& Thai Winter Melon*
The Pickle Pile
Flowers — last week’s leftovers, and then we’re done for the year.
2018 Week 43, Summer CSA Pick-up 21 of 26
I do have to say that, from a farmer’s perspective, in an unimaginably long but beautiful race, frost is a like a finish line you don’t get to see until you cross it. And we had frost! — 31F Friday morning, and 27F this morning — which means there must still be some indentation in the field where I collapsed to the grass and sprawled, unmeasurably grateful. It is nearly impossible to describe the gratefulness that a farmer feels for fall.
As I mentioned to some last week, for this particular year, it also feels a bit like a mercy killing for an old, tired horse who had seen too many miles. But I am uber pumped about a new nutrient regimen next year, including, among other more foundational things, what I thought was just a brilliant, great new idea, but is also probably old as dust, and in Korean Natural Farming circles turns-out to be called “Fermented Plant Extract.” You know, a nitrogen-fixing, deeply-rooted-nutrient-pumping, plant-aromatic producing living mulch walkway mowed into a bag, fermented with a bit of rock dust and effective microbes, and reapplied at the root zone with more biology and bioavailability. Maybe, maybe not … but we shall see.
That cucurbit — cucumber / squash family — you saw growing outside the greenhouse was my friend’s Thai Winter Melon, from seed straight from Thailand this February, and is in the share this week. It is perfect in a soup with broth, carrots, garlic, and onions — and hot peppers if you like it that way. I also harvested the compost pile’s Winter Squash before frost, as I had to mow this year’s true crop down and would otherwise have had none for you. The fall Carrots are starting to come in, including ‘Dolciva,’ which was first to mature last fall as well, is one of the best at the end of winter, and should probably just be the farm’s mainstay variety. While I am into roots, I will grab one of the beds of Celeriac, and some of the Sunroot, too.
Sunroot at this time of the year has a fair amount of inulin, which is a non-caloric carbohydrate digested by your microbiome, but not you, potentially resulting in stomach pain and methane offgassing. To put it politely. I have heard of two techniques to correct that matter: slow cooking, and time in cold temperatures, might convert inulin into a more digestible, simpler sugar. So, take note, and maybe don’t make a whole dinner of it just yet.
Lastly, for those of you who asked what to do with the Fennel: Roast it, cut it into salads, use the tops for tea, or read what a real chef says.
I hope you all are well,
Enjoy this cooler weather, &
See you on the farm,