When most people think of farming, they think of spring and summer with huge juicy tomatoes and crisp cucumbers. I like that, but my favorite time is the winter. Winter is when the lettuce is sweet and crisp, the kale loses its bitter bite, the broccoli heads up, and the beets and turnips make their balls. I love these veggies, and grieve for them in the summer when they are gone.
This is why we have a Winter CSA. I know there are people in our veggie community who especially look forward to that beautiful lettuce, the profusion of greens, and no local fruit to be found at all, except some apples from the mountains. This winter, we have planted so many pretty little things that my brain can hardly remember, but here is an incomplete list:
- Three types of kale
- Two types of chard
- Three types of beets
- Three types of turnips
- Four types of lettuce
- Herbs such as parsley, dill, fennel, cilantro and chervil
- Four colors of carrots
- Two types of arugula
- Three types of mustards
- Pac Choy and Tatsoi
- Garlic and onions
- Two types of sorrel
You can’t beat the diversity and nutrition of winter vegetables. I also love the way farming is a pleasure in the Carolinas in the fall and winter. Most of the time I am out there in jeans and a sweatshirt, and happy not to be sweating to death like in the summer. There is another great blessing of winter: the weeds stop growing (or at least slow down a lot). This is such a nice break after chasing weeds all summer. Weeds are the bane of herbicide free farming. We have high school kids who chase them all summer! They also rejoice in the winter.
The bugs go away as well in the winter, for the most part. It isn’t unusual to be dismayed every week of summer by the stink bugs, squash bugs, harlequin bugs, cucumber beetles, and all kinds of caterpillars. There may be a few insects around in the winter, but they don’t cause much trouble. It is easier to grow pretty produce in the winter than in the summer, if you farm without chemicals like we do.
Lastly, we don’t worry so much about the weather in the winter. The summer is a constant prayer for it to either rain, or stop raining. Normally, the winter is full of beautiful sunny days with just enough rain to make it all grow wonderfully. Gone are the 100 degree days and no rain predicted for weeks. We are just now getting our well and irrigation in place, so not worrying about rain and weather has been important. Maybe next summer that won’t be such a stress.
Do you want to be a part of veggies in the winter? Sign up for our CSA! Here is the link. http://bellsbestberries.csasignup.com/members/types
Joining our winter CSA is a great way to put your toe in the CSA waters, because it only lasts two short months, with six deliveries. It is a great way to see how you like it, without the commitment of the whole spring, summer and fall. We would love for you to join us. Be a part of the local food community.
Eat your veggies,