As the morning frost become more consistent and the days get shorter, things on the farm slow to a halt. Similar to the sound a record makes when you turn off the machine without lifting the needle. The caterpillars and grasshoppers that were once pest, seem to move like molasses. Some vegetables can't take the weather, crippling to the frost and becoming squishy versions of what they once were. Others brace themselves, rooting further into the ground and processing their extra starches into sugar as a last resort. This not only ensures a few more weeks of life for the crop but, brings out some of the unique sweet flavors hiding in hardy greens and root vegetables during the fall.
Although we move quicker than the caterpillar on a frosty morning we also wear more layers. Not a single day goes by without an extra pair of long johns. Even so, things are slowing down for the farmers as well. We spend less time harvesting, and more time cleaning up and organizing. We have removed the crops lost to the frost, and have begun preparing those fields to be planted in next season. Extracting things we learned over the last few years we have improved our technique to include a light tilling, laying compost and worm casting, and covering the entire field with a large tarp for weed suppression. We are finishing new structures like the caterpillar tunnels to buy us some more time in early spring, and preparing the hoop house for overwintering crops like spinach, kale, and lettuce mix to extend the growing season even further.
During the winter months is when most of the planning happens for the next season crops. As we reflect on this past year and the years that came before, we take away as much knowledge as we can. These experiences, failures, and successes are intertwined in our planning process and then tweaked and challenged into new experiments. As our vision for the farm expands we research new ideas and techniques to map out how to integrate them into the next season. It's refreshing and exciting all at the same time.
Although spring feels like an eternity away it will be here before we know it. There are a lot of plans and changes in the works for the future, that I look forward to sharing some of those changes with you in the next newsletter. Until then, thank you so much for subscribing to the newsletters, supporting our farmstand and continuing to make our weekend markets so special. We are incredibly grateful for our community, and the opportunity to share our love and passion with you.