Poultry antics aside, our crops took quite a beating in the cold snap last week. We don't expect any more cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower until the spring crops are ready by April or May. (Yep, we've already got those underway). The brussel sprouts are done until next winter. No, we don't even have much in the way of leafy greens right now, which are usually the backbone of our winter offerings. We grow all of our hardier greens outdoors through the winter months. And they've always grown just fine through the winter, without any protection. Ever. When all else fails, there's always kale. Always. Last week we covered up the kale and collards, spinach and mustard and chard before the cold, but it wasn't enough. We hunted and pecked through row after row of greens on Friday, found a few salable leaves, but the rest of the larger leaves are gone. The central crowns of the plants still look green and healthy, which means that they should eventually re-grow. That's going to take some time, however, as plants don't grow very quickly this time of year. Or as I overheard from another farmer at the market this weekend, "you know you've accomplished something when you've killed off your collard greens." Sometimes you just have to shake your head, try to laugh, and re-plant.
Yet in the midst of all this crazy weather, we do actually have something new this week - parsnips! As with the rest of our root crops right now, these will get to you without any leafy green tops, but then can anyone out there claim they've ever seen a parsnip top? Unless you've grown your own, probably not. Parsnip greens aren't edible, and the tops can cause a skin rash for many who handle the greens, so they're always removed before sale. Parsnips are said to be at their sweetest in late winter after a hard freeze...mission accomplished!