Solstice Nears—Winter Weeks 7 and 8

IMG_2115Because next week is Christmas (which we celebrate), we will not be picking anything and there will be no CSA pickup anywhere after the 23rd. Everyone will pick up both weeks’ produce on their usual pickup day this week. If you have a conflict and need to pick up on a different day, please let us know. If that doesn’t make sense, please let me know right away. 🙂

THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• “French Fingerling” potatoes
• Big Turnips
• Golden Beets
• Parsnips (been saving them all year for this week)
• Salsify
• Red or Yellow Onions
• Leeks
• Garlic
• “Festival” Winter Squash
• Sugar/Pie Pumpkin
• Turnip Greens
• Kale
• Baby Savoy Cabbages
• Swiss Chard
• Radicchio
• Arugula or Mizuna
• Cliffside Orchards “D’Anjou” Pears

Sadly, we are finished for the winter. We have run out of carrots, many greens, and most squashes. You’ll find more information in the text below, but that’s the heart of it. We will make up the two missing weeks in the spring when there is more produce.

Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops. Click HERE for detailed photos on how to cook greens.

This winter has been a strange one. It hasn’t been excessively cold, but it seems as if it has been extraordinarily wet. We have much standing water around the farm and in places in the fields—more than usual. The extra rain has made a lot of leafy crops disintegrate, but I also blame ourselves for not adding enough lime last year. Among other things, the calcium from the lime (not the fruit, but Calcium Carbonate) helps strengthen the cell walls of plants, making them more resistant to the cells bursting and causing deterioration of tissues. More lime next year. Maybe more row covering as well.

With this week’s double pickup, we will be done for the winter, but no need to worry! As in the past, we will make up the two missing weeks of winter produce in the spring—between the spring and summer seasons. That puts us in early June, when we typically have much more to offer. We believe that you will be happier with your produce selection in those two weeks than if we try to scrounge for two weeks in January.

The Winter Solstice arrives on Friday, and it’s never too soon for my taste. The shortest day/longest night is as bad as it gets, and I put up a lot of lights to try and forget that we really only have about 6 hours of light this time of year. I like to imagine what it must have been like in very olden times. In the days before electric lights and heating, or even before gas lit and heated homes and made life more comfortable. When tiny houses were filled with smoke from fireplaces and eyes strained to complete tasks by candlelight. When fresh food was scarce, and a family only had what they had managed to store away during brighter days. The days of root cellars, wood-sheds, and that fatted goose, plump with grain from the fall.

It may not seem like much, but the three minutes of extra light we northerners get from each passing day after December 21 adds up. Those extra minutes bring the promise of fresh spring greens, abundant fresh eggs, and an explosion of all forms of new life. It’s not especially noticeable until around February, when grass greens up and hens start laying, and then we start planting. The bees will emerge and forage on blooming maple trees, and possibly alder or willow—the first plants to bloom around here. Not much for honey, but those tree blossons are rich in pollen for feeding baby bees. After the Solstice, we begin looking for those signs of spring. And we start counting the days until we can start planting again.

It will be only a few weeks until we seed carrots in the greenhouses for April picking, and in February we will plant salad greens inside for April and May. The seed catalogs have already arrived, and once the holidays have passed, we will study and make lists, adjust our planting schedules, and try and fit even more into our little farm than we did last year. It’s always going to be a good year, and a better one than last year.

Of course, that’s assuming that the world doesn’t end on Friday, December 21….

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One response to “Solstice Nears—Winter Weeks 7 and 8

  1. Thanks Shelley, Mike & family for the fabulous winter season. We enjoyed the baby savoy cabbages for dinner tonight (stir fried with garlic, ginger & a bit of lime juice) and will enjoy the rest of the bounty with Christmas dinner. Happy Holidays!

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