For many years, we tried to have fresh green beans in your boxes for Thanksgiving. As I’ve mentioned a few times, the warm, sunny days and cool nights here in the fall are perfect for growing long, slim, and tender green beans.
Green beans don’t like the intense heat we have in the summer. But in true Goldilocks form, they also don’t like rain. It knocks the plants to the ground so that the beans themselves get muddy and/or moldy. In fact, we can’t harvest green beans at all when they are wet — even with dew, as they get moldy in the cooler in just a day or two. Even if it doesn’t rain in November, it is often super damp and the dense canopy of bean plants can stay wet all day long.
But as much as the beans don’t like to be too hot, or too wet, they like freezing temperatures even less. Frost kills the plants, “burns” them actually. They turn from green to black overnight if the temperature dips below 32. With each week that passes in November, our likelihood of frost increases: from almost zero chance on the 1st of the month to almost 100% chance by Thanksgiving week.
The chances of a late-planted green bean field here surviving to be harvested the week before Thanksgiving — no rain and no freeze — are essentially less than zero. After a few years of being schooled by Mother Nature, we now plan on harvesting our last green beans of the year sometime during the first week of November. So it is that the beans in your boxes today are the last of 2017.
Another popular vegetable in holiday kitchens that is…challenging for us to grow is celery. We have had success with the crop — which actually enjoys rainy weather — in previous years. But we have also lost entire fields of it to freezes in mid-November. We planted a small amount this year in a field we are hoping will be slightly warmer than other places we have grown it, but have already had one night dip into the 30s this week. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.