Winter CSA Week 2: Amidst A Deep Freeze
Expected Harvest
Arctic Tolerant Greens and Healthy Roots
By Derek McGeehan
Winter CSA Harvest #2 (Week B) should include spinach, arugula, greens mix, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, cabbage, and a root choice of beets, hakurei turnips, daikon radishes, and kohlrabi.
Notes From The Field
Baby It's Cold Outside
By Derek McGeehan
Chiseling away frozen and expanded soil to get into the Hoop Tunnel.
About 12 degrees and cloudy at 4pm Sunday...
Due to the extreme cold we're experiencing we'll try our best to distribute what's on the Expected Harvest list but we might have to make some last minute adjustments. Because spinach is known to be exceptionally cold hardy we postponed picking it last week in favor of cutting slightly less tolerant arugula and greens mix in case the extreme cold damaged them. As of now all the fresh greens look to have survived 7 consecutive days and nights below freezing. Before the worst of it began last Wednesday night, we added our thickest floating row cover (i.e. blanket) over top of the interior hoops and row cover that was already in place. This system should trap enough daytime solar radiation and soil/earth warmth to keep the greens between 25-35 degrees at night. Because the length and severity of this cold spell is unprecedented during our tenure at Anchor Run Farm, we're not 100% certain of the outcome after these two weeks. However, midway through the event, protected crops continue their healthy lives unscathed.
Also, the water line from our irrigation well to the barn and washroom freezes when single digits freeze the ground so now we'll have to run hoses from our basement to the washroom. Last week we were unable to prepare this in time for pick up which resulted in dirty beets. This week we'll have that system up and running so we can clean the roots. However, we don't wash sweet potatoes because this damages them and then they deteriorate quickly afterwards.
Additionally, we're doing our best to keep the pick up room temperature pleasantly above freezing. Now that we're fully embracing a January-February Winter CSA we need to think about the most appropriate longterm solution for heating an uninsulated, lofty, drafty barn. We've been so focused on how to grow fresh crops through the winter months that we overlooked the cold/heat situation in the barn. Our sincere apologies! However, with our current set up, you can expect to enjoy a 35 degree sauna in the pick up room when it's 10-15 degrees outside, thanks to tarps, greenhouse plastic, floating row cover, and space heaters.
As of now, Monday, January 8 is predicted to crest the freezing mark, so get your bathing suits and shorts ready!
Hello in there!
How I Enjoyed My Harvest
Warming Foods
By Linda Dansbury
The spinach was nestled all snug in its raised bed...
Nothing like pots of soups and stews to warm up during these extra cold temperatures. As Dana has been writing, cutting up a mixture of root veggies and putting in a large pot along with meat of your choice and just letting it cook for hours makes for a home that smells amazing and yields a delicious and healthy soup that depending on the size of your household can last for days. The beauty is you don't need a recipe - just add what you have on hand. Here are a couple of additional dishes we enjoyed recently.
Fennel, garlic, onions, potatoes, tomatoes (from freezer), cod, shrimp (fish from Wild for Salmon) - made a traditional fish soup for Christmas Eve. I always combine a few different recipes and make my own version. I actually made the soup a couple of weeks ahead and separated the broth prior to adding the fish. Froze half without fish and then heated and added fresh fish for the second time around.
Onion, garlic, kale - I am always looking for new ways to use kale. For those who read this article regularly, you know I am a big fan of the Kale Rice Bowl that uses pastured ground pork. The only problem with this is that it requires a lot of basil and cilantro - it is not the same without them. When trying to eat locally as much as possible, I don't want to use large quantities of something not available right now - and truthfully, the store purchased basil and cilantro are not as delicious as what is grown on the farm and/or at home. I found a warming kale stew/soup in the newspaper called Udon with Shitakes and Kale in Miso Broth - it is warming, delicious and healthy - and I was even able to get some local shitakes! Enjoy.
It is said that pork should be eaten on New Year's Day to bring good luck and a prosperous year - actually Pennsylvania Dutch eat pork and sauerkraut! We are planning to do something a little different and make pork Osso Bucco. Fennel goes so well with pork and slowly cooked it should melt into deliciousness so we will use it along with onions, carrots, etc from farm and next week I will let you know how it was.
...while visions of purple mizuna danced in our heads.