Thome Empires are an early fall treat.
Can you feel the fall in the air? What a treat to update the blog from under a down comforter for a change. And no, not going to drop the optimism yet. Even if I am quite confused by how cold dew-laden lettuce can be in an early morning field. Quite cold it seems.
The weather is bringing in more apples and winter squash. This week we brought in a bin of Empire apples, specifically Thome Empires, a chance varietal from Harold Thome’s orchard. Empire apples are crisp and spicy, and the Thome colors and ripens up to 3 weeks prior to the standard Empire, which gives it the classic flavor but more of a summer apple taste. Perfectly sized and flavored for this week’s brown bag lunches.
For more on all of the apples we offer check out our Apple Variety Guide, and to know if your favorite is available now click the link to the right for This Week’s Apples. Speaking of produce guides, a long awaited guide to our beans is up. It is still undergoing updates and edits, but most of our offerings are included.
Winter squash and pumpkins are continuing to ripen and cure, and we are bringing them in from the field as we get the chance. Many of the early varieties have been coming in for weeks, especially the Acorn, Sweet Dumpling, Spaghetti, and Delicata squashes. These are smaller squashes that ripen early. But now the some of the big guys are coming in as well. We grow several varieties of Hubbard squashes, eating pumpkins, and other squashes perfect for baking, roasting, and many other recipes.
You will begin to see the empty spaces in our fields fill with green over the next weeks. As the season comes to an early end we have already harrowed under many of our crops, especially at the home field. When we are able to we like to plant a fall cover crop in these fields. Usually we plant winter oats, which will grow quickly over the coming months to a lush lawn of green. This cover crop will hold on to much of the available nitrogen in the soil and prevent nutrients from dissipating over the wet winter months. When we are ready to prep the fields in the spring we will plow this crop under and the nutrients in the blades of the oats will be released back into the soil for next year’s veggies.
In wildlife watch the fields have been very active lately. The coyotes have been running roughshod over my radish and spinach crops at the Standish fields. They are busy digging up remnants of the early corn crop that we planted back on top of after we were finished with it. Haven’t seen them in a while but the number of prints means we keep an eye out for them. The deer have yet to find this crop of lettuce, partially due to some effective scarecrow action. If you have wondered why the lettuce has been abnormally small on the stand lately, we are actually picking it young ahead of the deer. Better some than none I guess.
With all the available feed, water, and land areas our fields provide there has been a noticeable increase of migratory bird action over the last week. Our resident Red Tails have been competing with many others for territory, and the crows have moved back in as well. One pair of Osprey has been seen circling the Standish fields. This morning a snowy white egret had joined the mating pair of great blue herons and small green herons that have been hanging out in the ponds all season. The frog population has exploded with the wet weather and these long-legged water birds are eating well.
The foundation of the new farmstand is in place, so you can get a real idea of its total footprint now. We expect the timber to be delivered this week, so the post and beam structure could be visible by next weekend. As usual, thanks for your patience and encouragement.