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A lot of the “summer” crops slow down for the fall, but will keep producing until a freeze (or a frost hits in just the right way). The raspberries and blackberries are still producing; the blackberries especially have been oh so lovely to see though, in my opinion.
The cooler-season crops are coming along nicely too. Leafy green galore – kale, collards, chard, mustards, arugula, lettuce, and more. One of the tunnels (that I showed last week with the new compost) is just about cleaned out. There’s a half row of tomatoes, several volunteer chard plants, and brand new rows of scallions.
Scallions are often a fill-in crop for us. Planted 3/4 row of kale? Plant 1/4 row of scallions then. Almost room between lettuce and the edge of the house? Scallions should go there. One high tunnel could have scallions in 4 different places! So as adorable as I find these rows of little scallions shooting up through the soil, it’s also a bit disconcerting that they were planted first, in full rows, and not fit in somewhere.
The flowers are even holding their own. We were surprised to see the dahlias come through the cold spell with nary a curled brown leaf among them.
But, the cold will come. It always does.
As an experiment, we’re trying a late planting of calendula. It’s supposedly good down to 25 degrees and if it does well, we’re thinking on doing an extra early planting for the spring. Tulips, lilacs, and peonies are all lovely, but there’s not much else that time of year, making it hard to make up bouquets some weeks. The bees seem to approve of the calendula experiment (although most were camera shy).
We’re also picking persimmons! This is one of the fruits that often causes head scratches when people first encounter it. Persimmons look a bit like an orange tomato, but they are a fruit (yes, yes, I know tomatoes are technically a fruit. But persimmons are considered a fruit both technically and in mainstream society. And they taste better), and – if you allow them to ripen – a delicious sweet fruit at that.
We grow Fuyu and Hachiya type persimmons that originated in Asia (Asia has a much longer history of domesticating their persimmons than North America does). Like peaches and plums, persimmons taste best when they’re a little soft. The Fuyu has a flat bottom and can be eaten while still firm without causing your mouth to pucker. The Hachiya type on the other hand is astringent and should not be eaten until fully ripe (nice and soft and juicy).
There is an American persimmon (native to North America). The trees have great longevity and durability. But one of the biggest drawbacks to growing American persimmons is how tall the tree gets; we are not climbing up 40 feet (or 60 or 80 feet) to pick persimmons. And even if we were so inclined to pick the splatted fruit up off the ground after it fell off the tree, regulations prohibit us from selling (or donating) that fruit.
We recently found a grower who is doing some cool breeding between the Asian and American persimmons, trying to combine the best traits into one (or in their case 15) varieties. So we’re excited to see what that brings and what we can add to our orchard.
What can you do with persimmons? Eat them straight out of hand – bite into or slice just like an apple. Chop and add to salads, make bread/cake, frozen custard, and more. If a batch of persimmons gets away from me, I dehydrate them and have persimmon chips for a healthy snack.
You can now add persimmons to your share through the CSA site.
(Yes, we will have persimmon jam this year. No, it is not ready yet)
You can read more about persimmons here. And in the works is a course where Ruth goes over growing your own persimmons, pawpaws, gooseberries, currants, and figs. These are all easy to grow and oh so good to eat. Yes, you can grow them. These fruits are way way easier than peach and plum trees and, unlike with strawberries and blueberries, the birds don’t wipe your crop out. (You can check out our other courses here).
Some seasonal inspiration:
Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole (make now and freeze for Thanksgiving)
Thanksgiving order deadline is November 9th
Take two things off your too-make list and get your Thanksgiving cornbread and cranberry sauce from us. Made fresh each day.
(last 2 options on the turkey page)
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