Friday, August 20, 2010

Fall is just around the corner

Well, it's still August, but early this week you'd think it was September.  A cold front came through Madison Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, so the long sleeves, pants, and jackets that most of us were wearing to keep out the mosquitoes were actually comfortable, at least during the first few hours of the day.  Today, the heat has returned.  But we clearly saw a glimpse of what's in store for us in the next month or so.  Mostly, it is welcome, as the heat and bugs are somewhat unbearable conditions to work in.  However, none of us are ready for summer to be over, because we know that means winter is coming.  Still, I prefer the cycles of weather to sameness.  I don't think I'd like living in San Francisco even if it meant I could grow year-round.

This week, I was in charge of creating the CSA harvest list, while Jenna and Meghan worked on the distribution of tasks throughout the week, including harvesting and any other chores we decided needed to be done on field tour.  Claire helped us make decisions and finalize the lists.  We tried to go heavy on the harvesting on Monday and Tuesday so that Wednesday morning we could finish the harvest by 10:30 am, put the share in the cooler and finish other tasks Wednesday afternoon.  We almost made our goal, which is better than we've done for several weeks.

We also did our annual tomato tasting this year.  As Claire revealed in her newsletter, tasting tomatoes is not a straightforward task.  What tastes great to one person may be less so to someone else.  The other difficulty is that they all taste like, well... tomatoes, so after about 10 of them they become more difficult to distinguish.  I discovered that I liked Defel tomatoes and Amish paste, among others, and that I didn't like Japanese black, though they have a distinctive flavor (somewhat smoky, though one intern described it as tasting like root beer).  Basically, as in all things, variety is necessary to please every palate.  Not to mention that slicer tomatoes and paste tomatoes have their different uses as well.  Let the canning begin!

This is week #12 out of 21, so we are well over the halfway point.  Hard to believe!  More and more fields are being put into cover crops.  We had been doing buckwheat for the summer, but this week, Jake and Claire announced that they were going to switch to the fall/winter covers of rye/hairy vetch or oats/peas from now on.  The summer squash are winding down, the tomatoes and tomatillos are at their peak, and the winter squash is starting to ripen.  Fall is on the way!

Here's a pic of the triangle field I seeded a couple of weeks ago, and of some buckwheat after it's grown in a bit:

Winter squash and pumpkins:

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