The temperatures are starting to drop a little bit, but the rain is still going strong. I haven’t experienced terribly many Essex falls yet, but to my mind a year with tomatoes in the first week of October was an exceptional thing, an extra little gift of summer for my birthday. As we’re beginning the last week of October now, with still no frost in the forecast and vines full of slowly ripening tomatoes, it seems beyond odd. We have held off many of the big harvests since most of the storage crops benefit from a few cold nights, it’s what makes them sweet. We haven’t put garlic seed in the ground yet, I’m worried it will sprout and break the surface of the warm, moist soil making it susceptible to the surely cold winter days ahead. And we’re still pulling weeds, a chore usually gladly abandoned back in September. None of this crazy weather has helped anything. The greens–lettuces and 700 row feet of spinach, have been sitting in the field. Not really growing, just turning yellow in all of the water. And the tomatoes don’t taste like August anymore, the day length is too short to convert all of the sugars. A favorite guest who stays a little too long.
***One thing that is good in this rainy weather is apple cider. It’s great cold when you come in from a warm day, and great warm when you come in on a damp night. We are really fortunate to have Andy and Jori bring back the cider press, and Ted and Susan for loaning it. As well as a load of apples they picked last weekend. We’ll have the press running during pick-up. Please bring a jar(s) with you to pick-up TONIGHT if you would like to take some cider to enjoy at home this week. With two cows being milked we don’t have any extra jars to loan out, so make certain to bring them with you.
***We had a special milk jar in the fridge with the name Donna across the top the week before last. It is an old 1/2 gallon jar, no longer made, with a narrow mouth, perfect for pouring out of. If you have it at your house, please bring it back. Donna is missing it, and probably spilling milk on her counters. James and I looked for these jars, which would be a huge upgrade from wide-mouths, but they are not to be found except in the antique markets. In the dairy world, James has been busy churning butter, and we’ve amassed a freezer full of it. We’re doling it out one jar per household this week. Be careful though, it may suck you in.
In the veggie share: apple cider, broccoli, leeks, kale, chard, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, carrots, beets, cabbage, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, onions, garlic, kraut, and white beans. Pumpkins: we have lots of extras, please take some home tonight to decorate your stoop.
In the meat share: Sausage: Bourbon Fennel and Sweet Italian. We made our first sausage links last week with sounds of giddy laughter coming from James and cousin Jeff. I must admit they are a beautiful sight all wound up in a giant curl. We have ground sausage for making patties as well. Bacon is still curing and will be smoked next week. All other cuts of pork are in the freezer. Chickens, beef, organ meats, lard and beef broth in the freezers as well. Now that we are back in the wonderful world of pork I’m going to break out the Whole Hog cards again. And promise to do a better job keeping up with it. There really are t-shirts at the end for those who complete the challenge. For those of you who enjoyed some pate last week you can check that box off today!
See you all tonight between 4 and 6,
Full and By Farm