30 October 2003
Dear CSA Members,
Is everybody braced for the first cold air of the season? I can't remember a year without at least a light frost before the first of November, but unless this cold front really drives temperatures down it looks like we might make it into November frost free. As our season draws to a close you are finding more and greater quantities of storage crops in the deliveries. Here is a brief rundown on ideal storage conditions.
Garlic: cool dry and dark. We store ours in a bowl in an upper cabinet in the kitchen.
Winter squash: cool dry and dark. I prefer these in the kitchen somewhere that helps facilitate their use. That is to say, don't stash them in the garage and forget about them, rather, store them in some decorative basket Martha Stewart style until the need for a baked squash hits. The Delicata and Sweet Dumpling are the most perishable, the Acorn, Kabocha and Buttercup are superior keepers, with the Acorn probably the best. The real secret to keeping squash, or anything else for that matter, is not keeping it but using it. Inspect the product periodically and use any that show any sign of deterioration.
The storage onions provided last week will keep for a bit but remain one of our least perfect crops for 2003 and should be used as soon as possible, they may be stored like garlic cool, dry and dark.
Carrots and beets along with most other root crops and cabbage should be refrigerated. They prefer a high humidity environment and all of these crops will last for weeks in the fridge if kept from dehydrating. Keep them in a plastic bag, and remember to use them.
The garlic you have received is one of our signature crops. Carpathian garlic is originally from the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe. These mountains begin in SW Slovakia and extend north easterly to Poland, there the Northern Carpathians run east along the Polish border, then SE through the Ukraine. In Romania they are continued by the Transylvanian Alps. They form a semi circle, which cradles the Danube Valley and some of the most fertile soil on the planet. They are not an uninterrupted chain of mountains but rather several distinct groups with as great a structural diversity as is found in the more familiar Alps. These are rugged mountains rich in folklore and myth, and though the use of garlic as a charm against the powers of evil dates back as far as the Egyptians, nowhere was it more important to have access to an inexpensive and powerful charm against evil spirits and vampires than the mountains surrounding Transylvania. So rest assured as Halloween approaches that you are protected with a direct descendant of those first garlic wreaths placed around the necks of sleeping children in the old country.