- Red Beets
- Green Cabbage
- Red Onions
- Fingerling Potatoes
- Parsnips— They are closely related to carrots, they can be used in almost the exact same way. Though they are sweeter, and have a much stronger flavor. Try this week’s recipe in the newsletter for Parsnip Cardamom Custard.
- Kabocha Squash— These squash typically have smooth, deep-green skins with pale green lines and warty bumps and knobs. Their shape is round and squat, somewhat like a pumpkin. Their flesh is sweet, flavorful, incredibly dense and creamy, and a deep orange. Because of this denseness and creaminess, Kabocha squash are well suited to hearty soups and to roasting, which concentrates its delicious flavor. Soups with these squash are often made with lots of herbs, which complement the flavor of the squash.
During Summer, it’s the plant and weed cycles that dictate our day-to-day work and our schedule in general. That, as well as our busier market and CSA pick-up schedule, that determine which days we have to harvest and which days are open to field work. During Winter, however, the masters of our schedule shift. At this time of year, we only harvest one day per week (for the CSA), which leaves the rest of the week completely open and unstructured by deadlines. Other than the vagaries of the weather, there is not nearly as much “deadline-stress”, the stress caused by the imminent approach of a deadline.
Deadline-stress is a big motivator in the fast paced summer-life of us market farmers. It’s that little buzzing that you feel in your brain and muscles in the morning, getting you out of bed early in full awareness of what needs to be done that day. I’m sure you all know exactly that feeling, and feel it on a regular basis in both your work and personal lives.
For farmers of the vegetable variety, winter time is kind of like a school year’s summer break–though not exactly. It is the time of year that, left unstructured, can lead to many unproductive days. With the lack of deadline-stress, winter becomes a test of self-discipline. At the beginning of our winter “break” Chloe and I make a master to-do list. Often times this list is three or four pages long and takes us a couple of days to compile. It includes a multitude of tasks, from machine maintenance and building and repairing sheds to crop planning, budgeting, and taxes. Many of the things on the list have deadlines, but they are in time frames of months, not days. We don’t feel the sense of urgency that an impending market day provides.
This is not to say that unproductive days are a bad thing. Chloe and I try to avoid work-related activities during the early part of our break. It’s sometimes hard to do that in the high-energy, high workload occupation that we’ve chosen, but we both feel that it is important to take time to deliberately recognize and give time to the other important aspects of our lives – some of which during summer are muscled aside by the intensity of the season.
The winter to-do list is always big, and we don’t necessarily get it all done, either. We need to work consistently, and prioritize appropriately, in order to get all of the crucial things done before the spring planting season – when our time and energy is again almost completely devoted to nurturing the plants and soil that provide food to a community.
During this winter, while we still have time, it’s important for us to remained disciplined so that we can set ourselves up for a good upcoming season. Self-discipline is one of the more difficult things for us humans to do, and we constantly struggle with it. Although we are animals with an awareness of how our current actions might affect what the future may hold, it’s still hard to put aside our current desires and comfort for the sake of our future well-being. This is equally true on the community and even national level. Many of the challenges that we face today, whether they be environmental, social, or political, are indicative of just how difficult the practice of self-discipline really is for us humans.
It seems appropriate that our species, with arguably the greatest ability for self-control, is also the one with the greatest need of it. With more power comes more responsibility, they say. This winter at the farm, Chloe and I are practicing responsibility. We can surely use the practice…
Enjoy this week’s vegetables.