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.
October is National Farm to School Month! The Farm to School movement has been working for years on 3 key ways to build & strengthen the connection between good food, local farmers, and schools from pre-school to college:
- Educating kids on how to make smart, responsible choices about what to eat.
- Getting healthy, locally-grown food in front of kids by fostering a robust supply chain from farm to cafeteria.
- Giving kids first-hand experience of how food is grown through school gardens and field trips to working farms.
At Langwater, we are ardent supporters of these goals–this is our jam!! We work hard to grow the highest quality organic vegetables and fruits here because that’s what we want to feed our kids–and we think that’s what ALL kids should have access to. This should be the norm, not the exception.
We’re passionate about bringing school groups of all ages out to the fields and showing them how the magical combination of sunlight, water, and good soil produces the most tasty snacks. And several of our crew members have enjoyed the experience of delivering an order to a school Food Service Manager who squees in delight as they unload box after box of just-harvested Carrots and Lettuce and Potatoes. We think this is how the world should be, all the time. And we think we’re getting a little bit closer to that reality every day.
If you’d like more info on how to promote the healthy food/local farms/schools connection, check out the Farm to School Network or Mass. Farm to School for resources, consulting services, and toolkits of all kinds.
We’ve got a clear, crisp fall evening forecasted, Shovel Town beers on tap, wood-fired pizza with farm fresh toppings, and lots of room on the party lawn.
Come down 4:30-7 and grab a pizza and a picnic table (or you can bring your pizza home). See you tonight!