Monday, November 21, 2011

October 2011 Crop Mob (Stick and Stone Farm)

A genuine man goes to the roots. To be a radical is no more than that: to go to the roots.  - Jose Marti

Autumn is root vegetable harvest time! As Katie says, "All summer long beet and carrot plants have been channeling nutrients down their leaves, sending tiny roots into the soil, and collecting energy in their orange and red sweet and crisp roots." First frost is when many summer vegetables leave us- tomatoes, eggplants, peppers- but others get tastier. When starchy roots like parsnips, carrots and celery root (celeriac) get cold, they begin converting those starches to sugars. Cabbage family plants (kale, collards, Brussels sprouts) protect themselves from freezing by increasing the amount of sugars in their cells- the extra sugars act as a sort of anti-freeze. Roots can be left in the ground over a few frosts, but must be pulled before winter freezes the ground solid. And as crop mobbers know, root harvest is best done with 30-some volunteers, on a warm, sunny day like this: