• Sarah Elizabeth Smith

Changing Seasons

It finally feels like Winter here in Southeastern New Brunswick. Our hot, dry summer was followed by a warm, windy Fall and the temperatures are only now starting to drop, consistently below freezing during the day. We would have had a beautifully elongated harvest season if the summer hadn't been so hard on the deer. By early September, due to the drought and lack of wild food available, the deer swarmed our farm, uprooting carrots, eating all our cauliflower and forcing us to harvest everything as quickly as possible! We would have likely left carrots and beets in the ground for at least 6 more weeks, during which they would have done a lot more growing, but we were poised to loose a huge percentage of those storage crops if we didn't act quickly. All this to say that by the end of September, much of our Winter storage veggies were harvested, cleaned and in the coolers and we had two temperate months during which we would normally have been washing vegetables to ....clean up the farm! And do some extra projects to get ready for Winter ... like patch the roof!

Now, the pace of work on the farm has slowed; We are three weeks into our Winter Community Supported Agriculture share program and Fall is about to turn. I have some time to go through photos and catch up on paperwork and at this time of the year we always do a reflection on the past season and a forecast of what we want to focus on or improve for next season. So, I wanted to post a photo journal of our wonderful 2020 season; With all its joys, challenges, teachings and work, it was certainly a season that pushed us to be resourceful and creative. It was definitely a busy Spring & Summer: We launched a summer veggie program, sold our wares at the Dieppe Farmer's Market with our organic farm cooperative Coin Bio, and took part - with a few other organic farms from our region - in sending produce each week to the Food Depot Allimentaire in Moncton. Getting our food to families in our community and also to families in need is helping us recognize that farming is as much about our own chosen lifestyle as it is about how we choose to engage with social activism and stand up for our belief in equality.

Here are some highlights from our 18- week Summer CSA program & the routine of this past season.

Jet built some gorgeous washing tables to help us process our veggies much more quickly while conserving water. This is one of two of our sink/wash table set-ups. The new wash station saved us tons of time & precious water this year!

An early share with cool Spring crops: Broccoli & Rhubarb

Healthy Cantaloupe plants in our caterpillar tunnel

Beautiful Roma Tomatoes and sweet and hot Peppers going to the Dieppe Market

An amazing season for heat-loving crops like Eggplants

First summer Cabbages. A dependable variety called Farao

A new variety of Radish called Bacchus. They grew so quickly and were gorgeous bright purple

The first Green Bean planting coming up alongside some late June Carrots

Lettuces, Broccoli, freshly seeded Carrot beds, mowing down the cover crop and uncovering the Rutabega in mid July

August Onions starting to droop. When the tails fall over, the onions are starting to dry down at the neck and this is the signal that they can be pulled from the ground, dried and cured for storage

Storage carrots and beets grow from July until October on our farm and go into our Winter CSA shares until mid-February.

Gathering all our Winter Squash to be brought in and cured. Jet built some beautiful shelves close to our wood furnace so the squash can stay warm, dry and at a relatively low humidity over the Winter. Getting them all inside before it gets too cold or wet has been key to good, mould-free storage long into the Winter.

Kale loved helping with the squash. He mostly stayed in the middle of the patch while we worked, but here he is supervising the harvest.

Rutabega harvest day and Kale is right in there, working with his dad.

Last planting of Broccoli almost ready for harvest

Fresh Kohlrabi going into the summer baskets in early September. Our best Kohlrabi year yet!

Low tunnel hoops going over cold-hardy, late season Arugula

We mulch our leeks with straw mid way through the season so the stalks can be blanched. This season we also made deep holes with our broadfork and dropped the tiny leek seedling in, leaving the holes open so the rain and weeding could slowly build soil up around the leeks. he result was the best leeks we've ever had, with long white stalks!

Parsnips ready for harvest in late September ... the deer will dig up the Parsnip roots but won't touch the tops, so we were able to reap a harvest of sizable, sweet roots. Parsnips are usually one of the last crops to come out of the ground in the Fall and the whole farm will smell sweet as we dig and wash them. Its a wonderful sensory experience that signals the coming-to-end of another season.

Garlic up to dry, onions curing and our mid-October final summer CSA share of Broccoli, Napa Cabbage, Leeks, Potatoes, Tomatoes & Spinach

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