Winter veggies

All but one item in the December winter share installment were harvested well over a week ago. Picadilly and Vanguarden farmers put these storage crops in walk-in coolers, minimally heated greenhouses and root cellars. Onions, shallots, potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash were out of the fields by October 1. Other root crops (for example, beets, celeriac, parsnips) were harvested through October and November, before the ground froze, and then stored in a cool place. During a mild winter, crops like leeks and carrots are often “stored” in the field and harvested as needed and if/when the ground thaws. (Last winter, shareholders had a treat from Vanguarden when the weather unexpectedly warmed up in January allowing Chris to harvest leeks.) Leafy green crops like collard greens, radicchio and spinach can also be held in the field through mild frosts (temps as low as 25 degrees) when covered. Kale can survive through a mild winter as long as temperature fluctuations aren’t wide and the plant can thaw out every day.

The unseasonably frigid weather that hit the week before Thanksgiving was a bit tough on the kale still in the field. Kale, especially the Winterbor variety that I grow for the winter share, is well suited to cold weather. Kale can freeze and thaw repeatedly with no ill effect. In fact, kale is much tastier after it has been through a frost or two. Unfortunately for us, the pre-Thanksgiving cold snap saw temperatures remain below freezing for over 24 hour. Our kale didn’t freeze and thaw, it just froze. You may notice some damage on the stems and leaves. Collard greens and radicchio didn’t have a chance at survival.

Here is what Belmont CSA winter shareholders will find in this Saturday’s share:

From Bruce and Jenny Wooster, Picadilly Farm
Shallots, short pint.
Cabbage, a lovely head of green cabbage.
Celeriac, two pieces.
Onions, two pounds.
Parsnips, two and a half pounds.
Purple top turnips, two pounds.
Beets, three pounds.
Sweet potatoes, four pounds.
Potatoes, six pounds.
Carrots, five and a half pounds.
Winter squash, one (or more!) beautiful butternut squash.

From Gretta Anderson, Belmont CSA
Kale, one bunch. It should be used soon.

From Chris Yoder, Vanguarden CSA
Popcorn, one bouquet.
Onions, mostly red, one and a half pounds.