This is the time of year when so many varieties of winter squash are available and at their best. Winter squash are some of the most delicious, nutritious, and versatile ingredients of the season. Winter squash are loaded with antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamin C. They also contain folate and omega 3 fatty acids! There are so many ways to prepare squash and they're easy to store. You can extend the season just by keeping a box of squash in a cool dry space in your own home.
We'll have all of our winter squash varieties on display at the Fairlee Market on Friday 3-6pm and the Saturday Norwich Farmers' Market 9-1pm. These are our final outdoor markets of the season! Come try a new variety this week! You can also order additional quantities to store your own for winter by emailing Danielle.
We grow nine different varieties of winter squash because they each have their own unique cooking qualities and storability! You can find a simple guide to the many varieties we grow on our website.
Delicata squash is one of the first to ripen in the field and it doesn't keep as long as other winter squash, so we try to use them up first. Delicata is one of our fall favorites because it's so simple and satisfying to cook up for a weeknight meal. You don't have to peel the tender skin, you can simply slice them into circles and roast in the oven.
Another one of our favorite this season is this mini butternut called "honeynut". These are the perfect portion size, just slice in half, scoop out the seeds, roast in the oven and you've got a meal. The flavor and texture of this squash is really outstanding! We love the story of how honeynut came into being and we think you will too!
Kabocha is another amazing squash variety, not to be overlooked. This late ripening variety has very dense, dry flesh that's remarkably sweet with a nice nutty flavor. Kabocha squash is very versatile in the kitchen, it can be roasted, steamed, or simmered into a smooth creamy soup. The skin is also tender enough to eat if you don't want to peel it. One of our late winter favorites is "winter sweet" grey kabocha because they continue to sweeten and the flavors improve after two months in storage.
Check out Ali's latest recipe Squash Apple Cheddar Soup. This hearty fall soup will warm you up! We recommend trying it with Buttercup or Kabocha squash this week!
Early November has been beautiful in its own way, with frosty mornings giving way to brilliant sunny harvest days. We're continually chasing the sun at the end of our work day, wishing for it to stay around just a little longer and keep us warm.
The afternoon sun shines under our hat brims, and it's only 3 o'clock! Our fields are still so green with cover crops of rye and vetch, oats and peas, and clover. We plant a variety of cover crops in the early fall to protect the soil from erosion and build nutrients in the off season while we take a rest, phew!
We're excited to be improving our irrigation system this fall. Benner and Micah have been surveying to establish new buried water lines and hydrants. Micah has become an expert with the backhoe, digging 4' deep trenches to stay below frost line.
We'll be at the Winter Farmers' Market at Tracy Hall in Norwich this Saturday from 10am-1pm with a full spread of roots, greens, winter squash, and herbs for your Thanksgiving table. Also, don't miss our newest batch of kimchi and sauerkraut!
Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving from our crew to yours!
The unusually warm weather this week was such a pleasant surprise. Our shitake mushroom logs are now covered in beautiful mushrooms, a final spurt of growth before the real cold sets in. We're bringing them with us to the Norwich market on Saturday to share with you!
We move indoors on Saturday for the start of the Winter Farmers' Market. Stop by between 10am-1pm at Tracy Hall at 300 Main Street in Norwich. We'll have a full table of fresh herbs, carrots, beets, turnips, kale, spinach, arugula, lettuce, brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, garlic, leeks, radishes, winter squash, sweet potatoes, plus the last of our ginger and turmeric!
Fall CSA Shares are going strong, full of a wide variety of vegetables and herbs. This week we harvested leeks, Red Russian kale, napa cabbage, lettuce mix, and rosemary. We also packed red beets and sweet potatoes.
Our high tunnels are full of beautiful greens that will be ready to harvest for December CSA and markets. We have row cover ready to pull over the beds to protect them on cold nights.
While the daytime temperatures are still above freezing, we're out in the fields harvesting the last of our cold hardy salad greens, leeks, brussel sprouts, kale and cabbages.
