Well… it’s happening. The thing that makes garden enthusiasts, veggie eaters and veggie farmers weep at the end of every summer: a dip in ambient temperatures resulting in overnight frost, expected tonight. The worst part is that it’s likely that things will heat up again for a quick summer reprise sometime in the next couple of weeks, and growers will be cursing the freeze that knocked down all their summer squash and tomatoes when – REALLY, Mister Weatherman – they could have used those couple of weeks of ripening. Why did we have to have that one frost that wrecked everything?
The best part, on the other hand, is that the annoying vegetables that have continued to produce until both pickers and growers are starting to get tired of picking and eating them are now going to cease production. Field cucumber and tomato growers, you can stand down now. The greenhouse growers will carry on from here. Prepare instead to eyeball your winter squash and pumpkins curing on those wilted vines.
Frost is not the end, especially in our part of the world where cold-weather crops like spinach, kale, carrots, beets and even onions are going to shrug off the frost that’s coming and actually, in some cases, improve their flavour. You’re going to see lots of these hardy vegetables at Market in the coming weeks. Time to put away your summer clothes and salad recipes together and transition into autumn. Those winter squash and root vegetables are just waiting to be turned into soups and stews that will simmer all afternoon, turning your home into a welcoming den of comfort-food smells and stick-to-your-ribs eating. There’s something magic about coming in out of the cold, and food is a big part of it.
Over the next couple of days our growers are going to be working double-time to bring the last of those summer squash in so you can enjoy their tender skins and delicate flesh for a couple more weeks. The Wednesday Markets are going to be jammed with both seasons of veggies as we transition from summer to fall harvest. Be sure to talk to your vendors about ordering storage quantities of vegetables. Many farmers find their hands full at this time of year and are happy to have you take perishables away for storage prep so they don’t have to prepare and store them.
The Wednesday outdoor Markets will run at least until the end of September, and then we’ll see how the harvest is progressing. Stay tuned to our Facebook Page for up-to-date information about Market dates and vendor information.