by Erika Rumbley
Every year we plan our vegetable plantings and harvests around two Frost Dates: one in the spring when the chance of killing frosts subsides and we can safely plant a slew of summer crops, and one in the fall when that chance rises again. When mid-October rolls around we start keeping a close eye on the nighttime temperatures, and watch as they dip and dip and finally drop below the freezing mark. This week frost is arriving at Langwater.Frost signals the end of so many summer crops, so we’re racing to grab the final harvests of all our summer favorites. In the CSA and at the Farmstand & markets this week, you’ll find that last, treasured harvest of crops that we have swept out of the path of frost: Tomatoes, Eggplant, Hot Peppers & Peppers–those ‘Suntanned Peppers’ as we call them.. i.e. Green Peppers with a flash of color up their side that we couldn’t resist picking.
Like most things on the farm, the end of one thing is the beginning of something else. Now the fall harvest is gaining ground, the colder weather sweetening greens and roots. It’s true–Kale, Cabbage, Arugula all get sweeter after the frost! (Want to nerd out on WHY plants accumulate sugars to protect themselves from cold damage? Here you go.).
The field crew’s layering up these days, and packing thermoses of hot drinks in the morning. We shift to harvesting different kinds of crops–heavier, more solid ones that will carry us through the winter. Bins of Turnips, bins of Beets, bins of Cabbage are all being stashed away at the peak of their sweet glory. Welcome to this new season on the far side of frost. It’s going to be delicious.