2020 CSA Newsletter #15

It’s not too early to start referring to things as being so 2020, is it? Because last week was so 2020. First we had hazy skies and sunsets due to the wildfires on the West Coast. A couple of years back I was visiting my best friend in Sonoma County and we were about 4 hours away and seeing the effects of the fire with ash falling and the hazy skies. I thought that was wild but to be 3000 miles away and see the effects is next level. Then the temperature dropped and we had 3 nights of frost predicted for the weekend. (It actually ended up being 4 nights because I woke up to frost this morning). And finally, RBG. Even though she had a mixed record on Tribal Law, she was a fierce justice warrior that will be sorely missed.

The impending frost caused a bit of havoc for me. It’s not unexpected to have frost this early but to go from nights in the 40s to frost is a little chaotic, especially 4 straight nights of it. So, I made an assessment on Thursday afternoon what would be the priority for the farm. You see, we have a lot of crops in the field that will be damaged even in the upper 30s and would be toast with a frost. I felt pretty good going into Friday about where my priorities were and what I could cover and what needed to be harvested. Well, everything didn’t go as planned. When I got back to the farm in the afternoon after teaching in Ithaca in the morning, I headed out to the field with harvest bins in tow. I first tackled the winter squash. The plants were lush and beautiful and full of fruit but since we got them in the ground a little late a lot of it was still unripe. I managed to clear out as much of the acorn and delicata as I could but all of the pie pumpkins and butternuts still needed more time. I then cleared out as many frying and shishito peppers that I could. I was hoping to be able to cover the chard and lettuce but it was way too windy for me to do it by myself. Since Friday night wasn’t supposed to be the coldest, I crossed my fingers, hoped for the best and headed back to close up the hoophouses to capture as much heat as I could for the tomatoes and sweet peppers. Well, we got a pretty good frost overnight. The hoophouse crops came out mostly unscathed. The heirloom tomatoes and sweet peppers are in a house that has 2 layers of plastic, which provides extra insulation. The house that had the beefsteak and cherry tomatoes only has a single layer of plastic and there was some definite damage to the tops of the plants. I wanted to wait until later in the day to check on the lettuce and chard and cover if everything looked good. The lettuce handled the first night pretty good and the chard actually had some damage. I got them covered but was still worried about the nights ahead.

And that leads us to this week’s CSA share. The lettuce survived the 4 nights of frost, so some of you will be getting that bonus item this week. Those of you getting shishitos this week are ones from the field. They are a bit small but still tasty. A first this week are these beautiful french breakfast radishes. They are nice and tender and the frost definitely helped to sweeten them a bit. We caramelized some and topped a sirloin with them over the weekend.

Have a great week!