There is much to desire about late summer and early fall — particularly when it comes to the vegetables in season, ripe for harvest.
“My favorite thing about late summer and fall, (in relation to farming) is the first big pepper harvest,” said Andie Donnan, co-operator of Sandhill Farm with Ashley Neises. “Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers — they all slowly trickle in, then boom! One week, you have this great bounty of produce. I like to harvest veggies shortly before dusk. The sun is just right when it shines on the veggies, the birds are quieting down and the breeze starts to calm. It’s really beautiful. Produce is beautiful. I often find myself describing produce in ways many farmers or consumers don’t. The truth is, produce is sexy.”
Sandhill Farm is a second-year diversified half-acre vegetable farm in Sinsinawa, Wis. The farm is part of the Sinsinawa Mound Collaborative Farm. Donnan and Neises sell their produce at local farmers markets, including the Saturday Dubuque Farmers Market and through Community Supported Agriculture.
During late summer and fall, Sandhill Farm offers a selection of produce including sweet potatoes, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower.
“As a homestead woman, artist and mama, I feel honored to raise our children in such a natural and grounded environment, said Emily Appelman, of Stone Hollow Gardens and Shroomery.
“As an artist and woman I find it empowering to work with my hands in the soil to create food. To work with something so pure is indeed beautiful.”
Emily and husband Christopher Appelman use safe and sustainable methods to grow their produce organically. This allows them to grow healthier vegetable crops and garner higher yields on the small homestead located next to the Little Maquoketa River. They are one of the vendors at the Saturday Dubuque Farmers Market.
The fall harvest at Stone Hollow includes several varieties of winter squash, heirloom tomatoes, root veggies, oyster mushrooms and maitake mushrooms.
“We began our search to return our small family to farming in 2016, but high land prices and lack of farm management experience proved problematic in obtaining farm financing,” said Kristen Conley, co-owner of Blue Barrel Produce, with Kennedy Conley. “After taking a beginning farm management course, we learned about a new farming program located at the Sinsinawa Mound that would help get the business management experience we needed.”
Blue Barrel Produce began in the winter of 2016-2017 as a member of the Sinsinawa Mound Collaborative Farm. Earlier this year, the Conleys purchased a small parcel of certified organic land outside Dickeyville, Wis.
Late summer veggies grown right up until frost by Blue Barrel include Yukon gold and red potatoes, beets, carrots, green and yellow beans, Brussels sprouts, fennel, flat leaf parsley, kale, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce mixes, romaine, kohlrabi and squashes. All can be found at the Dubuque Farmers Market.
Jill Carlson is a freelance writer from Madison, Wis.