We are feeling thankful that the weather has been so nice since the cold weekend we had a couple of weeks ago. It's been really pleasant getting the last few beds prepped and planting out our overwintering onions and a few beds of hoophouse greens. I just saw today that the spinach and baby kale have germinated in one of the hoophouses. Those hearty greens are reliable winter producers in our climate, so we always like to have a few beds of them going. Lettuces are less reliable, but we have had some decent success with them too. Even though I do need a bit of a break from production this winter, it would be tough not to have anything going. Plus Mallory will be working a couple of days a week with me through the winter to help with harvest and packing. Greens planted in the fall will reach first harvest size around the end of January or beginning of February depending on how warm it is in December. You might be surprised to know that these greens do continue to grow when the light levels are really low (from mid-Nov to the end of January) as long as temperatures are above 40 degrees. In the hoophouses, temps are often higher than 40 if the sun is out.
We'll be planting out next year's garlic at the end of this week. I like to get mine in the first week of November, but you can plant it a couple of weeks earlier or later if needed. To grow garlic, you simply break apart the cloves from a head and plant each one. Each clove will grow into it's own head next year. We typically do a mix of our own garlic and some purchased garlic from a really good grower in case ours doesn't do well in storage. I was pretty happy with our harvest this year and we'll see how well they've stored when we start breaking apart the heads tomorrow.
You have a couple of items in your shares this week that people often find difficult to use. Fennel is one of these veggies. This bulb vegetable has a sweet, anise flavor and crunchy texture that adds some awesome aromatics to many dishes. We like it paired with sausage if you are a meat eater. It's also great roasted with other root veggies. This sweet potato and fennel gratin sounds super comforting and delicious:
The other tough item for many people is the scarlet turnips. These are a heartier turnip than the salad turnip variety we had in the last few shares. They are great in stews with carrots and other hearty root vegetables. I also like the idea of the very simple preparation in the recipe below, which lets the turnip flavor and texture shine through:
Well, it's already been a bit of a long week, so I think I'll leave it there for tonight. Hope you all are having a good week!