One of my favorite parts about living in the Midwest is the turning of the seasons, especially that first chilly, unmistakable fall breeze that always gives me goosebumps and simultaneously a warm feeling of expectation. For me, fall looks like yellow leaves and orange pumpkins, smells like cinnamon and firewood, and tastes like baked apples. Shockey Funke, our COO, really enjoys the crisp mornings and crunching through big piles of leaves. Ashley Luciani, our greenhouse manager, said her favorite thing about fall is harvesting carrots and other fall roots, and how the slower pace of cool weather allows time for reflection of the past year.
At Metropolitan Farms, the greenhouse conditions are stabilized for year round growth. So what does this mean for our fall crop and harvest?
One of the biggest challenges for our summertime crops in managing the heat. We overcome the high intensity by germinating more seeds and moving the crops through our system at a faster rate than in cooler temperatures. In the thick of summer we are harvesting our lettuce every 35 days, compared to standard farming in which the lettuce requires 60-70 days to reach maturity. As fall settles in, we adjust to the cooler weather and less hours of sunlight by reducing germination quantity and allowing the greens to stay in our water beds for longer periods of time.
Will Metro have anything new to offer this fall? Many of our customers have asked for arugula, and as a result, this will be our next experimental crop! We love feedback and suggestions and supplying the local demand – thank you for being vocal and encouraging us to keep growing. Additionally, as the farmer’s markets come to an end, we have a lot more time devoted to guided tours of our greenhouse, and are hoping to fill our farm with new faces interested in learning about urban agriculture.