The 2015 growing season is coming to a close. So what’s happening on local farms? We asked farmer Heidi Accola of Roots & Shoots, LLC to tell us. She writes:
Winter is coming. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, that has an ominous sound to it. But if you’re a Wisconsin vegetable farmer, it’s one of the most beautiful sentences to be heard!
Fall on the farm is a mix of preparation and what I call “tucking the farm in” for the winter.
The last crops were planted only a few weeks ago, while other crops that started their life in the greenhouse in February are finally being harvested. Carrots are being dug for late summer shares and farmer’s markets, while the rest of the carrots are left in the field waiting for a couple frosts to make them even sweeter.
Sweet potato vines are being cut and the roots dug, radishes harvested, raspberries picked, winter squash stored, Brussels sprouts snapped off their stalks, popcorn and flour corn picked, beets dug, green tomatoes plucked, and the last of the basil turned into pesto before the first frost hits.
And then there’s all the “tucking in” to be done—removing drip tape, tearing down bean and tomato fencing, pulling up landscape fabric where the winter squash and melons grew, prepping beds for garlic planting in October, mulching strawberries before hard frosts come, hoop house to be built and so much more.
At Roots & Shoots, this farmer is also filling her own pantries and freezers with chopped celery and peppers, raspberries, jars of tomatoes, winter squash and carrots, and soon kale, Swiss chard and cabbage once they’ve had a few frosts.
And yet, with all the work that needs to be done, it is fall!
Sometimes a bike ride simply needs to happen, or a jog in the fall colors, a visit to a local apple orchard, one last kayak on a local river, a final CSA potluck to be planned. With the heat of summer gone, and the promise of winter soon to come, this farmer feels so much energy for both the work and play and is properly fueled for both with the end-of-summer vegetables and the glorious fall vegetables! We hope our CSA families are still loving their veggies right up until the end of share season!
Heidi Accola farms Roots & Shoots, LLC, a 43-share, 1.3-acre certified organic CSA and market farm 45 minutes northwest of Madison.