THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• “Delicata” Winter Squash
• Red, Golden, or Chioggia Beets
• Siberian Salad or Red Russian Kale
• Brussels Sprout Tops
• Yellow Onions
• Red Romaine Lettuce
• Fresh Thyme
Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.
Baby Bok Choy
Halloween is past, and the season of darkness is upon us. Then hens let us know by shedding their feathers and giving up on egg-laying. It’s time for them to sleep and rest. The cows are (hopefully) bred, and incubating calves that will be born in April and June. I’ve got all my fingers crossed. And all my toes are crossed that both sows, Bess and Lillibet are pregnant as well, and will be fat with baby pigs this winter—they should be due in February. Next year’s flock of laying hens will arrive in two weeks—perfect timing, because they will be mature in 6 months and ready to lay as the days get longer in May.
We had a pretty hard frost this morning. Enough to blanket everything in white. Hopefully enough to sweeten up the greens and send plant sugars to the roots of carrots and beets. Plant sugars are like antifreeze, and that is our reward for waiting until cold weather to eat them. Nothing satisfies me like frost-sweetened kale sautéed in garlic. Mmmmm.
We are using up the last of our summer lettuce patch this week—a red romaine named “Marshall”. Maybe two more weeks of growing time would have filled out the heads, but the color is amazing, and it doesn’t seem to handle freezing well, so might as well pick it.
But you might ask, what are Brussels Sprouts Tops! I might have to share this mysterious vegetable with you, because it’s one of our novelty crops! Brussels Sprouts are basically a cabbage that grows with an elongated stem, and the little sprouts grow in each of the leaf-stem joints. When the bottom sprouts reach 1/2″ in diameter, we decapitate the plants. Very gory, I know. The fluffy, leafy top is delicious, though, and can be eaten like Kale or Collard Greens, its’ cousins. This is basically a way of pruning the plants so that all the sprouts size-up at the same time, instead of having big sprouts on the bottom and tiny ones on top, which is the plant’s preference. Maniacal Plant Mutilation and Manipulation.
The turkeys are getting big, and we finally got them into an empty greenhouse for their remaining few weeks of life. At least it’s warmer and dry in there. And no risk of losing them to predators, or flight. Yes, they are amazing flyers even though they are heavy. All it took was one airborne turkey to teach us to keep them completely enclosed. I watched in awe as it took off and glided effortlessly around the farm—really nearly as big as an eagle—never to be seen again.