Publisher's Note Fall 2012


Written on

October 01 , 2012

On a hot day in July we wrote a check for our winter CSA share. In a flash, images of squash and leeks and Brussels sprouts and carrots filled our heads. As thoughts turned to cozy fires and savory, hearty dishes, the temperature outside moved ever upward. It was an odd juxtaposition, but we were happy to know that our winter CSA would take the pressure off our summer gardening endeavors.

And there was pressure. This past May, a fierce hailstorm not only pummeled our car but also took out the early plantings in the garden—everything was flat, covered with golf-ball-sized ice cubes. We were able to replant some crops but others would have to wait until next year. And then in June, as we stood admiring our garden recovery efforts, we were horrified to see a pile of leaf matter where the broccoli once was. What exactly is the unidentified critter living under our shed? A woodchuck?

We’re grateful for our backup plan: a second year with our winter CSA. We’re confident that, barring another tragedy like Tropical Storm Irene, which we remember so clearly at this one-year mark, the folks at Harlow Farm will be able to provide us with some of the yummy winter vegetables we just couldn’t grow ourselves (and more—our CSA offers meats, eggs, and preserved foods, too). We also know they will delight us with fresh spring greens and spinach much earlier than we can produce in our garden cold frames.

We pick up our winter bi-weekly share at the farm. Every other Saturday morning we drive the short distance and are greeted by friends and other shareholders as we receive our order and discuss everything from the weather (of course), to politics, to the various ways to prepare our winter goodies. It’s always a bonus when our farmer is not out in the fields that day and has the time to chat and catch up. Again and again, food creates community!

Here you’ll find a listing of Winter CSAs, courtesy of NOFA-VT. Check them out, and maybe join one—it’s sort of like crop insurance, only better.

Our garden has produced lovely greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, onions, and zucchini. We harvested several pounds of potatoes and winter squash, as well. Thanks to some old and new technologies, we’ll be able to enjoy the garden’s yield well into next year. And in this issue we share with you an article that covers different ways to store a variety of summer and fall crops. Nothing complicated here, no pressure cookers or correctly sealed jars, just simple techniques for putting food by.

So with the help of our farmer and some uncomplicated practices for storing our own crops, we look forward to the (hopefully) snowy days of winter. Oh, and lest you think we’re jumping ahead a season—we wish you a great fall and a fine harvest!

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Our stories, interviews, and essays reveal how Vermont residents are building their local food systems, how farmers are faring in a time of great opportunity and challenge, and how Vermont’s agricultural landscape ties into larger questions of sustainability and the future of our food supply.