Farmers are incredible. Not only do they work outside, every day, in all kinds of climates, but they dare to plant potatoes in the Adirondack mountains, cantaloupe in the Schoharie Valley, ghost peppers in Dutchess County, and berries literally anywhere (berries?? You’d have to be crazy with all the bugs and moisture!!). When the weather gets weird, like it is as this is being written (70 degrees in late February), we are reminded just how brave it is to tie your income to Mother Nature, not to mention how grateful we are to these brave souls for getting us all fed. The Hepworth sisters (pictured above) pose like the bada** women they are, with over 400 acres of certified organic farmland in its 7th generation of family farming.
Since this winter has been only moderately moist according to NOAA, coupled with unusual temperatures and other general weather weirdness, we thought we’d share one thing farmers do to prepare for the uncertain. Planting “cover crops” is something you may have heard of but aren’t sure exactly what it means. Farmers plant cover crops such as rye, clover, and others in order to:
- Protect soil from rain and runoff
- Improve soil organic matter and aggregate stability
- Reduce surface crusting and break hardpan
- Fix nitrogen and scavenge soil nitrogen
- Suppress soil diseases, pests, and weeds
If a farmer plants a cover crop that is drought resistant and follows it with a cover crop like mustard greens, they build healthy soil that is better suited to retain moisture for a dry spell and will also yield better crops in the future. Brilliant. We can’t say it enough: Thank A Farmer!!!
The Cornell Cooperative Extension is a great resource for more info about farming and gardening. Check them out!
This Week’s Field Goods Favorite
White Sweet Potatoes
The white sweet potato tastes like a cross between a white potato and a sweet potato. They are a bit less sweet than the orange sweet potatoes but more creamy. Cut these in thin strips like french fries or in wedges, toss with oil, sprinkle with salt and roast at 450 for 10-15 minutes. Turn and cook the other side for 10-15 minutes.