This is truly my favorite time of the CSA season. It’s not because we only have a few weeks left or that things are starting to slow down a little. It is because I love the produce we get to harvest, I love the cooler weather, I love making warm food with the produce available this time of year, and I love planning for the winter months.
The produce this time of year is great. We get to harvest the leeks, brussels spround, winter squash, potatoes, celeriac, and all the root vegetables. I don’t know why I like harvesting them more than other crops. Maybe because I’ve been waiting so long to harvest them or maybe because I love to eat them all, either way I love it.
The best part of the produce though is all the great food to make with it. It is finally getting cooler so things like soup and using the oven seem appealing again. I love making soups. Squash soup, roasted carrot soup, vegetable soup, cauliflower soup, or my favorite potato leek soup. My wife usually gets tired of eating all the soup long before I do, but I could eat it all winter if I could. However, I could see how there are only so many times you could eat potato leek soup in one week.
It is also great to be cold again. It feels great to come in early on a harvest day bundled up with several layers with a coat and rain pants then by noon it has warmed up enough to get down to a t-shirt and pants. When I worked at Trillium and we had a crew of 10 or so the pile of clothes that would accumulate in the harvest vehicle would be enough to start a thrift shop (most items of clothing were not worth much more than thrift shop quality anyway). I will say that sometimes it does get a little too cold, but I would take it over the heat. Generally you can prepare with the proper gear for the cold, but you cannot do anything about humidity and 90 degrees.
I also enjoy going through all the storage crops we’ve brought in and rationing them out for the end of the season and into the winter. I will set aside everything we need for the end of the summer CSA then the winter CSA then what is left gets to go to the market. So with our onions and garlic, I knew that I wanted everyone to get a certain amount for the summer and winter CSAs and now what we have left we can bring to market until they run out. Unfortunately, the onions didn’t do quite as good and we are almost out of red onions already, but we do have some nice garlic to last for a while. I think I like this process because it is fun to see just how good these crops did and to be able to store them for when I need them.
I hope that you enjoy this time of the year as much as I do. Fall is a pretty season and if you don’t work with vegetables every day I’m sure there are a lot of other reasons to enjoy the season.