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Friday, January 09, 2009

Frozen Mizuna

Today is a Friday when someone goes out and harvests things for the Farm Share members. Unlike past harvest days this time everything was frozen, even the crops in the hoop houses. Bummer.

I was hoping to supply the Farm Share members with fresh greens but after looking at the frosty lettuce plants and the icy Mizuna I knew there was slim chance that greens could be harvested today (or for the next several weeks as winter is making a cold statement for a while). I did hack off some frozen mizuna and brought it back into the house to see if it would thaw decently (many cold hardy crops can be harvested fully frozen and thaw out perfectly). It thawed and was not turning to green goo but was still kind of weird. I do not want to take the chance of thawing the Mizuna, putting it into bags and than having it start rotting after it is bagged. I have tried this with frozen lettuce and things did not turn out well at all. I believe Mizuna will do better but I want to experiment a bit more with it before foisting it upon my customers.

So the Farm Share members get no greens this week (and probably not the last week either) but will get a lot of other nice things to eat. This is pretty much par for the course with farming on the back side of the calendar. If we heated our hoop houses (which is not really possible with the design we are using) we would have a lot of things growing in them. All the cold loving crops need is for the houses to be around 40F degrees at night and at least that warm during the day (if the sun is out the houses will get over 85F when it is 25F outside). The down side of this is you have to use some sort of fuel to heat the houses-propane, natural gas, electric (from coal or other fossil fuels), electric (from solar/wind) or wood. Fuel costs money which adds to the cost of the produce and most fuels pollute which adds to our carbon footprint. So for now we deal with things like frozen mizuna in January and stay content knowing that the mizuna will thaw soon enough and we will have greens to eat come late winter and early spring when most gardens in Ohio lay dormant.

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