Lately, in between harvesting and weeding, I've been doing a lot of thinking about next year. Reading up on different ways to run the business of a CSA farm... equipment decisions, soil requirements, crop planning, infrastructure needed, finding members, etc. So much to think about!
I visited Taliaferro Farm in New Paltz for a meeting about the Cornell potato trial we did. We got the results from our experiment as well as Taliaferro's. "Prince Harry" produced the most yield by weight, because it has hairy leaves that resist leafhopper damage. Unfortunately, it is a very ugly potato, and not too marketable. But maybe if my market was processed mashed potatoes... "Keuka Gold" is also very high yielding, and also attractive and delicious. "Adirondack Blue" & "Adirondack Red" are gorgeous potatoes, but are mediocre producers, and the potatoes are smaller in size.
Here Pete Taliaferro is showing us the hoophouse where he grows all his transplant seedlings-- in the ground instead of trays!
And as the weather is turning truly autumnal, I am deeply immersed in "putting away" for the winter. It's that cool crisp air in the mornings, and the bounty that I see coming out of the fields-- I can also see how the plants are turning quickly, and we don't have too many more successions yet to go in the ground.
At the end of last week, I harrowed all the bare soil around the farm one last time to remove any remaining weeds, and Dave planted cover crops. We ordered some organic seed from Lighting Tree Farm. Rye, oats, vetch, sweet clover, white clover. Dave was frantic on the tractor the evening before Tropical Storm Hanna hit, because he knew that after weeks of drought, this moisture would be just the thing to water in the newly seeded cover crop. A steady hard rain fell overnight-- 3 inches. And just 3 days later, the seeds are germinating, their little root radicles emerging and seeking the moist soil from which they will draw their livlihoods.
I had some cabbages left in the refridgerator from the spring (!) so I made some more sauerkraut:
The fall cabbages are getting large and we should be harvesting them in a few more weeks! I can finally give the sauerkraut workshop I've been waiting to give! This batch I put in garlic and dried cayenne peppers. Yum.
And the heirloom tomatoes are exploding. (Literally-- the rain has caused a lot of rot.) But there are some beauties out there. This one is some kind of lemon plum variety: