Those of you who grow kale or Brussels sprouts know that these brassicas will turn sweeter, less bitter, and more aromatic after a little frost - and how nice it is to be able to pick a little "green" long after the growing season is over.
Corn - I would never have thought a farmer to harvest corn in winter. I don't know the reason, if it was planned to be or not, but a couple of weeks ago - when we had a few days without any snow - a farmer down the road from us harvested corn. I drove by this dead looking field and there he was with his big machine and a huge trailer filled with small golden-yellow kernels!
This Saturday we went to the Niagara Icewine Festival in Jordan. Yes, the shelves are made of pure ice.
Now, living close to the Niagara Wine Country, winter harvest of grapes for the production of icewine is known to more people. The first icewine (eiswein in German) was produced a couple of centuries ago when a German grape farmer was surprised by an early frost. As he didn't want to waste the grapes, he pressed the juice from the frozen grapes and the resulting wine was icewine.
Many of Niagara's wineries now produce icewine and for the past few years we have enjoyed visiting one of the Niagara Icewine Festival events: The Twenty Valley Icewine Bar in the Jordan Village. Saturday was extremely cold and the people serving samples at the bar - made of a gigantic slab of ice - were in an admirably good mood considering their frozen hands and feet.Some of them danced to keep warm - between pouring glasses full of sweet samples - to the beats from the live entertainment.
There were beautiful ice sculptures - like this table. We, as other people, used to enjoy standing at these tables, putting our glass down, enjoy some soup, or just talk; but this year it was just too cold and the tables were standing there as pretty statues.
Even the Queen was there (Winter Queen, Snow Queen, Ice Queen - what do you call her?) in her "nice and cozy chair" as she called her throne with the jester at her side.
In my own field I will be harvesting willow as soon as the snow allows me to do so.
Willow rods to be used for weaving are harvested while the plants are dormant, from November to March. The picture is taken in December and right now we have even more snow. As the rods are cut close to the ground, I have to wait till at least some of it has melted.
This will be my first harvest from the field and I am quite excited about it. Only one of my varieties will be dried to be used for weaving later on, but I'll tell you more at "harvesting time" in a separate post.