We are just beginning to dive into the fall harvest season.  Walking around the farm we can see roots in the ground beginning to fill out.  We have begun with the sweet potatoes, going down row by row and pulling up their vines before going through with the digger to get them out of the ground.  The digger, which runs on the back of the tractor, has a large shovel that goes down into the ground and then a conveyer belt that is open so dirt can fall through it.  The sweet potatoes go up the belt, the dirt falls away and then the potato lands on top of the soil.  Then we come through with boxes and fill them up with everything that came to the surface.  These go in a greenhouse to cure and then into their storage room for the winter.  One of my favorite things to do on the farm is to harvest root vegetables in the fall.  Kevin and I have spent many a cool fall day on our knees, armed with produce boxes and scissors, making our way row by row through beets or carrots or turnips (and others).  You grab the crop by its tops, snip it cleaning and let it drop in the box.  Ideally, you get to do this in the fall, when you are just a little cold and you can look around at the leaves changing colors and just be super happy to have a job where you can work outside like this.  Sometimes, you do this when the plants you are harvesting are still slightly frosted and you try to figure out if you can hold a beet with your down gloves and other times you do it in the brutal heat.  Either way I love the fall harvest.  It is not like harvesting in the summer when we simply go out and get what is needed that week.  In the fall you take on a whole field of carrots and get them harvested, put in storage and you look at what you have done and you see a winter full of food for the whole CSA.  Over the next month we will be hauling in harvests by the ton.  Each day or week, depending on the abundance, we take on an entire crop till the field is bare.  We are looking at a large beet and carrot harvest.  There are also a lot of turnips.  I tried out some more varieties of radishes that also store well and this week you will be seeing watermelon radishes in the share.  These are heirloom radishes related to a daikon.  They have a bright pink inside which is where they get their name from.  They are milder than other radishes and can be used in salad, cooked in stir fry or roasted.  They are also very good pickled and can be mashed with potatoes like a turnip.  There is a recipe below for just putting them in a salad with avocado and lettuce.  I hope you enjoy the beginnings of the fall harvest as much as we like harvesting it for you.

 

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