Farm Notes

Challenges and Successes of the 2023 Growing Season

Recap by Brendan Murtha, Farm Manager 

As the end of the 2023 growing season approaches, we want to thank all of our farm supporters. This season brought a unique set of production challenges, and we appreciate the strong base of support within our community, for our work!  

Record-breaking rainfall led to a few notable crop failures: winter squash and melons were a near total loss, and tomatoes and ginger yielded less than we would’ve liked. In addition to the financial hit that crop failures bring, the emotional toll of crop loss is hard to articulate. This year’s challenges will inform future growing decisions, and help to make us more resilient in future years!

Despite challenges, and the cool fall weather, there is still much food growing in the field, and we are excited about late fall crops, including sweet potatoes. We are happy to report a good yield, despite unfavorable growing conditions. We grew three varieties of sweet potatoes this year, adding to the selection from the past few seasons. These include Bellevue, a delicious orange-flesh variety with a lighter orange skin, currently on sale at the Farmstand. In November and December, look for Covington (an orange-flesh sweet potato with darker skin) and Murasaki (a Japanese variety with distinct purple skin and white flesh) at the stand. We are proud of this crop and excited to enjoy them throughout the winter!

The farmstand will be open Friday-Sunday until late December! While some fall root crops haven’t been harvested yet, they will be at the stand in the coming weeks:

  • Celeriac (celery root). This fall favorite is an excellent addition to any soup, and stores better than nearly anything we grow. The 2023 celeriac crop is the nicest we’ve seen. Turns out it really likes rain!
  • Rutabaga. Last year’s rutabaga crop was stellar, and the 2023 crop is looking to compete. Rutabaga is versatile and stores just as well as celeriac. Enjoy it prepared as a savory puree with a bit of vanilla! Sounds odd, but it tastes great! 
  • Parsnips. We had great germination on these this year and the roots look great (some individual roots weighing in at 1 lb!) Parsnips can be challenging to grow because they are in the ground for a long time! Enjoy roasted parsnips alone or mixed with other fall roots. 

As you come by the farm this fall, take a walk around the main farm to observe the fields. You’ll see most have been seeded in cover crop for the winter. Seeding fall cover crop is one of the last big jobs we have to do this season, and a true sign that winter is coming. As our fall season gets longer and first frost comes later, we can seed cover crop well into November. We are grateful for a long summer and looking forward to the brief moment of rest and relaxation that Winter brings in our growing cycle.