yep, that brown dripping on the pan are sugars from the pumpkin. And yes, I now have my camera back on line so be ready for more cooked vegetable and hopefully snow pictures.
on to the year in review. I am going to try to stick to the broad strokes, not get caught in the weeds, cause otherwise it might go on forever, as long as the year itself.
So, the overall grade: B+. That is not a current, by my standards grade-inflated B+, but something that truly means, "almost really great, but darn good." This takes in to account the weather for the year, which I give a B- or C+, though it's hard to complain given the previous year, there was a significant lack of precipitation, not an outright drought, but . . . quick list of outstanding things: tomatoes had awesome flavor this year, and pretty good varieties, really mastered carrots and chard, pretty good bean, pea, eggplant, beets, kale, squash, melon production. Might be leaving out one or two, but you start to see a pretty full farm with that (oh, head and mix lettuce also did well, along with a nice spring and fall spinach crop). Things that could have gone better: our pepper plants looked nice but we need both more of them, and a better nutrient balance cause they did not put out enough peppers per a plant, though I am most excited about my trellising method for them. Fall brassicas got in the ground a week or two late and missing that heat set them back alot, so while we had plenty of stuff for the CSA, it wasn't broccoli and cauliflower, which it should have been.
Some less grade-y notes: It is really exciting to me how much I learn each year. After 10 years farming, in the past three I really am starting to feel the ability to gain and implement knowledge. Examples for next year include the aforementioned peppers fix, getting a shade cloth for curing onions and garlic (we lost 1/4 of our onions just to sunburn), planting the parsley a few weeks later so that it doesn't bolt, direct seeding leeks and then mulching them (so so so much more efficient). Part of that mastering of carrots mentioned earlier was just changing seed plates. Really easily doable. So that's fun, the feeling of getting better. Also strangely exciting is the year-roundness that we are starting to achieve, with or without a hoophouse. Some of this is the warming thing, which, without getting political is a little scary, but more can be chalked up to figuring out how to create, store, and sell more root crops. Here it is December and I am just mentally wrapping up last year and will start ordering seeds in another week or two.
Vermont is such an ideal place to be doing the work I am doing. People's interest in keeping this state a sustainable, viable, and interesting enterprise is what keeps any of this from being a grind, and I really appreciate being able to supply veggies to my CSA members, Shelburne Farmer's Market customers and the one or two restaurant and grocery store things I do. I like all of those different relationships.
Surely I forgot something, so feel free to comment and remind me or give your own grade. Hard to believe we will be updated our website in a month with our new brochure and getting ready for a new season.
Be on the look-out for something more exciting than all that: messaged kale recipe. I am not at all kidding. I would never thought to have eaten kale raw, but this totally works and is absolutely simple and delicious. Stay tuned.