I know. I know. I’m a bad blogger! Almost a month without an update. I hope that tells you how busy we’ve been!
We had a very, very hard frost this past weekend. It was 25 here at the farm on Saturday morning. The truck almost didn’t start for market. Well, it didn’t start, but after an hour of frustrated trying, it gave in and started up. This was in Josh’s absence (of course, our head farmer leaves and everything goes awry) who had to be away for the weekend. On top of the frost and truck not starting, I lost my precious wedding ring at some point in the morning at 5am between the house and barn. I still haven’t found it although the great people at Pacific Survey have let me borrow a metal detector to try to find it. No success yet. But, that is besides the point.
Nonetheless, the damage was severe, some things we didn’t expect were killed off, others did just fine. We were mostly prepared and threw remay on all the tender lettuces and mustards out in the field. A few things didn’t make it, like our beautiful celery. It was so close to going to market, but Josh cut into it this morning and it had gone pithy and bad, so no celery for market. It was a red tinted variety from Wild Garden Seed that had so much flavor. I’m definitely mourning the loss of this celery. We also lost the fennel greens, although the bulbs are still nice and of course, all the summer vegetables are kaput including our strawberries. At least Patrick and I did one last pick on Friday morning, so those were quite popular at Saturday’s market. Dandelion greens fared well without being covered as did all the escarole and frisee. The carrots and radishes and turnips have better flavor now, which we are excited about. It all seems like it happened so fast, this transition into fall. And now, the weather reports call for 75 this week. This strange, unpredictable southern Oregon weather!
We’ve planted garlic–a number of varieties from a local organic seed grower. We are excited about all the varieities and to watch and test which do best here at our site. This week, we plant overwintering leeks and onions and start working on putting up our hoophouse to overwinter greens. It is a bit late on that front, but we are going to push it and see what happens. We’ve learned quite a bit about timing on seeding and planting fall vegetables this year. Some things we have hit right on the button like cauliflower, broccoli, collards, kale and napa cabbages, but some other things we were a bit late on like head cabbage and head lettuces, but alas, we are happy with what is available out there now as the harvests slow down and many of our markets come to a close. It doesn’t seem possible, really. Putting our first real farming season to bed.
We’ve been doing quite a bit of preserving as well. Tomato sauce, plum butter, applesauce, peaches, frozen peppers, beans and peaches, kimchee just to name a few. We’ve stocked the freezer with Thompson Creek Organic apple cider and yummy organic ground beef and this weekend, we will be slaughtering our 15 meat birds (the ones that made it through the heavy predator pressure) and around 30 old laying hens. Yum! The meat birds are weighing in live at 6 pounds right now, so I think we will have some nice roasters for the winter. I’m so happy about that. I love chicken, but don’t love buying it from the store.
Well, I think I’ll charge the camera up to take some pictures of the chicken processing this weekend and make sure I get those up on the blog.