Many people are surprised to learn that we can grow ginger in Vermont! This was our first foray into growing this incredible rhizome, and we've had great success! We started the seed pieces in our greenhouse on heat mats in early spring. Then we planted one experimental bed in our high tunnel. It's slow growing and takes the full season to size up, so we just started harvesting beautiful "young" ginger in early October.
The fresh young ginger we grow here in Vermont is juicy and plump, with a pink blush. It's mild and tender enough to eat raw in salads, and it has an almost translucent skin that doesn’t need peeling; you can practically rub it off. We have a few ginger storage tips and recipe ideas here.
Belgian Endive is another unusual crop we're experimenting with this year. This crop is unique because we direct seed in the early spring, grow the plants all season long, and then harvest the roots in late fall- but after all that work, it's still not ready to eat! We store the roots like carrots and then force them later in the winter to grow tender leafy "chicons". We think Endive will be a welcome off-season leafy vegetable that will add diversity to our market table and CSA shares.
Last week we harvested our amazing late season green cabbages, each head weighs 15-20lbs! We brought 2,000 lbs of cabbage to the Food Venture Center to make our first batch of certified organic sauerkraut for the new season. Chop, salt, pack, wait! The kraut takes several weeks to ferment before we begin packaging for sale at market.
We have a new batch of Spicy Kimchi that's ready for market this Saturday. We grew the napa cabbage, carrots, scallions, ginger, garlic, onions, and cayenne peppers for our own small batch handcrafted seasonal Kimchi! It's deeeelicious! Come try a taste at the market!
Bundle up and stop by our final outdoor markets of the season through the end of October:
Chapman's in Fairlee on Friday's October 23rd & 30th, 3-5:30pm.
Norwich Farmers' Market on Saturday's October 24th & 31st, 9-1pm.
In November we move indoors for the Norwich Winter Market in Tracy Hall.
October is an amazing time to eat local seasonal foods; we have a wide selection of tasty roots, winter squash varieties, plenty of fresh greens and herbs, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, leeks, ground cherries, tomatillos, and hot peppers all available at our markets. Plus where else can you get local ginger, sauerkraut, kimchi, and fresh eggs?
We hope to see you at the market!
Delicata is one of our favorite early season winter squash varieties because the skins are tender and edible. It's easy to slice and roast in the oven and it has an incredible sweet flavor. In the early fall, we also love to roast Spaghetti Squash and then serve it with chopped fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs. We wait for a few weeks to start selling our longer storing varieties like Butternut, Acorn, Red Kuri, and Grey Kubocha to give them time to cure. This sweetens and improves their flavor.
Lisa and Eva use hook tools to cut vines off the sweet potato plants in preparation for harvest. Next steps are to undercut the bed and dig the sweet potatoes out by hand.
Last week we harvested about 5,000 lbs of beautiful sweet potatoes, our best yield ever! They cure at 80 degrees for about a week to improve flavor and heal the skins. You'll soon start seeing them at market and in your CSA shares!
Everyone was bundled up to head out for harvest early on Monday morning, but our salad greens don't mind the cold. Lettuce mix, arugula, baby kale, and spinach are at their best in the fall when there's less weed and insect pressure and chillier temperatures make for outstanding flavor and quality.
One of the great things about leeks is they hold in the field late into the fall and can even survive below freezing temperatures! We harvested about 300lbs for our CSA shares and markets last week and still have plenty in the field for later this fall. We hill the soil around the base of the plants several times throughout the summer to grow long white blanched stems on our leeks.
This week it's easy to support "Share the Harvest", a program sponsored by NOFA-VT to offer reduced price CSA shares to limited income Vermonters. This Thursday, October 1st, if you make a purchase at any one of these Upper Valley restaurants or stores, a portion of your purchase will go towards NOFA's Farm Share Program and will help your neighbors in need get access to healthy food:
Colatina Exit Bradford
The Local Buzz Bradford
Skunk Hollow Tavern Hartland
Cedar Circle Farm E. Thetford
Route 4 Country Store Deli & BBQ White River Junction
Upper Valley Food Coop White River Junction
Woodstock Farmers Market Store Woodstock
We're grateful to NOFA-VT and generous donations from our own members that enabled us to offer 8 new CSA members a reduced price share this season.