It still looked and felt like mid-summer here on the farm yesterday — mid-summer in the Midwest that is, hot with clouds, thunderstorms and humidity. But today it feels like fall, breezy and cool. And your box this week clearly illustrates the changing seasons.
Peaches, the quintessential summer fruit, are gone. In their place: Asian Pears, their crisp, juicy flesh giving us hope for some fall weather. We started harvesting the pears a few weeks back and are just wrapping up. , But unlike Peaches, the pears store well in the cooler for several months.
Our fall Salad Green season also starts today, with our first Arugula. Planted just 21 days ago, the arugula went through some very hot weather and we were concerned it might not be palatable. But while it certainly has a little kick, you can easily balance that out this week by tossing it with the tomatoes in your boxes — which may be the sweetest we’ve had so far this year.
Today is also the start of our fall Green Bean season, which we hope will last until Halloween and possibly beyond. The beans in your boxes today were planted in early July and the plants suffered through the hottest part of the summer. But while they are stunted and stressed by the heat, they still managed to make some beautiful and tasty beans.
September is a critical month for planting fall and winter vegetables here, as we are racing the clock against the rapidly shortening days. Carrots and cabbage provide a good illustration. Planted on Labor Day, they are ready to harvest by mid-November — 10 weeks later. But if planted on October 1st, they would not mature before late March — 20 weeks or more later. And if the winter is colder and wetter than normal, they might not ever make usable roots or heads.
We’ve been planting cabbage, carrots, broccoli, kale and other fall crops now for a month. We also just finished planting our 2018 strawberry field, which will grow through the fall before going dormant for the winter. But before it does, it will make just a few small berries — hopefully just in time for you to come pick some at our fall Farm Day.
We hope you enjoy the new items in the boxes in the coming weeks and have fun combining them with the last summer crops of the year.