We started digging up our first attempt at sweet potatoes this week. The quantity produced by our small test plot was impressive and we even unearthed some rather large specimens. Unfortunately, we were not the only ones interested in the harvest. Many of the sweet potatoes had mole nibbles so we decided to harvest all of them, insuring that the damage didn't get worse. Luckily, there were enough nice ones that everyone is getting sweet potatoes this week! We have not cured them (let them dry in a well-ventilated area for about a week), so they should just be used in the next few weeks. Since we harvested all the sweet potatoes, many of the leaves are still nice and green. The leaves, sometimes called sweet potato spinach, are edible, and can be eaten fresh or raw like spinach (many of you will find these in your share too).
The first tastes of our winter squash will also appear in your baskets this week! Although it doesn't feel like it yet, fall is officially here, and we are grateful that the farming season is winding down. Although there is still plenty to do, there isn't the pressure of getting everything planted like there is in the spring and summer, and the respite that accompanies winter is palpably around the corner. For now, we are harvesting, weeding, and starting to prep the beds for the winter. We like to spread manure and a thick layer of mulch on all of our beds, so they too can rest and be ready to go in the springtime. That is no mean feat; it usually takes a couple months to finish all of the beds. Then there is planting garlic, harvesting more winter squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, choosing which greens to protect so that they will over-winter, and pulling out the dead plants and trellises from this season. Our markets continue through December, so January is really our only time of rest. After taking that little breather, we are once again able to look forward to February's planting with another year's worth of excitement! Part of what we love about farming is the rhythms. The excitement and planning of the new season in spring; the full-swing, long-day hard work and bounty of summer; and the sigh of relief and thanksgiving as fall rolls around.