In many places winter is usually the off-season when it comes to farming. The weather cold and inhospitable, with too little daylight to consider growing crops. In contrast, our Farm is located in a coastal region with a temperate climate that allows us to grow certain crops year-round. Winter’s pace is slow, though, and it’s primarily a time of rest, recuperation, and rejuvanation on the Farm – the ebb to summertime’s flow.
As part of our farming practices, we plant many of our fields with cover crops over-winter to recharge them for our next main growing season. Because of this practice we grow less produce in winter, and variety in our CSA Shares is reduced slightly, yet as a reward the cold winter weather causes plants to grow slowly which concentrates and intensifies flavors, creating unique profiles that can change from week to week, and are very different from summer veggies, or out-of-season, imported ones.
Winter crops we grow consist mostly of hardy brassicas (mustard family) like cauliflower, broccoli, broccolini, Brussels sprouts, and various cabbages, and greens like kale, collards, and chard.
More delicate greens (lettuces, arugula, mizuna) and root crops like carrots, radishes, beets, turnips, daikon, celeraic, and potatoes are also typical, along with celery, fennel, and alums like leeks, “spring” onions, and green garlic. Delicata, butternut, and kabocha squash harvested and stored at the end of summer also go in winter Shares, and are a favorite for soups, stews, or simply roasting.
Too cold and wet for berries and tomatoes, winter fruit on the Farm are Bearss limes, Meyer lemons, pineapple guavas, and stored apples. These and an occasional preserve item from the Farm’s summer bounty provide a taste of fruit in our Shares during winter.
Participating in our CSA program during the winter keeps members in touch with the Farm and receiving fresh, locally grown veggies during a period when many other farms are on hiatus.
Community Supported Agriculture, whether receiving a Share or supporting our Farm at the local Farmers Markets we attend, is the best way to ensure a farm like ours continues to thrive and provide a sustainable place for natural, organic diversity.