Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fall on the farm

The lawn was carpeted with golden leaves. Everything both outdoors and indoors glowed in the early morning sunlight. We had time to enjoy the gorgeous fall colors after a freeze on Monday morning, October 19, ended the growing season for tomatoes (below) and other sensitive crops.

Only one field remains green and growing after a frost. The cole crops, i.e. cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, are still being harvested and offered at market.

The greenhouse is filled with winter squash. They need fairly high temperatures for a short time to cure. The furnace keeps them from freezing. Even on a rainy day we can wash and pack them for market. In the greenhouse photo below, neck pumpkins are in the foreground; Long Island cheese, Red Warty Thing, Jarrahdale, and LaEstrella in the middle; next are deep orange pie pumpkins; barely visible in the back are blue and green hubbards and some hard-shell gourds.

Our winter squash display at Ambridge Farmers' Market above, left to right: buttercup, butternut, acorn, festival, blue kuri, red kuri, vegetable spaghetti, and hi-beta gold. On and under the picnic benches below are larger squash types. All of these are both decorative and edible. Use them to brighten the kitchen counter or your dining table until Thanksgiving. Then bake them following the recipes on this blog.

Wish I had counted Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins from the start of harvest. From mid-September, shiny bright orange orbs filled many grassy areas. By mid-October, we had about 200 left. They were nearly all gone by Halloween. We carved 14 that could not be sold. Some had scars from deer nibbling them. Some were top heavy, so we cut off the stems, turned them upside-down and carved them. Despite these flaws, they looked pretty good. See the scar on the left cheek of this one?