Sunday, September 26, 2010

Harvest Day at Tipi Creek CSA 2010

A cabbage-headed scarecrow at Tipi Creek FarmThis past Saturday was the last harvest day at Tipi Creek CSA. All the remaining vegetables were picked and divided amongst the shareholders.

As one of our farmers put it, this was a mushroom year, and a cold crop year: we got lots of moisture, but very little heat. Hence the plentiful, but mostly green, squash. The last few weeks of overcast drizzle stalled two of the corn varieties, and the fall spinach. Other crops, notably cabbage and broccoli, flourished in the cold. Risk is mitigated by crop diversity.

Here are some photos and notes from the harvest day.


With the potato foliage long killed off, a potato digger is dragged over the rows. The digger lifts masses of earth and potato, then sifts the dirt out and drops the potatoes on top for easy picking.
Dragging the potato digger to unearth potatoes
Note how black the earth is (we now have several pounds of this dirt in our kitchen, under our fingernails, and in our shoes...)

All the potatoes, spread on a tarp
Once all the potatoes are collected, some choice round specimens are saved as seed potatoes for next year. They will be stored over the winter to grow eyes.

A round, uniform potato, ideal as a seed potato
Embarrassingly, this was the first time I'd ever seen the fruit of the potato plant. Apparently they're poisonous.

The fruit of the potato plant


Kohlrabi plant

Green Onions
Green onions


The larger, tougher cabbage leaves from around the head are piled up to be fed to the pigs. (Other porcine favourites: corn and apples. No wonder those flavour pairings work so well.) Other vegetable trim is composted.
Large piles of cabbage leaves which will be fed to the pigs
Pumpkins, Hubbard, Buttercup, and Spaghetti Squash

A trailer-load of pumpkins and squash

Corn tassles
Fresh-picked corn on the cob
A Salamander (Not a part of regular CSA shipments...)

A salamander found digging in the carrots
The Numbers

As planned earlier in the season, Lisa and I weighed every bit of produce we received so that we could compare our CSA cost to that of an equivalent amount of food from the farmers' market and grocery store. With all our harvest in, we can now start the formal comparison. I'm going to review the numbers and post our results this weekend.

A railway in Sturgeon county near Tipi Creek Farm


  1. Oooh! The economist and cheapass in me can't wait to review your numbers!!

  2. The pleasure of getting your hands in that rich black soil and actually working for your food and understanding the work it takes to produce it really makes you honor it when you prepare it, doesn't it? Love getting out in the sun and doing stuff like this!

  3. i have never seen the fruit of a potatoe either.

    apparently though, potatoes themselves are considered slightly 'toxic' (don't remember where I read/heard this) -- will have to google that again. but like any food is a 'stimulus' but in this case, not enough to make us kick it :)

  4. "Potatoes are notable for containing significant levels of the toxic alkaloids solanine and chaconine, a hint of whose bitterness is part of their true flavor."

    From On Food and Cooking, by Harold McGee.

    When I was little, we always said that the green potato chips are poisonous. Once I was older I figured that was probably just a silly schoolyard myth. Turns out that green flesh is packed with solanine and is toxic is large quantities.

    "Greened potatoes should either be peeled deeply or discarded". Ibid.