While rain is critical to our survival (as humans and as farmers), the rain has seemed unrelenting this fall, and we’ll have another inch or two by the time this current storm is done. It’s been slowing us down in the field as we have to wait to time root-digging harvests just right, and it’s been slowing our crops down too. Rainy days mean less sunlight (which obviously slows plant growth) but water-logged soils also slow plant growth. Plant roots (and their partners in crime, the soil microbes and mycelium) need oxygen to draw nutrients from the soil. When the ground is soaked with rain, oxygen can’t get to the plant roots and their friends, which hampers their ability to collect the nutrients they need out of the soil.
We’re seeing this affecting several different crops right now–smaller Carrots than we’re usually harvesting at this time of year, smaller Kale plants, as well as delays to harvesting some crops. Despite the challenge of all this rain, we were able to finish planting two important fall-planted crops for next year: Sunchokes and Garlic.
The Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) that are in the CSA, the Organic Harvest Boxes, and in the Farmstand this week were planted last fall and we’re happy they’re finally ready to eat. With the cold nights coming later this week, cranking up the oven to roast some Sunchokes sounds like the perfect plan to chase away the cold, rainy blues.
Early November is still a heavy harvesting season on the farm, and our harvest crew is hopping. We’re still bringing in fresh greens every day, plus digging a lot of root veggies & tubers that we’re stashing away for the long winter months. Harvesting is some of the most satisfying work on the farm, which is one of the reasons we call this time of year the Sweetest Season. All our planning and hard work throughout the whole year is coming to fruition.
The vegetables in season now are also some of the sweetest we grow. Leafy greens like Lettuce and Kale actually get sweeter with cold weather. Chilly nights signal our crops to produce more sugar in their leaves to prevent the water in their cells from freezing (and bursting the cells, causing the plants to die).Root veggies like Carrots bump up sugar production in their roots as a way to store enough energy to make it through the winter. When we harvest these crops now, in this window of time in the late fall, we capture all that sweetness. But like everything on the farm, we have to savor it now, because the sun sets quickly on this moment.
Fall Gardening Special!
Attention growers & gardeners! We’re having a sale on all our Certified Organic Coast of Maine stock: 25% off on mulches, composts & top soil! In stock currently:
Thanksgiving Pies from Bushel + Crumb are returning!
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and we’re menu-planning already! If you’d like to outsource dessert this year, we’ll have Bushel + Crumb’s fabulous pies available again.
Choices will be:
Caramel Apple Cranberry
Wild Maine Blueberry Maple
Sweet Potato & Coconut Custard (so good!)
Salted Honey Walnut
Savory Winter Squash with Caramelized Onions (not a dessert pie, but excellent nevertheless!)
We’ll have them available for sale on the Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, or you can pre-order to guarantee you get exactly the types and quantities you want. The pre-order deadline is Thursday, Nov. 15th.