A little sad, but mostly really exciting! We will not be attending the Whistler Market this year, in a move to branch out in new directions and try new things. Our regular, local and loyal customers may rest assured, because we have created more exciting ways to access our produce, leaving farmer’s markets crowds behind. Have a look at our CSA/Online store. We are still offering our weekly CSA Harvest Box, but this year we are taking it to the next level. What’s different?
Flexibility and Options.
Want to choose your own weekly box contents? No problem. Want us to choose your box contents. We can do that too. Want to add organic berries, stone fruit and apples to your box? We can do that. Want to go on holidays and put a week on hold? Done. Want to add extra items to your box and do it all on our convenient online store? Also taken care of.
Fall has arrived at the farm! The changing of the seasons has many different impacts on the farm and on us, the farmers.
Last week, we had our first surface frost. The frost had a noticeable impact on many leafy plants. The bean and zucchini plants now look rather dead, with blackened and rotting leaves. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the plants are completely finished – we still harvested a good amount of zucchini and beans this week – but they are on their last legs, and any fruit that was exposed during the frost was damaged. The basil in the greenhouse also suffered, with any leaves that were touching the sides or poking outside freezing and blackening. With the salad greens, the frost did not kill them, but we had to be careful to wait until the leaves thawed before harvesting, to allow them to recover.
Frost can also have a beneficial impact on some crops. Carrots and parsnips, for example, get sweeter after a frost. And the frost that kills back some of the greenery on the winter squash plants allows us o harvest much more easily.
Other Seasonal Changes
As the weather turns, we now start our days a bit later in the morning, keeping up with the later sunrise and colder mornings. We have started covering some of our fragile crops, like salad greens, with floating row cover to insulate them somewhat from the cold and potential frost. We close the greenhouses (usually kept open for air flow during the day) as soon as the sun moves behind the mountain, to trap the heat. Harvesting has shifted from the summer vegetables, and into the fall crops like squash.
As we prepare the farm for winter, one important thing to do is to cover the soil in the beds that are finished for the season. This is important for several reasons: to hold the soil in place and discourage runoff from rains and snow melt; to outcompete the spring weeds by already having growing plants; and to have a good crop of greenery to plow into the soil in the spring, adding organic matter. All of these are important for long-term soil health, as well as short term benefits for annual crops. Here at Rootdown, we are covering our fields in fall rye, a quick growing grass that can cover the soil and prevent weeds from establishing. As we finish different beds in the field, the rye is being planted, with the idea that the grass will start to grow and get established before the winter freeze.
This week’s CSA box had a bag of Tongue of Fire shelling beans, a newly ready crop here on the farm. Perhaps unfamiliar to some, the pink and white beans can be shelled and cooked in a variety of tasty ways.
To prepare the beans, pop them out of the shell and boil for 20-30 minutes. The beans can then be put into soups, stir fries and salads.
Shelling beans can be frozen once they have been cooked. The beans can also be dried by spreading out the beans, still in the shells, in a warm, dry place, until the shells dry and become brittle, which may take about a week. Beans can then be kept in an airtight container for several months if properly dried.
What to make?
This week at the farm, we had the below recipe with shelling beans with our Wednesday volunteers:
Black Kale and Shelling Bean Salad
- 2 bunches black (Lacinato) kale, chopped
- 1 cup shelled beans, cooked for 20-30 min until tender
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 TB Apple cider vinegar
- 1 TB Olive oil
- 1 TB Honey or maple syrup
Massage the kale in the lemon juice and vinegar, and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Add the beans. Then, mix the sweetener in with the olive oil, and drizzle over the kale and beans.
This week at Rootdown, we say goodbye to Hannah, who has been here for the summer working on the farm. If you’ve visited us regularly at the Whistler Farmers Market, you’ve most likely met Hannah, with her big smile and endless energy!
Hannah joined us at the beginning of July from Ontario, and has spent her summer holiday weeding, harvesting and processing all of Rootdown’s bounty. Her strength has been highly valued by us all (heavy tote to lift? Call Hannah!), her tireless positive attitude keeps the rest of us smiling, and she has a knack for loving certain tasks that some of us prefer to avoid (squash blossom harvest anyone?).
- Favourite farm task: clamming salad (putting salad in plastic clams sold at grocery store)
- Crops she will be happy to leave behind: beans and zucchini
- Stories she’ll take home to tell: opening the bee hives, seeing the bee colony, honey, and queen
- Off-farm adventures: encounters with bears on her morning bike ride; local hikes to Joffrey Lakes and the Chief; camping and canoeing; exploring Whistler
- Best part of the day: gelato time when work is done
- Critters best avoided: mice
- Favourite place on the farm: hanging out in the greenhouse
From all of us at Rootdown, thanks for your help this summer, Hannah! We’ll miss your smiling face, and we hope we’ll see you again next summer!