Thursday, March 15, 2012

Winter Pickin': How sunlight affects flavor


With the winter nearing its end, many changes have taken place on the farm.  The fields and terrace gardens have thawed and been plowed, the greenhouse reemay has finally been taken down and new life is starting to emerge all around us.  Spring is near or should I say, spring is here.  As we take our last cuts of this beautiful rainbow...
swiss chard, the final reminders of winter are almost gone, but this transition brings signs of the future.    Some of our mustards, spinach and even tons of weeds have started their ascent towards the sky.  As we near next week's 12 hour daylight mark, these plants have decided to do what they were meant to do, reproduce.  

As you can see, the leaves above were harvested back in February for our winter market, whereas these same plants in March have much smaller leaves and many more of them.

Just look at how the quantity almost triples on these orange swiss chards below.

This final vegetative growth from the plant is a signal that just like a birthing mother, it is gathering all the nutrients it can absorb from our rich, fertile soil to produce and release its seed.  The chard instinctively pushes out tons of tiny leaves, almost on cue.

The ascent begins, spring is officially here.  It's amazing to see this plant literally lift itself off the ground and begin to raise towards the sun.

Soon these once delicious and shiny swiss chard leaves will lose their flavor as the plant chooses to focus its attention on the next generation.  


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