Storage share


As the crew bags garlic in the packing shed for the final delivery of 2016, I am in the office compiling harvest data from this season so next season’s planning can begin. The planning for 2017 begins by looking closely at what we planted and harvested and delivered this season. That will be a basis for next year’s plans. Enough? Too much? Earlier? Later? Some things we have control of, other things we don’t, so we need to be in control where we can be. I will have the seed order placed by the end of the year. That means all varieties and quantities decided. Along with figuring how many seeds of each variety we need, I also lay out the greenhouse, transplanting and direct seeding plan.

There are 7 of us working through next week. Then we go down to a skeleton crew of everyone whose last name is Perkins! (Barb, David, Jesse, Eric, Jonnah) These Perkins’ keep the farm running over the winter. Jonnah is in the office managing 2017 sign ups, Jesse is busy with the seed potato business, Eric does odd (and necessary) jobs, Barb and David prepare for next season. And all of us get to go on vacation!  Thanks for all of the support you give to the farm. This farm only exists because of you! Happy winter time and see you next season.

Barb

Here are the folks that grew your vegetables. Jonnah, Jesse, David, Barb, J-Mo (Eric), and Nasta just sent off the last delivery of the year!

Here are the folks that grew your vegetables. Jonnah, Jesse, David, Barb, J-Mo (Eric), and Nasta just sent off the last delivery of the year!

Becky and Abigail washing crates in the cold, wet packing shed. Thousands of crates and containers get washed and sanitized at the end of the season. All the little details that are part of farming.

Becky and Abigail washing crates in the cold, wet packing shed. Thousands of crates and containers get washed and sanitized at the end of the season. All the little details that are part of farming.

The calendar says that it is November 10. We are sending out the first Storage Share today. The temperature will get near 60. This is exactly how it was last year at this time. It’s not quite normal, but it does helps us get our work done. When we got flooded this summer, it wasn’t quite right either, but we made the most of it. We take what we get and make the most of it. It’s a treat to work outside without freezing fingers and toes.

As we packed up the Storage Share we could see the ups and downs of the season. We had a bumper crop of winter squash, probably our very best sweet potato crop ever and a fabulous garlic crop. We are able to deliver more of these vegetables than planned. We are delivering collard greens for the first time ever in a Storage Share because the fall temperatures have been so mild. A few crops suffered from the flooding rains we got early in the season. Fewer onions and Brussels sprouts. They both had disease issues. Not bad for all the rain we got.

We thank all of you for plunging into seasonal and local eating. It’s satisfying for us to grow vegetables for you and for us to know who’s eating what we grow. We appreciate the ability to tell you details about specific crops.

Enjoy the bounty of the Farm.

Barb

An end of year celebration. A great big mix of Perkins family, employees and worker shares celebrating another good season.

An end of year celebration. A great big mix of Perkins family, employees and worker shares celebrating another good season.

And what better way to celebrate than to fry food. A fun twist on healthy eating. We did have lots of healthy non fried food too.

And what better way to celebrate than to fry food. A fun twist on healthy eating. We did have lots of healthy non fried food too.

Harvesting collards. Becky Perkins, Michelle Riel (worker share), Barb Perkins

Harvesting collards. Becky Perkins, Michelle Riel (worker share), Barb Perkins

 

With the arrival of cool weather this week, there is a new energy on the farm. The crew heads out for harvest wearing a few more layers in the morning, which is an ebullient reminder that the growing season will be winding down in a few weeks. This time of year we are not only harvesting for the Main Season CSA shares, but we are also beginning to bring storage crops in from the fields. Our CSA members will see these late season vegetables in their shares throughout October and have the opportunity to keep their local, seasonal eating experience going strong through the winter months with the Storage Share.

The Storage Share is consists of two deliveries, November 10 and December 8. Most of the produce will store well into the winter months in a cool garage, basement, or cupboard. Storage vegetables are heavy and don’t take up much room. A few items will need space in your refrigerator. We provide detailed storage instructions, cooking ideas, and recipes for your late season bounty.

When the subject of seasonal eating comes up with my non-farmer friends, I am usually asked if I buy vegetables from the grocery store in the winter, and my answer is no. But don’t you ever just want to eat a salad? they ask. Well, we do eat salads – shredded celeriac, carrots, and winter radish with a vinaigrette is a refreshing way feed fresh produce to my family all winter long. Storage vegetables are just as versatile as summer favorites, it just takes a seasonal state of mind.

