Thursday, September 6, 2012

Welcoming Autumn on the farm

Happy Autumn everyone!  Lizzie wasn't feeling well this morning so I stayed home from market.  This not only gave me the rare opportunity to take my time with the harvest and packing, but also to do a long delayed blog update.  And it turns out autumn is a wonderful time to catch things on the farm in photos.  Below are some of the items that are currently being pulled in from the gardens and some items that are soon to be available to our members and at markets.

Our large, slicing tomatoes are a big hit this time of year.  Not long from now the plants will be frosted but until then we'll get plenty of enjoyment from a great tomato season.

Our newest offering is a mix of baby chard, baby beet greens and baby lettuce.  This is also a very popular item after a month and a half without lettuce or greens during the heat of summer.  Nice to be back!

The winter squash field is looking very nice with the plants dying back to reveal a bounty like none I've experienced thus far as a farmer.  It makes me look forward to our annual tour during which we'll offer hay rides for pumpkins!

Farmer's Choice Heirloom Tomato Mix.

Blue Hubbard Squash.  This one is the size of a beach ball!  Enjoy Jim!

Lemon Cucumbers.  Our Farmer's Choice Share Members will find two pounds of these beauties in their share bag this week.  They are a wonderful, interesting, prolific cucumber.  This time of year when we start to get a little rain again and it's still hot, the plants go nuts and so does the amount of fruit.  I can barely stay ahead of them and I only have 5 plants!

Your standard salad cucumbers.

Another item that our FCS members will find this week that's new is this flat pod Italian type of green bean.  Don't let the 'weird' shape fool you.  This is a great tasting bean.  Unlike many of our other bush beans though, I recommend cooking this one rather than sampling raw.  They tend to be a bit 'toothy' when raw but that disappears when sauteed lightly in olive oil or steamed.

A flat, yellow podded pole bean.

Another shot.  Ok I was just enjoying playing with Em's fancy camera here.

Ruby Ring Onions.  I'm sometimes surprised when orders come in on Monday night about what is hot on the list.  This was one of those cases.  Our members like red onions...who knew?

Our lettuce mix is back as summer winds down and autumn picks up.

Another new item for our FCS members.  Red Kuri Squash.  This is considered an Hubbard squash and is marketed by Johnny's Selected Seeds (where I purchased the seed for this variety) as a 'Baby Red Hubbard.  There is nothing baby about the flavor or the color though.  Very nice addition to the autumn harvest field.

People also went nutty for garlic this week.  I as surprised to see how much we needed to clean and pack.  This is a beautiful example of Russian Red.  I nearly kept this one out for my yearly entry into the Common Ground Fair Exhibition Hall.

Acorn Squash

New England Pie Pumpkin

Delicata Squash on the left, Buttercup on the right.

Butternut, a later squash, which I was pleasantly surprised to see is beginning to be ready in the squash patch.  Can't wait for the first butternut of the year.

We grow and Heirloom pumpkin for jack-o-lanterns.  Connecticut Field Pumpkin.  I actually passed by the largest one I've ever grown last night in the field.  I can't wait to show Lizzie and Martin.

Ok, this is the highlight of my season.  Lizzie and I look forward to going to Mainely Apples in Dixmont every year as autumn draws near.  However, I also graft my own fruit trees with the intention of someday having an orchard of rare varieties that I cannot get from our friends in Dixmont.  Anyway, I graft every year and you always have to assume that if you're lucky and take care of the trees you'll get a crop of apples in 5-20 years.  I was walking by the nursery this morning and happened to notice this apple on one of the trees that I grafted 2 years ago!  The first apple of the season is always a momentous event for me when we go and pick at the orchard.  But I can tell you it is nothing compared to the excitement of the first apple ever in your own orchard from a tree you grafted.  I can't wait to show Lizzie and Martin and Emily and then slice into this beautiful apple.

Our honey bees are performing admirably in their top bar hive preparing for winter.

Now for some of the potatoes that will be available to our members shortly on the weekly email list.  This is my favorite potato.  Butte.  It's a russet and quite wonderful both from the viewpoint of the grower and an eater.


Always knocking on the door of Butte for my favorite are these amazing spuds.  King Harry is a variety I have grown for a few seasons now and I really love them.  They produce under pressure from weeds and potato beetles but they also taste great.  A nice baking potato.

That's all for now.   I am off to build some more drying racks for our onions as we continue to harvest them and then off to Bangor to deliver for our Members.  Be well.