Hi, there. We're nearing the finish line! That last little heat wave was brutal, but today at least, I'm taking it as a gentle reminder to enjoy the cooler temps and appreciate what Fall has to offer. (Or maybe that it'd be pretty nice to move to Nova Scotia).
We didn't let the heat slow us down though, harvesting over 2500 lbs of potatoes (with a little more still to go), keeping up on the last summer harvests, planting 1000 strawberry plants, and seeding an acre of cover crops for next summer's squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. In space previously occupied by potatoes, carrots, and greens we seeded a blend of oats, winter peas, daikon radish, and crimson clover.
The oats and peas will help smother weeds, while building organic matter, and the peas will fix nitrogen from the air into the soil. The daikon radishes will punch holes down through compacted soil and soak up some of the available nutrients over winter. All three will die in the winter cold and begin to break down and release their nutrients in early spring, at which point the crimson clover will add about 150 lbs of nitrogen into the soil and explode with flowers for our insects before we till the ground and plant our veggies. All told, the four species will add five to ten thousand pounds of dry "straw" to feed the soil through next season. It's actually a little crazy to think we're preparing for tomatoes before we're even quite finished with this year's crop, but I guess a farmer's work is never done. And with a little assistance from us, the possibilities of our farm ecosystems are never exhausted either.
In the spirit of that inter-season cooperation, this is also a special time of year to relish the new tastes of fall, while the last fruits of summer still linger. You may have already seen and enjoyed our kale, kohlrabi, delicata squash and chard, and this week we add to that round and French radishes and a few new varieties of potatoes. Next week we should have arugula and salad greens, bok choi, and a more full assortment of winter squash (as soon as we can pull them out of the field!). On the other hand, this will be the last week for watermelon, beans, and cucumbers. Peaches and tomatoes will not be farm behind. It's a special but short-lived time of year, so savor it and eat up!
What we're eating
Chicken and potatoes... OK, so this isn't a specific recipe, but have you ever cooked potatoes in chicken drippings? It's pretty simple, but is a great way to step up your potato game. Simply follow your favorite roast chicken recipe (sure it's a bit on the nose, but a Peruivan inspired like this would be perfect), preferably one with a higher roasting temp around 375-425. Toss your potatoes in olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of whatever you rubbed the chicken with. Then roast the chicken elevated on a rack above your potato pan. Simple as that. Creamy fingerling potatoes like these Peruvian heirlooms are particularly suited to the method.
Shaved Kohlrabi Salad Question number two: have you ever shaved a kohlrabi? I highly recommend it. There are basically two sorts of kohlrabi. If you're familiar with kohlrabi at all, it's probably the 4-6 inch bulbs meant to store the winter through (more on those this winter). Like dense white cabbages, they are best enjoyed with a heavier treatment. Fresh kohlrabi like the baseball-sized white ones we have now are much sweeter and are actually quite a treat raw. This Bon App recipe is a great example of how it's done. And if you don't love the kohlrabi, hey, at least there's lots of mint, tahini and nuts!
Bryan and Joanna