Dear (Contact First Name),

Roughly speaking, all fresh fruits and vegetables fall into one of two categories:  harvested fresh or stored.  I’m not talking about the difference between fresh broccoli and frozen broccoli or fresh tomatoes and canned ones.  Rather, I’m talking about whether a particular produce item needs to be eaten within a few days of being harvested, or whether it can be kept for longer — weeks or months — under the correct conditions.Leafy greens, for example, are generally harvested just a day or three before they are eaten.  Root crops, on the other hand, are usually stored for up to six months before being consumed.  Yet Cabbage is a leafy green vegetable but it is commonly stored for two or three months without greatly affecting its eating quality.  And Leeks are a root vegetable that are most often eaten within a few days of harvest.

Some fresh fruits are picked just days before eating:  berries and cherries, for example.  But many types of fruit can be refrigerated for a week or two:  peaches, plums, apricots, and grapes for example.  And the most commonly consumed fruits in the U.S. — apples and oranges, are often stored for several months.

Nuts are not usually considered “Fresh produce”, but they are often lumped in with fruit — after all, they are tree crops (except peanuts).  Almost all nuts commonly grown in the U.S. are storage crops, harvested once a year and then used until next year’s harvest.  Chesnuts are an exception:  they must be used within two months of harvest and kept refrigerated or they will spoil.

Of the crops we grow, the following are harvested within a few days or a week of you receiving them:  asparagus, beets and carrots (with tops) broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, leafy greens (except cabbage), tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, spinach, peas, zucchini, cucumbers, peaches, cherries, apricots, melons and strawberries.

The crops we grow that are harvested and then stored before sending them to you include:  potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets and carrots (without tops), cabbage, citrus fruit, apples, asian pears, persimmons, winter squash, onions, garlic, walnuts and pistachios.

Harvesting Butternut Squash
Harvesting butternut squash this week

September is a big month for harvesting storage crops here and most places in the U.S.  Crops like potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, winter squash, pears, apples and nuts grow during the summer and mature between Labor Day and Halloween.  All must be harvested before freezing weather arrives — they are, after all, summer crops and are damaged by cold and/or rain.

In the last few weeks, we have harvested over 100,000 lbs. of these crops that will fill your boxes between now and the end of March.
Summer might still be hanging around, but the crops always seem to know when fall is here.  We’ll have peppers and tomatoes for a few more weeks but more and more your box will start to look like autumn.  There’s an Acorn Squash in your box today and the first Sweet Potatoes will be in there tomorrow.  The first greens will show up next week and continue weekly from there, and our first broccoli is just a few weeks away.