Jonnah

STORAGE SHARE Potatoes, carrot, onions, winter squash, garlic, cabbage, kale, leeks, daikon radish, beets, sweet potatoes, celeriac, rutabaga, turnips, Brussels sprouts, winter radish, pie pumpkin.

See our website for Storage Share details and purchasing options

Sophal showing off the his beautiful sweet potatoes.

Sophal showing off the his beautiful sweet potatoes.

Abigail and J-Mo (Eric) harvesting pie pumkins

Abigail and J-Mo (Eric) harvesting pie pumpkins

All three Perkins kids working together to harvest carrots: Eric, Becky, and Jesse.

All three Perkins siblings working together to harvest carrots: Eric, Becky, and Jesse.

This is the last potato harvest of the year!

This is the last potato harvest of the year!

As we load the trucks and head into Madison with 10,500 pounds of vegetables and 6,480 pounds of citrus, ice and snow aren’t on our mind. Not today, when it is predicted to be about 25 degrees warmer than average and close to the record for warmest day in recorded history (55 degrees in 1911). Somehow I’m having a hard time remembering that particular day. What I do remember is a blizzard in 2009 the day before the Storage Share delivery. We all spent that entire day plowing and shoveling so we could move the trucks to the loading dock, get them loaded and drive the trucks up the driveway; no small feat. Oh yea, then we had to drive around Madison.

This week’s non–blizzardy, warm weather has allowed us to work on a different job. We replaced the plastic on our greenhouse. Traditional greenhouse plastic has a finite life, about 5 years, and then light transmission becomes compromised. David discovered a new product that should never have to be replaced and is said to have exceptional light transmission. It looks like bubble wrap and comes in sheets that get slid into channels. Quite different from traditional plastic that gets pulled over the greenhouse in one big sheet.

We’ve enjoyed this week and the crew has one more week of work before they gets a 10 week break until we start planting seeds in the newly covered greenhouse.

Barb

Happy Winter and see you next season!

A 2009 storage share delivery preparation. We are thankful for 2015 weather!

A 2009 storage share delivery preparation. We are thankful for 2015 weather!

The old plastic is coming off.

The old plastic is coming off.

All off. Now David and his crew will attach the channels and make other modifications. There is always room for improvement and innovation.

All off. Now David and his crew will attach the channels and make other modifications. There is always room for improvement and innovation.

David talks with us as we prepare to pull on the first section of new bubble plastic. Notice the wooden 2x4s. This modification has to do with a roll down ventilation system we are adding.

David talks with us as we prepare to pull on the first section of new bubble plastic. Notice the wooden 2x4s. This modification has to do with a roll down ventilation system we are adding.

Eric and J-Mo hold the roll, Barb and Becca guide it through the channel and Jesse stands on a ladder pulling it up.

Eric and J-Mo hold the roll, Barb and Becca guide it through the channel and Jesse stands on a ladder pulling it up.

ection by section it goes on. Eric and Becca guiding it up. Now David is on the ladder.

Section by section it goes on. Eric and Becca guiding it up. Now David is on the ladder.

It’s weird, it’s warm, it may not be quite right, it certainly doesn’t feel like Wisconsin, but this fall has been amazing! Mother Nature has given us the luxury of working in weather that doesn’t freeze our fingers and toes or freeze the water in the packing shed. This extended fall has enabled us to harvest vegetables without waiting for them to thaw. Every day I am in awe when the temperatures is above freezing. You see, this is not typical at all. I expect temperatures to be in the teens and twenties this time of year. We always manage to get our work done, but we have to creatively work around the temperatures.

This is a special time of year when all of the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor come to fruition. We spent a lot of time this week in the packing shed (with the side walls open!) bagging, bagging and more bagging, although each day we did out into the sunshine to harvest (Brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage). The other vegetables were harvested prior to this week, washed and held in the walk in cooler. We need to plan our time differently this time of year since we are working with a very small crew. The large crews of the summer are finished and we complete the harvest, bagging and packing of shares with six people. It’s how the season began. It feels like full circle. We have clean up tasks to complete and a December Storage Share to pack up and deliver. Then we get a nearly 8 pause before we begin planting seeds again.

Enjoy the farm’s bounty!

