The seasons are continuing to change with a cool bite to the air this morning. As the summer crops begin to fade the fresh fall greens take their place bringing new life to the fields. The dry weather has continued throughout the entire growing season bringing with it challenges as well as some benefits (not working in the rain and mud). The fungal diseases that can often reduce many crop yields during the summer months was not a major concern with the overall lack of precipitation.
The majority of our plants are started by hand in the greenhouses and then transplanted into the fields to give them a much needed head start. During this period the transplants need constant moisture to help establish the plants. This was a major struggle from early spring until last week when we finished the last transplants for the season. Fortunately we have a great staff of excellent farmers who efficiently continued to irrigate our tender crops while conserving water throughout the summer months.
The past several days have been very rewarding with high yields of winter squash, pop corn, carrots and sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes are a crop that we are just learning how to produce in high quantities. The process starts in the winter by ordering organic sweet potato “slips” from a farm in Georgia. The timing must be perfect to ship the slips from Georgia to New York. These tender shoots only can survive for a day or two and need to be planted and watered immediately upon arrival in June. This season we prepared a section of the field with hills of soil prior to the slips arrival. Keeping the rows hilled, weeded and fertilized throughout the season paid off with the best quality sweet potato harvest we have ever had. These slips are expensive but with high yields it is all worth it. Now that we have dialed in the needs of this crop we will double our order for next season and hopefully retain the same results.
We have acres of fall greens coming on strong. Lettuce, radishes, mizuna, mustard, arugula and more will soon return to bring some fresh salads to the fridge! We have an abundance of hardy brassica greens that will continue through the remainder of the year. Potatoes, carrots, beets, winter squash and many more root crops will add some bulk to the weekly harvest. Things are looking good for the fall!
I hope that everyone has enjoyed the season so far and is feeling the healthy benefits of eating our fresh organic produce. Thank you for all your support and loyalty to our Farm.
Pete for everyone at Stoneledge Farm