New and Unusual
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.
This is by far the busiest time of the year on the farm as we're simultaneously planting, seeding, irrigating, harvesting, working farmers' markets, packing and distributing CSA shares, repairing and improving equipment, and doing our best to keep up with the incredibly fast growth of weeds. The weather throughout May and early June is so variable and unpredictable which makes our work even more challenging.
Overall our crops are growing well this season. Danielle is especially proud of our cabbage patch, with 10 different varieties of cabbages, broccoli, collards, and kale planted side by side. Last year we planted a very successful cover crop of clover and rye in this field. We were able to build our soil fertility and organic matter and the brassicas are really looking great right now.
Rhya has been doing a great job at our farm stand at the Norwich Farmers' Market every Saturday. Our table has been full with fresh greens, carrots, sauerkraut, and a mountain of gorgeous radishes and turnips. We hope you'll stop by one of our weekly market locations:
Tuesdays 3-5pm, VA Hospital Farm Stand, gazebo in front of hospital
Fridays 3-6pm, Fairlee Farm Stand, in front of Chapman's Store
Saturdays 9am-1pm, Norwich Farmers' Market, two red tents
Micah is carrying an armload of Hakurei Salad Turnips. Have you tried these delicious roots yet? For more information about this unique variety, check out our culinary tips and recipe pages.
Ben Blais harvesting scallions for our CSA shares this week. We've grown our best scallions ever this spring- big, tall, and dark green. They seem to be happy growing alongside our trellised cucumbers in the high tunnel.
Our June 3rd CSA harvest was a colorful mix of bok choy, green butterhead lettuce, broccoli rabe, storage carrots, cherriette radishes, fresh dill, and asparagus. We're on our fourth week of CSA shares, and it's not too late to sign up for your own delicious share of the harvest.
Ben Dana hoeing garlic, which is starting to size up nicely. In the field behind him, we have a healthy cover crop of rye and vetch growing 5 feet tall.
This was a beautiful foggy morning harvesting salad greens after the big rain last night.
January News from the Farm
People often ask us what we do in the winter and they're surprised to hear this is still a busy time of year at the farm. Here's a quick look at what we're up to...
We just finished our giant seed order that includes 161 varieties this year! Now we're working on our crop plan spreadsheets to refine our seeding schedules and plan the rotation and succession of crops around the farm this season.
Our Fall/Winter CSA shares finished up strong in the last week of December. We were happy to have our second high tunnel to increase the diversity and quantity of winter greens in the shares this season.
We've been working on analysis of this past season's CSA share value. Members who signed up for the Full Season saved 20% over local retail prices for comparable produce. We're pleased to show that our CSA is truly an economical source for local, organic produce.
We're making progress on our new farm name! We're still refining our designs, but we plan to announce the new name and logo in February.
We're preparing for farmers' market this weekend. Stop by, we'd love to see you!
Norwich Winter Farmers' Market
at Tracy Hall on Saturday between 10-1pm.
We'll have a nice selection of carrots, potatoes, cabbage, spinach, butternut, delicata, and kubocha winter squash, beets, turnips, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, heirloom dry beans, and don't miss our delicious sauerkraut!