We had a 42°F low temperature this morning and a high of 85° yesterday – a 45 degree diurnal temperature difference. It is definitely fall in southeast Arizona.
Today we are harvesting the sweet potatoes. They have been growing since May. The process involves first soaking the bed to soften up the soil (which we did yesterday), then clipping off all the vines at ground level (after this week, no more sweet potato greens until next summer), then digging up the sweet potatoes. The potatoes have to be dug carefully because they are brittle. The skins are also fragile, so they have to be handled pretty gently to avoid damage. We will then brush off the soil and put them in crates for curing.
The curing process optimally occurs at 85 to 90°F and at 90% relative humidity for 5 to 10 days. This heals the cuts and abrasions plus it initiates the creation of the enzymes that sweeten the potatoes. After the initial warm period of the curing process, the potatoes are then stored at about 60° for another six weeks or so which further develops the sugars.
We will have the uncured potatoes for sale in the market. These taste fine and can be used for cooking, but for the sweetest potatoes we will have to wait another couple of months.
We are still signing up CSA shareholders. If you would like to sign up for the next season, we will continue taking payments/reservations for our 16-week fall/winter CSA share program, deliveries for which will begin the middle of November and run through the middle of March 2017. Shares will cost $250 for 16 weekly deliveries.
We will have the forms at the markets this weekend, and they are also available on our website, here.
We’ll see you at the markets!