A frost was predicted for last Wednesday night.  Whenever frost is predicted for low lying areas in western Dane County we know they are talking about Vermont Valley.  What’s a farmer to do when frost is predicted?  Frost rescue!!  Although Wednesday is our busiest day of the week getting everything ready for the Thursday delivery, we had no choice but to plan for the frost.  A crew of eight people spent 2 hours harvesting several thousand peppers.  They harvested each and every pepper that was showing the slightest hint of red.  That slight color indicates that the pepper is beginning to turn red and will continue to do so in refrigerated storage.  Every ripe tomato had been harvested Wednesday morning.  David and Jesse put hoops and row cover over the salad mix.  They harvested green beans which won’t make it through a frost.  I checked the forecast frequently during the day, hoping the prediction would change.  It did, in the wrong direction.  We did all we could and headed into the house sometime after 7:00 pm.  We woke up Thursday morning to see frost covering everything.  It was beautiful, and sad.  I took a walk through the fields Thursday after packing all of the share boxes.  The frost had blackened and wilted the leaves on the peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, beans, squash, and pumpkins and had totally killed the basil.  Whew, thank goodness the Pesto Fest was the Saturday before the frost adn not planned for three days later.  There are some green leaves lingering on the lower parts of the tomato plants, pepper plants and eggplant.  We will know this week for sure whether some of the fruit on those plants will make it.  This farm has not had such an early frost in 17 years, why this year when we have such an amazing crop of tomatoes and peppers hanging heavy on the plants?  Frost comes every year, it is only a matter of when.  It is now time to shift from summer crops to fall crops.  The fall crops love this weather.  Frost makes most of them sweeter.  As delicate as lettuce looks, it sails through anything above 25 degrees.  The heartier greens (kale, collards, broccoli, cabbage) will easily take it even colder.  Root crops are nestled cozily in the ground.  Here comes fall!

Pesto Fest - Harvesting nice green basil.

The frost blackened the basil. Basil is a 32 degree indicator; at exactly 32 degrees basil dies.

Roma tomatoes after the frost.

Peppers harvested the day before the frost, to be delivered next week.

Fall crops. Red lettuce heads, bok choy, kale, collards being harvested.

Barb