This week we write our ode to the turnip, a sadly under-appreciated vegetable. The ones we’re harvesting now are delicious – with a turnip-y sharpness that balances out the plump sweetness they’ve developed thanks to the cooler (and wetter) weather we’ve been having. Like our other spring crucifers, our previous crop of turnips suffered the ill effects of the early season flea beetle onslaught. For the record, before pumpkins came to epitomize Halloween, Jack o’ Lantern, the fabled Irishman who outsmarted the Devil not once, but twice, placed a coal ember in a turnip to light his way back to the world of the living.
Having waited for rain all summer, we are now living the farmer’s paradox, praying for at least three consecutive days of sun. Sunshine means we can do end-of-season fieldwork; it also makes for more enjoyable fall harvesting. We’ve covered our lettuce and beets with tarps – for while they do well in cooler weather, they still need a bit of warmth to fuel their final growth spurt.