Get Stuffed - Harvest 

Harvest time in the valley

There’s a crisp smell in the early morning air these days.

The Fall Equinox has come and gone, heralding shorter days and longer nights.

Cartons of fresh juicy strawberries have disappeared from the stalls at the farmer’s market, replaced with the hardier veggies like carrots, turnip and squash.

So it’s official: autumn is here.

And to date it’s been "stellar" according to Jordan Sturdy, owner of the North Arm Farm in Pemberton.

"I know the Fall Equinox has just passed but it’s still virtually summer," he laughed.

"So there’s still lots of stuff out in the fields."

He said the Fall Equinox, which fell on Monday, Sept. 23, is just a date.

"But it represents that we just have a quarter more year (to go) and the nights are getting longer again."

And so there’s a lot of work to be done on the valley farms as autumn wanes into winter.

The next few weeks will be some of the busiest of the year for Pemberton potato farmers as they begin harvesting their fields.

"For the guys who are growing 50, 60, 70 acres of potatoes, it’s harvest time and that’s the big time for them," said Sturdy.

"That’s what they do. That’s their life."

But on Sturdy’s farm, potatoes are just one part of the fall harvest.

There are other root vegetables in full force at the moment, including some that are a little less common like salsify and Jerusalem artichokes.

Both are root crops. The first is like a big, black carrot and the second is a relative of the sunflower, with a taste reminiscent of a sugary water chestnut.

When asked if they taste good he said: "Well, the restaurants seem to think so."

But that’s not all that’s still growing out there.

The warm weather means that there is still corn to be picked, as well as zucchinis and even some fall bearing raspberries.

"We haven’t had frost yet which is, I’d have to say, unusual," he said.

"Normally we get frost mid-September and we’re not much passed mid-September but as you can tell, the weather is awesome.

"With this kind of weather it’s really hard to go too far wrong."

But as Sturdy knows there are no guarantees on the farm.

His pumpkin patch is starting to produce pumpkins right now that should be ready to go in the next few weeks, unless the bears get to them first.


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