Changing Seasons, Changing Produce

dewey leafThe days are bright and sunny, and the nights are getting cooler. So far so good—this is Fall, just the way we like it. These are perfect growing conditions for all of the greens we have in the ground right now, and hopefully they are helping to ripen our apples as well!

We have spent quite a bit of time this season talking about what hasn’t grown well, so today I am going to point out a few things that did grow well. But I think you may already know what they are, as you have continued to get them in your shares all summer.

  • Swiss Chard. Nothing seems to stop it. If you don’t like it, now is the time to try, as it shows no signs of slowing down.
  • Tomatillos. Since this was sort of a poor year for tomatoes, I thought these wouldn’t do well, but I was wrong. Salsa Verde was last month; time to try them in a stew.
  • Potatoes. Other than the occasional nut sedge root infiltrating the tubers (see photo below), these just keep going and going…

…which, depending on your point of view, may or may not be a good thing. It is entirely possible that you are up to your eyeballs in potatoes. But just think of all the lovely, organic spuds you could have this winter if you start storing them. I know potatoes are readily available all year, but do you know how commercial growers harvest potatoes? While the vines are still green, they apply a broad range herbicide to kill the plant down to the roots, which makes them easier to harvest. Once the plants are dead and gone, they dig up the spuds and everything around them, which all gets transported to a factory somewhere to get sorted; first by machines, then by actual humans. At some point, they make it to the store.  Sounds tasty doesn’t it?

So how do we do it? We wait for the plants to die back naturally, then Farmer Karen drives the tractor down the row, digging a trench behind her. We, or Chester County Food Bank volunteers, follow along and pick the taters up out of the soil, put them gently into harvest baskets and bring them inside to store in a cool dark spot until we give them to you.

Which brings me to, How To Store Potatoes. They should not be refrigerated! Ideally, they should be kept in the dark, with minimal humidity and cool temperatures. I keep mine in a closed paper bag in the basement. If exposed to light, they will turn green and sprout. Or rot. But properly stored, they will last for months.

Recipes

sedge tater

If you see a little brown hole in your potato, chances are, it was left by a nut sedge root, not a varmint.