The News from Windflower Farm
What’s in your share?
- Delicata squash
- French breakfast radishes
- Green leaf lettuce
- Sweet Peppers
- Yellow potatoes
- Assorted tomatoes
- German White or German Red garlic
- Sweet corn (more from Hand Melon Farm)
Your fruit share will be peaches – probably the last of the season – from Yonder Farm. Apples and pears will be coming soon.
What’s new on the farm?
Here’s a glimpse of packing day on the farm. Victoria is directing the activities of the crew today, just as she has done every Monday and Wednesday for seventeen years. She started working for us when she was 20 and newly married. She responded to an advertisement we placed in the local paper. She would have applied sooner, she told us, but in the first edition of our ad we failed to include our contact information. She’s been helping us to stay on the straight and narrow ever since.
Candelaria and Daniel, a mother and son team, are bagging tomatoes for the Tuesday delivery, which is likely to take the entire morning. Three large tomatoes and a pint of small ones in a paper bag. They cannot agree on how many weeks of tomatoes we might have left – two or three? Daniel is an optimist; Candelaria, who has more experience, says two. They can agree that it’s been one of our better tomato seasons in a long time and that several of our new varieties are worth keeping.
Hiliberto and Martin are operating the produce washer – our car wash for vegetables. On their docket this morning are heads of lettuce, bunches of arugula and radishes and quarts of potatoes – some 425 units of each today. Martin’s grandfather was one of our very first employees. Although abuelo Ezequiel retired several years ago, he still actively farms his own place in Guanajuato, Mexico. He is a very sweet man, but he’s famous for becoming grouchy when there was too much talking in the field at the expense of getting the job done. “No mas platica!” he would bark.
Kristoffer and Kordehlia, both of whom are from just down the road (they are not related), are working in the cooler. They are doing the bulk of the packing today and wearing clothing suitable for late November temperatures. They’ll count the heads of lettuce or bunches of arugula or pieces of fruit into boxes or tubs and paste Victoria’s site labels on each. If counts are off… “demasiada platica!” But they are quite bright, and I’m sure that counts will be fine.
Jan and Nate, my wife and son, are working on the Delicata squash. They are doing their best to keep it in good condition. It’s axiomatic that if it’s a vegetable much in demand, it is difficult to grow or store. Think red peppers, cauliflower, Brussel’s sprouts and Delicata squash. If it’s easy – kohlrabi, braising greens, potatoes, turnips – demand is lukewarm. Jan and Nate have hand washed every Delicata, and they can confidently report that they must be sent now. Delicatas just don’t keep, which means we’ll send all of it in the next couple of weeks.
Little of my work takes place in the packing shed – I’m a field guy – but today I fetched the corn from John Hand (by popular demand!) and prepared a wholesale order for shallots. The ‘Ed’s Red’ shallots that I’ve come to like are the only crop we wholesale. If you’ve seen the retail price of shallots, you’ll understand why. Neighboring farmers Brian and Justine Denison, who will provide carrots for your shares next week, have agreed to market our shallots to their wholesale customers. We farmers are always looking for that crop – like ‘Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter’ tomato – that will pay off the farm. Salvador and his sisters-in-law, Angelica and Elisa, are processing the shallots for you. It’s tedious business, so don’t look for them in your CSA share until next week.
Andrea is working on the garlic share. There are the standard four categories – small, medium, large and compost – plus a fifth – seed. We’ll set aside a portion of the crop to plant in mid-October for harvest next year. The larger bulbs and most of the split cloves will be used for planting purposes. We grow two varieties: the ‘German White’ generally has six cloves around one or two small interior bulbs; the ‘German Red’ has perhaps eight or nine smaller cloves and is the spicier of the two.
And that is how we’ve spent our day.
Have a great week, Ted