The week began with a grape theme, with a Monday visit from Myai who came over for a grape tasting with Jack and the crew. Several years ago, Jack mentored Myai in organic grape growing through a NOFA program. Monday’s visit was in keeping with a tradition in Vietnam of bringing one’s first harvest to your mentor. The crew also cooked down a substantial amount of grapes into juice and put it by for the winter, canning it by the quart. The winter squash was gathered in this week, too – around 300 pieces each of butternut and delicata squash – and the crew prepared the hoophouses for fall growing, accomplishing this task earlier than ever before.
An early frost came on Friday night. On Saturday, Julie and Lindsy picked seventeen bushels of peppers and stowed them safely in the barn walk in, Gavin and Julie replaced some protective remay that had blown off the chard, and dug under the sweet potato plants, whose leaves had shrivelled and blackened in the cold, to see how the roots had fared (they were large, plump and “out of this world” delicious – which all noted for supper that night!). Julie walked the fields and surveyed the crops, making notes of what looked fine (rutabaga, celery, spinach, cilantro, carrots, kale) and what looked less promising (tomatoes, peppers, summer squash). Saturday night was colder still, and Sunday afternoon found Julie facing down the prospect of more cold weather on Sunday and Monday nights and trying to figure out what the burst of cold weather means to the farm. “The frost came earlier than we hoped” she commented, “we’ll see what we can do to keep things going”.