Finally a frost to break the sultry, tropical weather we’ve been having. We welcomed it with relief rather than the usual panic as a normal event (even if it was late in coming), a comfort in these roller coaster days of mayhem and uncertainty. And this tardy mid-October frost found us ready-not to protect our delicate summer annuals and coax a few more squash and tomatoes from the tired plants, but to let them go to their reward and embrace the bittersweet season of death and decay, not to mention of increased leisure time for exhausted farmers.
No growing season (at least none that I’ve weathered) is a complete success or a complete failure, but on balance we had a very good run this year. The early spring was cold and much wetter than it has been for the last several years, which caused some disappointed assumptions, foiled plans, and a serious case of scab on many apple varieties. Rain continued to fall even as it warmed, so constant that the word ‘irrigation’, much in circulation the previous year, rarely passed our lips. Even as the rain clouds dampened our desire to water, they hampered our ability to kill weeds-the resulting lusty stands of pigweed and galinsoga reproach us still, barely touched by the recent frost, dropping enough seed to ensure their progeny for a hundred years of frustrated farming.
Like many farmers, I’m a bit prickly when it comes to talk of the weather. When weeks of drought are broken by a shower, maybe a tenth of an inch, and people call it ‘rain’, I often stare at them in exasperation, knowing that if I stick my pinky into the soil, I’ll hit dry before I get to the first joint. On the other hand, when people congratulate me during extended periods of rainy weather, assuming that if some is good, more is better, I get equally exasperated. I assure them that rain is not an unmitigated blessing, that most of the vegetables grown in this country are grown in the Western desert, that fungi and bacteria-plant pathogens-thrive in moisture, and that, as a prudent (and lucky) farmer with good irrigation infrastructure, I can make it rain when I want to.
As factually accurate as my testy response is, the ‘truth’ is more nuanced. I can, indeed, make it rain when I want to, if I have the time and energy and if the creek don’t dry up. Furthermore, the layout of our fields, the nature of our irrigation delivery systems, and the complexity of our planting layouts can make irrigation complicated and time consuming, not to mention somewhat less than optimally effective. The truth is that, on balance, the rain was a blessing. There, I admitted it–but don’t now assume that I’m thrilled every time it rains or I’ll have to tell you about California and Arizona again.
Potato Bulk Order Sign Up
One crop that seems to have benefited from the rain is potatoes-we will be doing our usual end-of-season potato bulk order sign up, with some minor changes. We will have our usual trio of varieties available in 50 lb bags for $40, with a number of other types available in 20 lb bags for $22.
Those interested in 50 lb potato bags can select from three varieties:
‘Kennebec’, our old standby, a great all-purpose, white flesh potato with good flavor and excellent storage(sold out) ‘Keuka Gold’, a new Cornell introduction with large size, good storage potential, and similar flavor and texture to ‘Yukon Gold’;(sold out)
‘Carola’, our favorite yellow-flesh variety, smaller on average than the others, with good flavor and firm texture.(sold out)
In addition, we will be offering 20 lb bags in five varieties:
Adirondack Blue’, a dark purple potato with purple flesh and high anthocyanins(sold out) ‘Adirondack Red’, with red skin and red flesh(sold out) ‘Peter Wilcox’, with purple skin and yellow flesh,(sold out)
- ‘Chieftain’, a fluffy white flesh red
- ‘Russet’, excellent for baking and mashing
As always, we have finite quantities of all these varieties, and those who sign up earliest will be more assured of getting their preferred potatoes. In case of shortages, we encourage you to include a second choice variety (and even a third choice) when you sign up. Sign-ups can happen in one of two ways:
- e-mail-send your order to email@example.com. Please let us know how many 50 lb bags and of which variety (from those listed above), or how many 20lb bags and of which variety (from those listed above)
- in person at the farmstand on our ‘official’ sign-up sheets;
As we log orders received, we will confirm via e-mail, and when the bags are ready to be picked up (most likely the last week of October) we will contact people again. Those who wish to get bulk potatoes but are unable to pick up during the last week of October can make arrangements for pick up at a later date.
Carrot Bulk Bags
We have plenty of beautiful carrots this fall, so many in fact that we’re not bothering with sign-ups for 25 lb bags-we’re just going to have plenty of them on hand starting October 24th. They will be $28 each. Interested parties can just pick one up at the stand rather than signing up. If you are a farmers market customer we can send them in for a market pick up instead – just email us to make arrangements.
Farmstand Closing Information:
We will close for the season on Tuesday, October 31st at 6pm. As per our usual practice, we will make any additional produce available self-serve on the porch after we close for as long as the weather permits and the produce holds out. Please check our website for updates. Just a reminder that the Cambridge Central Square Farmers Market and the Somerville Union Square Farmers Market will continue until Thanksgiving. Thank you all for a wonderful season, and we hope to see you at the stand soon!
and the Hutchins Farm Team
Pumpkins on the porch
Closing Day Information and Bulk Order Sign-up 2017