Have you heard the news? Reports are coming in about the first frost hitting this weekend! For most people, this means breaking out the winter coats and maybe shopping around for some warmer socks. In the farm world, this means the official end of summer and nightshade crops* and a flavor enhancement to roots** and brassicas***. While we’re all going to miss our beloved nightshades, we’re looking forward to some of the benefits frost brings. The frost is a natural weed killer, giving our organic farmers a break in some of the hand weeding they must do on a daily basis. The frost also changes the flavor of most root and brassica crops such as carrots, Brussels sprouts, beets, and yams, and cures sweet potatoes, making them sweeter and even more enjoyable. When the conditions above ground are no longer optimal for root crops, the nutrients and energy get pulled down and stored in the roots, protecting them from the harsh elements. Cool, right? Make sure to pay attention to the flavors of these veggies from your CSA after the first frost and let us know if you can taste the difference!
*Nightshade Crops: or Solanum is a large and diverse genus of flowering plants, which include two food crops of the highest economic importance, the potato and the tomato. It also contains the nightshades and horsenettles, as well as numerous plants cultivated for their ornamental flowers and fruit.
**Root Crops: or tuber crops consist of root crops, such as beets and carrots, and tuber crops, such as potatoes and sweet potatoes, and the leaves of root crops, such as beet tops.
***Brassicas: a genus of plants in the mustard family. The members of the genus are informally known as cruciferous vegetables, cabbages, or mustard plant. Members of brassica commonly used for food include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
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