- Collard Greens
- Sweet Onions
- Shishito Frying Peppers
- Diakon Radishes
- Sweet Peppers
Harvests are looking good thus far. The onions and shallots are all trimmed and are stored away in our dry storage. The dry bean plants are harvested and are about finished drying down in the greenhouse. When the rains come we will start the project of threshing all of them. All of the winter squash and dry corn will be coming out of the fields by tomorrow. Winter is looking to be bountiful!
As we are nearing the end of harvest season we are grateful for the changing seasons and are excited to begin our second Winter CSA in January. This year we have added a few new items to the CSA and have overall planted a lot more in quantity and diversity.After last year’s heartbreaking disease issues with our winter squash, we are very happy to report that we have a ton of squash this year! Lots of acorns, delicata, butternut, kabocha, pie pumpkins for the holidays, spaghetti squash, the list goes on… After making it through our first Winter of farming last year we feel like we have learned a tremendous amount about growing winter vegetables and how best to store them to ensure that we will have vegetables to hold us over until the soil awakens again in the spring.
After last year’s heavy winter frosts and snow, we have been thinking more about ways to grow storage crops that can’t be harmed by winter’s harsh weather. This year we have added a couple new varieties of dry beans including black garbanzo beans, red kidney beans and a new beautiful variety called Tiger’s Eye that is mustard yellow with burgundy swirls. We can’t wait to thresh them in the upcoming week to see how all these new varieties yielded.
In addition to the dry beans we are adding dry corn to the mix this year. We grew beautiful, multicolored corn that can be ground into cornmeal, or used whole for hominy and fresh masa. Popcorn is also a new addition to the Winter CSA this season. We grew two different types of popcorn, Tom’s Thumb a yellow variety with ears that are literally the size of your thumb and Dakota Black which has a striking dark color with big ears similar in size to a cob of sweet corn. A fun treat for the whole family!
Out in the fields we are also trialing some new varieties of overwintering cabbages, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Weather depending we will have big beautiful heads of cauliflower coming on in late March or April. We have also sown a lot of greens with hope that a mild winter will allow us to consume delicious chicories, spinach, mustard greens, arugula, kale, collards and chard.
For us, the farmers, winter is the most difficult time to grow vegetables. The weather controls everything. When the hard frosts come there is not much you can do, but wait and see what survives. And when the rains fall for days on end and the rising flood waters threaten to submerge our little plants, everything is out of our control. Winter is a humbling. A time when you learn to be patient and not to worry. It is also a time when you get to eat the most tasty vegetables that are sweet in flavor from the cold frost that the Willamette Valley brings. No California vegetable that come from the store can compare in flavor.
It is an exciting time of year when you get to witness the resiliency of plants and gamble a little bit. As a farmer friend once said “Some people go to casinos, I plant overwintering cauliflower. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”
It never ceases to amaze us just how much the land around us can provide year round. We hope you will join us for the winter season and see what this year has to offer.For now enjoy the those summer vegetables and look forward to more to come in winter.