Barb

The crew harvesting Brussels sprouts on a warm afternoon

The crew harvesting Brussels sprouts on a warm afternoon

Becca and Eric harvesting and banding kale

Becca and Eric harvesting and banding kale

 

This is the most beautiful fall I can remember. We haven’t had a frost yet, which is quite unusual. We typically see our first frost around September 25th in our cold valley. This fall we head right into the fields at 7:30 in the morning to begin harvest; most years we have to wait for the vegetables to thaw (literally). The vegetables we are delivering speak of fall, warm soups and hearty dishes. Fall crops are patient. We harvest them when it fits our schedule. Summer crops demand daily harvests or they over ripen. Fall crops wait in and on the ground. Squashes, beets, radishes, celeriac, kale, carrots, even lettuce. We gather all of our workers together for these large harvests. During the summer we usually have several harvest crews out at once, finishing one harvest and on to the next. This time of year we use large bins to carry the vegetables. They get stacked high in a large cooler and wait for us to come clean them. David and Jesse are busy tilling the ground and planting cover crops on gardens that only a few weeks ago were bursting with food. We are thankful for the great weather and plentiful crops we had this season. The frost will eventually come, it always does; but this warm weather is certainly out of character.

Barb

Last Sunday’s Pumpkin Pick was enjoyed by many. Thanks for coming out!

Last Sunday’s Pumpkin Pick was enjoyed by many. Thanks for coming out!

A teen group from Goodman Community Center came out on Monday to gather pumpkins. They will make lots of low income kids happy!

A teen group from Goodman Community Center came out on Monday to gather pumpkins. They will make lots of low income kids happy!

Harvesting Carnival squash last Friday. We clip the stems, put them into crates, carry the crates to the bulk bin and count them into the bin.

Harvesting Carnival squash last Friday. We clip the stems, put them into crates, carry the crates to the bulk bin and count them into the bin.

Red lettuce harvest. Eric J-Mo and Becca cut the lettuce heads while everyone else removes any bad leaves and carefully puts 6 in each crate.

Red lettuce harvest. Eric J-Mo and Becca cut the lettuce heads while everyone else removes any bad leaves and carefully puts 6 in each crate.

A lush crop of kale.

A lush crop of kale.

The delivery of this first Storage Share is a bountiful celebration of nine months of work from seed to share box, and if you include ordering the seeds, it has been a year in the planning. Many of the storage share vegetable seeds get started in the greenhouse in March, when spring has barely begun. Celeriac, for example, is a slow growing plant which needs eight weeks of greenhouse growing time before it gets transplanted into the fields and then needs five months to mature in the field. We’ve learned over the years the importance of planting all of the storage share crops near each other in the field so they can be properly cared for and irrigated for seven months. Some of the storage share vegetables are delivered during our main vegetable delivery season and others are grown just for the storage share. For those crops that are delivered for both seasons, the harvest happens during the main season and a quantity of the crop is held back in one of our coolers for the storage share. For the storage share only crops, the harvest can wait until the main season deliveries end and there is more room in coolers. We also have to play the weather. Too much fall rain can make the fields sticky for an extended time; we want to make sure carrots, for example, are harvested before a heavy fall rain. We watch the size of the fall root vegetables and harvest them before they get too big. This can mean several harvests to pull out the vegetable when it is at the desired size. We plan for a certain number of Storage Shares each year and hold back vegetables accordingly. If the number of Storage Shares sold is less than the plan, which it is this year, we have more of certain crops to divvy out. Hopefully this is seen as a bonus and not a burden. We know that many of the storage share crops need precious refrigerator space. Thanks for plunging in and committing to a Storage Share. This is truly Wisconsin seasonal eating. When the ground freezes and the sun lies low in the sky, you will have roots to cook and bake with for many months.

Barb

Onion plants growing in the greenhouse. Onion seeds are sown in the greenhouse very early March, planted outside in April, harvested in late July and delivered all the way through December.

Onion plants growing in the greenhouse. Onion seeds are sown in the greenhouse very early March, planted outside in April, harvested in late July and delivered all the way through December.

Elisabeth and Tonny harvesting brussels sprouts last week; getting them harvested before the temperatures plunged and the plants froze.  This is our fall garden which also includes cabbage, kale, collards, daikon and ruby heart radishes and celeriac.

Elisabeth and Tonny harvesting brussels sprouts last week; getting them harvested before the temperatures plunged and the plants froze. This is our fall garden which also includes cabbage, kale, collards, daikon and ruby heart radishes and celeriac.

Leek harvest during one of the last warm fall days. The harvested leeks were stored the cooler and then washed just days before they get delivered.

Leek harvest during one of the last warm fall days. The harvested leeks were stored the cooler and then washed just days before they get delivered.

Washing and counting butternut squash. The squash stores better dirty so we wash it shortly before we deliver it.

Washing and counting butternut squash. The squash stores better dirty so we wash it shortly before we deliver it.

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