High tunnel hopes

Dark green fall tatsoi and lighter green broccoli raab - green delicacies of early autumn.

Fennel in the fall surrounded by friendly clover.
Notes From The Field
Rain and Sunshine
By Derek McGeehan
Last week we received some much needed rain at the farm. Two systems came through, one a cold front and one the low pressure remnant of Karen, and each gave us about an inch, which was just quite perfect. Now, ample sunshine and winds, plus the fact that the ground was fairly parched, should dry out the plants and ground and keep everything healthy and happy. We're starting harvest week #22 out of 26, so, including this week, there are 5 more weeks of pick up. It's hard to believe we're at this point in the season already. Some years it really feels more like a struggle to make it this far into the season and beyond because of challenging weather, pests, and other factors that influence the crops, but this year the weather has been fairly cooperative, especially down the final stretch. Crops are really thriving and growing quickly with the above average temperatures, ample sunshine, and adequate moisture. Plus, lows haven't really been anywhere near the frost threat threshold which is very nice and saves us the time of protecting and covering plants.

Farmer Derek inside new high tunnel removing row cover from 6-day-old direct seeded late fall greens.
We're really excited about the new high tunnel by the parking lot and its influence on season extension. It did a great job of protecting our warm season crops of heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers and now we're looking forward to harvesting greens under its protection when it is really cold outside. A couple of weeks ago we moved it to its new position, after prepping and readying beds. After it was moved I direct seeded 5 beds of greens, including arugula, our mix, another greens mix, spinach, lettuce mix, and two newbies, claytonia and corn salad/mache. After irrigating, they quickly germinated and have been growing for about a week and a half now. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for them to reach maturity as temperatures drop and daylight decrease. We're thinking about trying an overwintered carrot crop for spring harvest after the greens are gone and may experiment in other ways as well. After moving it from the tomato and cucumber patch we sowed a cover crop of rye and hairy vetch to protect the soil over the winter and provide organic matter next spring. We'll let you know how this all works out!
Expected Harvest
Tatsoi, Broccoli Raab, and Fennel
By Derek McGeehan
Harvest #22 (Week B) should include tatsoi, broccoli raab, fennel, lettuce, arugula, garlic, leeks, cabbage, potatoes, beets, sweet peppers, and radishes. Some items could be a choice. U-pick should include hot peppers, parsley, cilantro, perennial herbs, and a flower bouquet.
New this week - fennel and broccoli raab
By Linda Dansbury
Fennel and broccoli raab are veggies that make their appearance in both late spring and fall. I look at them differently at the different times of year, but love them in both seasons. In late spring, I tend to grill most of the fennel we receive, but this time of year, I look for longer cooking foods, such as the Pork Chops with Fennel and Caper Sauce recipe. I also really like the Lentil Salad with Fennel and Herbs recipe. Fennel is also wonderful roasted as part of a mix of roasted veggies: try leeks, garlic and fennel along with either sweet or white potatoes. Eggplant also works along with the other veggies. Since this past week was the last of the eggplant for the year, I may do that for part of tonight's dinner. Yum!
As for broccoli raab, the classic way to cook it is to sauté it with a nice amount of garlic and red pepper flakes. I also really like it in the Fresh Fettuccine with Roasted Chicken and Broccoli Raab recipe. The chicken can be eliminated from the dish and replaced with white beans for protein.
Enjoy the nice fall weather and the delicious veggies!
How did I enjoy my harvest this week?
By Linda Dansbury
What a crazy week of weather we had! It was very warm and humid, then quite cool and damp out. So, what do you cook? Here are some of the things I cooked this past week:
Eggplant -- I cut up and roasted all of the eggplant at once, then made it into the eggplant salad recipe I provided earlier in the season. I made lamb meatballs and the 2 items side-by-side made for a delicious meal, including leftovers. See below for what also accompanied my meal.
Swiss chard -- I added it to a spinach and feta risotto to go with the meatballs and eggplant salad.
Arugula -- I guess I am boring here, but I just love arugula simply dressed with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some good olive oil. I add tomato or mushrooms if I have them.
Bok choy, garlic, hot pepper -- I ate some of it raw with the eggplant salad on it and with a bit of hummus - kind of a lettuce wrap. The rest I sautéed Asian style, adding a bit of sesame oil and soy sauce at the end.
I haven't started my sauerkraut yet - maybe today - have any of you?