Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The final CSA Week

It's hard to believe the 2010 CSA season is coming to a close this week. At the Charlottetown pick-up tonight lots of people asked if I was happy to be done. I have to say I have mixed feelings, it's always nice to complete something so on one hand I am happy to be done but I"m really going to miss my Tuesday and Thursday "social hours". It's been a great summer and fall seeing everyone each week. Sometimes its a quick hello and off they go with their veggies and sometimes its an in-depth conversation about how to control crows, new and interesting recipes they tried that week, updates on what their kids were up to, etc. etc. etc. This was our third CSA season and my favourite so far. I'm not sure if its because I'm more confident in my product or because the members seemed more "into" it this year. I have had a great season and am really looking forward to next year.

The response from the surveys has been great, I'm seeing that cabbage needs to be grown less, broccoli and cauliflower more, more garlic, more potatoes. We have gotten over 50% of the surveys back which is by far the highest return rate yet. Thank you everyone for taking the time to fill them out.

This weeks large box had lettuce mix, carrots (Hughes Hill Farm), parsnips, beets, rutabaga, stir fry mix (baby spinach, baby swiss chard, baby tatsoi), yellow & red onion, shallot, baby bok choy and a leek. The grab box was filled with goodies including winter squash, kale, swiss chard, green peppers, parsley, daikon radish and more of the above mentioned veggies. Someone commented today at the pick-up that they were surprised there were still greens in the baskets at this time of the year. Greens are surprisingly hardy and do quite well this time of year. Many greens are sensitive to the heat and will turn bitter or bolt making them inedible. If I had been on the ball when I planted some of my greens and covered them with some floating row cover I could have had much bigger lettuce mix plants and would have been able to give out bigger bags. That is one thing I am hoping to improve on for next year, better season extension to have better greens such as spinach, lettuce mix and Asian greens longer in the season. With a bit of protection we could easily eat fresh salad at Christmas!!!

One little experiment that worked really well for me this year was pepper plants potted and left in my greenhouse shed for the summer. I had three different sized pots; small, medium and large. I kept them watered but not overly looked after. The small and medium potted plants are quite small but they each produced 2-3 peppers which are now a brilliant shade of red. The large pots each produced 5-6 peppers and they are also now red. We have been enjoying the nice red sweet treat and I will miss them when they are all picked. Next season when all of the rest of the seedlings get transplanted to the garden I am going to fill up the back of my greenhouse shed with potted pepper plants and then at the end of the season when all of the field peppers are long gone and the plants are frost burnt I'll be able to put nice fresh red peppers in the CSA baskets. Definitely something to look forward to. *** Did you know that a red pepper is just a green pepper that has fully ripened ***

Daikon Radish - nice and spicy

The final Tuesday harvest - all washed and ready to pack into the CSA bins

Kale and Swiss chard soaking

Baby bok choy

I'll continue to blog during the winter but it might not be at my regular weekly Tuesday evening but check back often to keep updated on our farm adventures. We're hoping to have a work party this weekend to work on the barn so hopefully some updated pictures will soon be posted.

I've said it before and I'll say it again that we have the NICEST CSA members ever. This season I have been treated with fresh zucchini bread, fresh biscuits, jams, dried herbs, homemade cookies, countless new recipes and tonight a very special treat indeed. A super cute basket filled with preserves including strawberry and raspberry jam, dill pickles, ultra cute farm fridge magnets and a loaf of yummy bread. Now you tell me I don't have the nicest CSA members ever!! Thanks to everyone for a great CSA season.

End of season gift, thanks Terry!!!!

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