We are now in the throes of harvest season! Most of the onions were pulled from the fields several weeks ago but the last white onions just came out this week. And we started both the winter squash and potato harvests last week and will continue this week until done. When we add these harvests to the regular CSA harvests and the PLENTIFUL tomatoes, we are spending a lot of time removing a lot of vegetables from the fields. It is one of my favourite times if the year as I love to see an entirety of a harvest sitting in front of me. It reminds me why we do what we do.
As I've mentioned before, we have had the best onion harvest ever this year. Let's look at the harvest numbers. In 2015, we harvested 105 kilograms (230 lbs) of storage onions which were grown on 5 beds that are 100' long. This doesn't include the green onions we harvested (approximately 250 bunches) or the fresh white onions (approximately 30kg). This year, we harvested 700kg (1500lbs) of storage onions which were grown on 8 beds that are 100' long. In addition, we harvested 500+ bunches of green onions and about 120kg of red and white onions that were given out fresh. As you can see from those numbers, we have had a major increase in onion production this year! Needless to say, you will be seeing plentiful onions in your CSA shares going forward.
Our winter squash harvest is also looking very promising. So far, we have harvested the acorn and spaghetti squash as well as our pie pumpkins. With these alone, we have 50% more than needed to fill our CSA shares at the quantity that I had planned (1 for small and 2 for large for the last 5 weeks). We still have to harvest the butternut, red kuri, and delicata squash so I think you can expect plentiful squash as well! I will probably start including squash a week earlier than planned and increase quantities, especially as we draw near the end of the season.
Some of you may be concerned you won't be able to eat all the onions and squash in a timely manner, but don't worry! When you receive these crops they will have been cured for storage so will easily last 3 - 6 months if stored properly. Like a squirrel, you can create a nice little stock pile for the winter! Onions like to be stored at 5 - 10 degrees but will store for several months at higher temps. A closet, mudroom, or cool basement are ideal locations to tuck these away. Squash like to be stored at 18 - 20 degrees so a shelf in a pantry or closet works perfectly.
We have also just barely started our potato harvest. It's too soon to know for sure, but it looks like it will be a small harvest this year. In talking with other area farmers, this seems to be the reality of the 2016 potato harvest in our area. Potatoes love lots of moisture and warm, but not hot, weather. So it's no surprise that the harvest is lower. We will have potatoes in shares from this week forward but they will probably be in lower quantities than normal. You will also notice that your potatoes are no longer washed - once we harvest them for storage we do not wash as this decreases storage life.
The tomatoes are still plentiful and the peppers are finely deciding to ripen in any quantity. You will be enjoying these summer fruits for a few more weeks in the shares as well.
Join us this weekend at two special events! On Saturday, we will have a booth at the International Plowing Match in Harriston. And on Sunday, we will be selling our wares at the Harvest Home Festival at the Wellington County Museum and Archives in Fergus. Both events have lots of activities and sights for young and old alike!
In an effort to use up our tomatoes, I have spent this past weekend canning salsa, freezing chopped tomatoes, and dehydrating cherry tomatoes. The dried cherry tomatoes are perfect additions to a winter salad. If you are unsure how to use all the tomatoes in your share, Martha Stewart comes to the rescue! You can find a great variety of tomato recipes here.