The News from Windflower Farm
What’s in your share?
- Green leaf lettuce
- Sweet potatoes
- Yellow onions
- Winter squash
- French Breakfast radishes
Your fruit share will be Empire apples and Bosc pears from Yonder Farm.
We wrapped up the sweet potato harvest last week and the crop is now curing in our heated greenhouse. Starches are converted to sugars during the curing process, making it the critical step in ensuring that the roots become sweet and delicious. We’ve had a bumper crop, and we’ll be sending them to you every week for the remainder of the season. They keep well at room temperature, so you won’t need to eat them all right away. In fact, they’ll only get better with time. But it is time to find a good recipe or two: sweet potato soup, sweet potato lasagna, sweet potato and cardamom omelets, baked sweet potato fries with or without a chili powder, and so on. This week, we’ll harvest our ginger and leeks; they will be in shares during weeks 20 and 21. Butternut squashes will be in shares during weeks 21 and 22.
The garlic is getting soft, so please use it up quickly. More is coming.
What’s new on the farm?
In the spring, I purchased a bin dumper. Its function is to lift a 20-bushel bin of vegetables overhead, invert it, and send its contents falling gently into a tank of water without causing bruising or skinning. This week’s job is to set up a produce wash line that begins with the bin dumper and includes a water tank that the bin’s contents will be dumped into, a water bubbler, an outfeed conveyor that will carry the crop out of the tank, a curving gravity conveyor that will deliver the crop to a washing apparatus and the washing apparatus itself, which consists of rolling brushes and water jets and another outfeed conveyor, which sends the crop to its final location on the line, a rotating sorting table. It’s like setting up an office: the desk goes here, the file cabinet there, and the printer against the wall. Nate and I are determined to make it work because there are too many 20-bushel bins of sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, squashes, beets and carrots to unload by hand. It makes my back ache just to think about it. Besides, we enjoy a good challenge. Running electric lines near so much splashing water is my chief concern. If we manage to build it, I’ll send you a picture.
It is now Sunday evening and it’s cold outside. The sky is clear and there is a full moon. It seems fitting that coyotes are yipping in the woods across the road. We have just returned from a bonfire at the home that Victoria, our distribution coordinator, shares with her husband Jeremy and their three boys. She is an incredible cook, gardener and homesteader, and we were well fed. Much of the Windflower Farm staff was in attendance. Growlers of home brew were passed around. Mulled wine was steaming nearby. The wooden goblets that Victoria’s dad hand turned a few years back were filled and emptied and filled again. We soaked in the beauty of the fall foliage surrounding us. And as the moon rose over the horizon, in an event carefully orchestrated by our hosts, three archers with flaming arrows lifted their bows. In a scene fitting King Arthur, seven-year-old Cyrus made the key shot, hitting a stack of neatly piled wood squarely in its center, and causing the pile to erupt in flames. Jan and I jumped. Someone let out a small scream. But the ball of fire was only temporarily blinding. Jeremy had poured the better part of a can of diesel fuel over the wood, ensuring that an inferno would be produced upon ignition, making an awesome spectacle. Jan and I regained our composure. Soon a cheer broke out. Chairs were brought near, Kristoffer pulled out his guitar and started to sing, the kids climbed onto their granddad’s lap. And in this way, we said goodbye to the long hot days of summer and to the memorable 2022 growing season.
I hope you have a great week, Ted