13 weeks of fresh produce that highlights the late spring and summer seasons. The best part of eating seasonally is discovering what types of vegetables typically grow during certain times of year. Some crops like it cool while others like it hot and they all have different growth rates (measured as days-to-harvest from transplanting or seeding).
The early season will usually include vegetables like lettuce, radish, salad turnips, and bok choy. The size of the shares early on tend to be a little lighter as our soil is still warming up and only vegetables with very quick growth patterns are available for harvest.
The mid summer season includes familiar favorites like yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, green beans, eggplant, and cabbage. Also included at this time of year are cooking greens (kale), along with some different crops like fennel, kohlrabi, and scallions. The first annual herbs of cilantro and dill begin mid summer and continue throughout the growing season to be joined shortly by parsley (a very slow growing herb!). Carrots also make their first appearance mid summer.
The late summer and early fall is full of bounty. The heat-loving summer crops are in full force: tomatoes of all kinds, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and eggplant. The summer cucurbits (squashes and cucumbers) are producing well and the fall cucurbits (winter squash) are sizing up in the field. The earliest of the winter squash are often available in the month of September. Watermelon and cantaloupe come ripe in August (conditions permitting) and the sweet flesh is just remarkable. Cooking greens are a constant presence and lettuces continue along with some of the cooler weather crops. Onions are harvested and distributed, carrots remain available, and we often see our first fall broccoli.
The fall is a bountiful time of year and when all the harvest festivals take place throughout Connecticut, with very good reason. During the 8-week fall share, the very last of the summer crops are generally available early on and then fall crops take over. Carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and onions are all in abundance. Cool weather crops like radish, salad turnips and bok choy all return. The growing season is in the hands of mother nature so there is always some unknowns with the fall. The best part is that most of the fall crops like frosts and can even handle a freeze. In fact many vegetables like kale, cabbage and carrots get sweeter after a frost. This is the time of year when these are at their finest. Many of the storage crops (carrots, cabbage, onions, squash) should be available in quantities that can at least help you continue to eat locally during the winter. Student shares will include a selection of four to five items, at the student's discretion, at the half-share volume. More information on the student share can be found here.
Members can choose to pick up their farmshare at the farm in Columbia, in Manchester at Labyrinth Brewing Company or in Mansfield Depot at G.M. Thompson & Sons store for summer and fall shares. You are asked to choose a day that works best for you and stick with it for the seasons, although we can accommodate for vacations or unexpected issues that arise. Only half shares will be available for pickup at Labyrinth and Thompson's store.
As always, mother nature is ultimately in charge and try as we might to work with her, there are some aspects of growing vegetable crops that are largely out of our control. Every effort is made to produce the most delicious and beautiful produce available but inevitably there's something that doesn't work out quite like you expected. CSA members must be aware that nothing is guaranteed and crop available can change at a moment's notice. This is what makes every season unique and keep farmers on their toes.