This is my favorite time of the year for root crops. Radishes, carrots, turnips, and rutabagas are so good this time of the year. The most noticeable difference is in carrots. Summer carrots sometimes have a bitter note. Not fall and winter carrots. The carrots are kept in the ground as long as possible and the crop produces sugars to prevent from freezing. You’ll taste the difference!
Many of our winter storage crops aren’t event harvested yet. Farmers like David Yoder in Homerville will actually cover their rows with straw or row-covers and wait to dig the turnips, beets, and rutabagas until the ground is just about to freeze. While the plant effectively quits growing, it continues to develop sugars and the root stores better in the ground than in the root cellar. I’ve spent a few cold winter days in the past helping David pull turnips or cut kale in a foot of snow to fill some last minute orders! It might sound strange, but it can be fun.