Tomato Twilight

It’s been a crazy cool season, as you’re all likely more than aware! We’re in September! Wow! It seems like just yesterday we put little transplants in the ground (which we will only do one more time, for a late planting of lettuce). But here we are, hauling hundreds and hundreds of pounds of butternut squash out of the field! We had to tromp through a thick carpet of vines and leaves – they’ve been doing great this season. This is a huge relief, especially after last year’s crop failure (most farmers we know lost most of their winter squash). We got over 1000# of our main butternut, with a few other kinds still ripening up out in the field. They’ll cure for a couple weeks in the greenhouse to sweeten up and toughen up for long-term storage. Our summer squash is done, finished, as are our cucumbers, strangely early in this very strange year. We’re enjoying an abundance of kales and chards, and anticipating a bountiful cabbage harvest later this fall. They absolutely love the cooler weather we’ve been having – thick gorgeous leaves are spilling off of the plants as they just keep on giving. We’ve been growing some amazing new lacinato kale varieties that have blown us away! Beautiful, open-pollinated varieties from Frank Morton at Wild Garden Seeds. We’ll be growing them out for seed ourselves next year we like them so much! Nothing beats a cool, late summer or early fall day, with a nice breeze and a sun hanging lower in the sky. It’s so comfortable for working outside and it’s a sure sign of the march of the seasons. An indication that the longest, hardest days are behind us. There’s still a lot to do (a lot!) but there’s no denying that we could get our first frost in a month or even sooner!

Tomatoes, unlike butternuts, aren’t having the greatest time. The cool temps mean very slow ripening, and we picked up late blight about a week and a half ago. This super aggressive pathogen has been known to wipe out entire tomato plantings in 7-10 days in ideal conditions (our conditions have been pretty ideal – cool and damp). We had been taking preventative measures for about a month, and continue to in order to slow the spread. Workers have to wear freshly washed clothes each day if they’ve been in the tomato patch, and we wait to do all our harvesting until the plants have dried out and late blight isn’t actively producing spores. We’ve done all we can to prevent and slow it down, and we’re fortunate to have gotten it later on in the season. Our heirloom plants are already mostly picked through, and we’ll have cherry tomatoes as long as the weather and disease allow it. But it’s very possible we’ll be done picking tomatoes in a week or two as this aggressive pathogen runs its course.

{Napa cabbage is ready!}

But going back to our beautiful butternuts, we have lots of those, and lots of other amazing storage crops, which means we’ll be selling Holiday Shares again this year! Get two large deliveries of sweet potatoes, winter squash, onions, garlic, leeks, cabbage, broccoli, and lots of other delicious veggies perfect for roasting. One delivery in mid-November and one in mid-December. If you’d like to get your hands on those, just head over to our Holiday Share Sign-Up form! We love our tomatoes, cucumbers, and summer crops, but nothing beats a house that smells like roasted root veggies.

-Dennis 9/1/17