under the row cover; but its not their preference, so it can allow the crops to out grow the damage for a time. The point of all of this is that we have seen severe damage in our kohlrabi, cabbage, and broccoli plantings. Its safe to say you will not receive any of these in the share and we may not have a crop at all. Every year we have some thriving crops and some failures. Although we are saddened by the missing crops; especially for our winter sales, as these are great storable options. This has become somewhat of a reality of farming with increased extreme weather swings.
You will also notice a lack of carrots this fall, as our other extreme pest has been worm (especially cutworm) pressure. They attack the newly germinated seedlings under the soil prior to emergence and so we have very little coarse of action other than turning in the entire crop or keeping a low yielding area. Carrots take 2-3 weeks to emerge especially in hot conditions and in August and early September restarting a carrot crop three weeks later can mean a 4-6 week later first harvest date. So we do have some fall outdoor carrots; but they are slim in volume and arriving very late. Perhaps towards the end of the CSA season you will get a little glimpse.
Enough of all the gloomy news as we have some of the best fall crops we have ever grown of radicchio, fennel, herbs, beets, salad mix, and even some early spinach coming in. Our bunching greens while inundated with aphids and moth worms, are super healthy and coming in very strong. We will have some beautiful turnips and winter radishes as well. Every year is just a different set of challenges. Keeps us thinking. Lots of recipes below, enjoy the share……Autumn and Brian