Week 15: Shock

What what what?! On Wednesday we were dripping in humid sweaty heat and by Saturday everyone was scrambling for more layers to keep warm!
These dramatic shifts in temperature are becoming our new normal, so we try not to spend more time stressing about it than we do just dealing with it.
The Four Winds soil grows such strong, healthy plants that they can stand up to a lot. And you have two strong farmers working to follow the plants’ lead!

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What was great:
We’ve started harvesting winter squash! It can be a confusing process with lots of differing opinions on timing, but we’re beginning to gather those beauties that have been growing slowly all season. The fruits go through a “curing” stage in a dry, warm area (the greenhouse for us) where the skin hardens and the flesh sweetens.

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Meghan and me “cussing and discussing” with Alli about what and when to harvest. Farmers unite!
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I helped organize for mid-Hudson CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) where we plan tours and workshops at different farms for apprentices and new farmers to experience lots of growing methods and production styles.
The tour at Four Winds was this week and it was great to have more young folks interested in farming come along for an intro to the no-till method the Armours have built over three decades.
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What was hard:
Speaking for myself, this week has felt rough on my lower back. Getting behind on sleep can lead to my back not healing from a day’s work quickly enough and showing exhaustion. Thankfully no injury, just worn out, but it can be hard to get through loading and unloading for distribution and market, let alone the usual daily work, when your back is just saying, “no, no.”

What we wish was different:
We’ve been finding some rotten layers in the onions we’re using for our own cooking 😦
It was so rainy during that harvest window that we think some of the bulbs started rotting in the field before we could get them out. If you find a layer of rot, don’t worry about just discarding it, rinsing off the solid layers, and using it as usual!

What we’re grateful for:
I had some friends and other farmers over to use the pizza oven at Four Winds. It was a lovely–albeit chilly–evening of yummy food and fun conversations. I hope we can have a CSA pizza party before the season is up!
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What made us laugh:
Farmers often end up dreaming of crop and production related topics. It’s hard when they are stress dreams, but sometimes they are funny. Like dreaming that the celeriac was as big as our heads, or that all the CSA members lived on the farm. I can’t even remember all the ridiculous farm-related dreams I’ve had at this point!

I’ve mentioned before how we try to leave milkweed around for the monarchs (it’s the only food source for the caterpillars) and this year we’ve been gathering the larvae to hatch in a more protected environment before releasing them.
These two are big ones that I just relocated to an uneaten milkweed plant. It’s been a joy to watch them form chrysalises and become the amazing little creatures they are.

Share potentials:
Tomatoes (less this week since the rain cracked lots of them and the plants are slowing waaaay down!)
Eggplant, peppers, or okra
Arugula, head lettuce, yukina, or spicy mix
Watermelon radish greens! (Look below for recipe ideas) or sweet potato greens
Carrots or Leeks
Celeriac Root!
Onion (1 whole quart this week!)
Garlic
Herb choice

The radish greens are SO yummy right now as a cooking green! Use them like you would kale or chard. Here are several recipe ideas.

Member Carla shared a recipe for radish green pesto:
Wash and chop 1-2 cups leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds
1 Tbs Lemon juice
2-3 Tbs Olive oil
2 Tbs parmesan or romano or feta cheese
1-2 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients except the nuts to a food processor. Process to small pieces. Add nuts and process further till you have a nice rough textured paste.

You can make a pesto out of any green. You can also change flavors by omitting the cheese, olive oil and lemon and replacing it with sesame oil, seasoned rice vinegar, cilantro and a dash of fish sauce or soy sauce for the salt flavor. Use on cooked fish or on pasta or cook chicken or shrimp coated in the pesto or on top of a dinner omelette or spread on rice crackers.
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Here’s an idea from member Judy to use up those collard greens I know you still have in your fridge–Cauliflower, Collards, Leeks, Garlic, salt and Pepper:
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There are many shocking moments that come with small-scale farming, and life in general. We can learn much from our dear plants–to keep steady even we’re changing, to maintain a reasonable state of growth so we reach full potential and topple over without being destroyed, to let the season go when it is time to bolt and drop seeds.

Yarrow in the herb garden:
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Learning to absorb the shock,
Lyds

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