The final CSA harvest of the season began with ice and fire, in appropriately epic fashion. Although the forecasted low for our township claimed a brief flirtation with 32 degrees, we have had enough experience with our low spot in the river valley to prepare for the hard freeze we knew was likely.
So we spent all day Monday bringing in the hundreds of winter squash, all the peppers, the eggplants, the tomatoes. It was the end of season salvage operation, and when it was done the greenhouses were layered with pie pumpkins and squash, the trailer was packed with fresh and canned veggies, and we were staying warm in a social cluster by the rocket mass heater, which was charging up with heat that would keep things from being damaged until the morning sun finally hit.
We were prepared, and nature did not disappoint. When we woke up, the thermometer in the field was covered in crystals of ice, and proclaimed that we’d been whalloped by 24 degrees.
It was too frozen to harvest much, and since most of our crew had slept without any source of heat, we delayed harvest for a morning bonfire, gulping hot coffee and warming up bodies and spirits by the fire while waiting for the sun to ride up over the treeline and thaw out the land.
Once the sun finally did hit, things warmed up nicely – some vigorous squash-hauling certainly helped bring up our internal temps as well. As the leaves of the field lost their frosty coverings, some wilted completely, clearly destroyed, while others perked up and recovered. The flowers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, were not among the latter group – we bid them a fond farewell, until next year.
Speaking of next year, it sure will be interesting to see how it goes, as our first year as parents, figuring it out on our little off grid farmstead. There are so many unanswered questions, so many unknowns facing us, starting with this winter – our first time making a go at staying on the farm during the coldest months. It’s incredibly exciting – I don’t know much at all, but I know this is what we want to be doing. I accepted an offer on my house in Minneapolis this week – just today, I signed the final form that will lead to the closing. So it’s a real pivot point we are on – truly leaving behind our last anchor to the City, and committing fully to our new life on Que Sehra Farm.
It’s going to be an interesting ride, and we’ll be honored if you decide to remain a part of it in the years ahead. I’ve avoided expressing my gratitude to you all this year, for fear of being repetitious, but it’s been a constant in my mind – thank you all, CSA members, farm helpers, family, friends, and all the critters and quirks and crinkles of fate that have made this amazing year such a memorable, wonderful, and magical step in this adventure of our lives.
Thank you, thank you; thank you.
Stay warm, stay in touch – and we hope to see you at the party on the 22nd – or over the winter, whenever … we’ll be here.
Gabe & Kristin
The Final Box
Butternut Squash – you know this one. It will keep on the counter for up to a month without a problem, so don’t worry if you still have one from before!
Acorn Squash – these are alleged to be a top notch variety of this type of squash; tastier and better textured. We haven’t tried one yet ourselves, but they have good reviews. We like to halve them, bake in the oven, and then stuff with something delicious, maybe a sausage and rice pilaf or something like that.
Parsnips – great in soup, awesome with other roasted veggies. Noteworthy for being among the earliest planted, and the latest harvested veggies in the field … along with …
Celeriac aka Celery Root – cut off the rough outer skin, chop up the bulb and add it to a veggie roast or a soup. The tops are also good for chopping up and using to flavor soup.
Bag o’ Herbs (parsley, sage, Mexican taragon (with the yellow flowers), thyme) – great compliment for soup or roasted veggies. Use them fresh or dry them for use later (bunch small bundles and hang in a dry spot, or spread out in a paper bag)
Brussels Sprouts – frost sweetened!
Broccoli – these lost a little snappiness from the frost, but should be sweet and tasty.
an Onion & a Shallot