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Crop and Field Notes: 11/12/12

14 November

Given our relatively mild climate many of our cool weather crops keep growing even during the colder winter months. The key to enjoy a continuous harvest in the winter is to plant early in the fall to give plants time to size up before the cold slows everything down. One of my favorite winter crops, the Romanesco cauliflower is finally ready for harvest this week. It’s taken more than 120 days since it was sown in the greenhouse. It’s worth the wait; in my opinion, Romanesco is one of the tastiest and most beautiful of all the cole crops. The head is pointy and, if you look closely (pull out a magnifying glass), you will see a pattern of geometric shapes that repeats itself down to smaller than can be seen with the naked eye. It has a perfect spiraling fractal pattern. The chartreuse color is unique and stays vibrant even after cooking to make a dish that is both tasty and beautiful.

Before the first strong storms arrive we are getting the farm winter-ready. We are now cover-cropping fields that will be fallow over the winter; other fields are prepared for final plantings of fava beans, garlic and berries. The first strawberries will be planted later this week, raspberries will go in early December, and all the drainage ditches for diverting excess water need to be put in place in and around fields and farm roads.