Winter harvests

Here are some snapshots of a few winter harvest we are enjoying on the farm at the moment…

Dangling some carrots

Dangling some carrots

There are few things as delicious as an over-wintered carrot. The slip nip of the colder temps causes the carrots to become sweeter (stress = more sugar production). Crunchy and sweet? Perfect.

Kennebec tater

Kennebec tater

A cozy layer of straw mulch helps protect these spuds (and 3 other varieties) from the sun and the nip of frost. Other than the pups digging them up in pursuit of voles, we will be dining off of these guys well into the spring/early summer.

Dent corn

Dent corn

The corn in this photo is called “Bloody Butcher,” an  heirloom dent corn dating from the mid 1800s and likely was traded between settlers and Native Americans. Dent corn was used mainly for grinding into meal or flour, but it can be roasted or fried (is a sweet corn) as well. Mostly, it is used for decorative purposes today. Here is a little story from NPR entitled “On The Trail To Preserve Appalachia’s Bounty Of Heirloom Crops” that gives a slightly regional perspective on this historical variety.

I have been looking into home mills. I am interested in trying my hand at grinding some of these kernels into a flour or meal. Anyone try that before? Regardless, this variety is a staple in our garden for its beauty and history.

Pickled beets

Pickled beets

These jars full of burgundy goodness have become a winter staple for us. Pickled beets. They are zingy, textured and simply delicious. This season wasn’t our best beet crop, but what was left over was all harvested and canned. It was the top item on my to-do list this month. To think I hated beets all my life until I started growing them. Beets from a tin can (what we grew up with) DO NOT COMPARE to fresh beets. And THESE canned beets are miles above all. Served on their own as a side or sliced onto greens with a pungent cheese and vinaigrette dressing…beets are on the winter menu often.

 

 

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