The Persephone Period and Winter Growing...

The long dark days are almost over!

Here in Mid-Michigan, we have been trapped in what is called “The Persephone Period” for about a month. During this time, daylight dips below 10 hours and plants (and sometimes people) have more difficulty thriving. Thus, January has always been a difficult time to grow in a hoophouse or greenhouse, especially without “supplemental lighting.” It’s strange to think about, but, plants need cues from not only heat and water but, daylight and even quality of light to turn on and off certain functions.

And, as of February 2, we will have 10 hours and 1 second of light! 🎉 Spring is on its way before you know it.

If you’re curious about this naming or, want to learn more about the Greek myth and the interaction between agriculture and myth, we offer this excerpt from The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman. (This book is considered the bible of winter growing, written by a highly respected small farm expert).

Humans have long had their own way of understanding the changes in day length and its effect on agriculture. Early Greek farmers, whose practical experience added mythical stories to astronomical fact, knew intimately that the power of the sun and the length of the day are the principal influences on agriculture. They created the myth of Persephone to explain the effect of winter conditions.

As the story goes, the earth goddess Demeter had a daughter, Persephone, who was abducted by Hades to live with him as his wife in the netherworld. Demeter would have nothing to do with this and threatened to shut down all plant growth. Zeus intervened and brokered a deal whereby Persephone would spend only the winter months with her husband, Hades. Demeter, saddened by her daughter’s absence, made the earth barren during that time. On our farm we refer to the period when the days are less than ten hours long as the Persephone months.

The pagan agricultural calendar in the British Isles brings this ancient awareness closer to our hemisphere. It is often called the Wheel of Life. We are all familiar with four points on that wheel—spring equinox (March 20/21); midsummer, or summer solstice (June 21/22): autumn equinox (September 20/21); and midwinter, or winter solstice (December 20/21). Most people, however, are less aware of the agricultural significance of four other dates on the wheel. These are the cross-quarter days, which are evenly spaced between each of the four dates above. Each date marks a festival.

The first of these festivals is called Imbolc. It takes place on or about February 2. It celebrates the growing of the light, the onset of lactation in ewes about to give birth, and Brigid, the goddess of fire and fertility. Traditionally, fires were lit to represent the increasing power of the returning sun. Next in order, on May 1, is the festival of Beltane. It marks the beginning of the summer pastoral season when grasses for livestock begin to grow again, and the lushness of summer is off and running. The third festival of the year, celebrated on August 1, is called Lughnasadh, the first day of fall in the pagan calendar. Lughnasadh marks the beginning of the harvest season and the ripening of the first fruits. Around November 1 comes the last of these four festivals, Samhain. This celebrates the start of winter and the last of the harvest.

When one farms with nature as we do, it is easy to notice how closely the dates and meanings of these early Celtic celebrations fit in with our practical experience and day-to-day work. For example, February 1, the date of the festival of Imbolc, is the time of year when more rapid spring growth begins in our greenhouses as the Persephone period draws to a close. We have noticed that outdoor transplanted vegetables begin their season of rapid growth right about May 1. And August 1 is truly our bounteous
harvest time. Almost every crop we grow is in full production on that date. It is also the start of our fall planting season for winter crops. And November 1 is the end of our outdoor-harvest season and the beginning of the next Persephone period when growth slows down for winter.

Thanks and Thanksgiving!

Thanks for supporting our small farm.

Thanks for supporting local food systems.

Thanks for helping us employ our farm-ily of intrepid veggie harvesters, cleaners, and transporters.


May you make time to give thanks to all the wonderful things in your life, and especially in the next week as friends and families gather.


We’re embarking on new experiment for Thanksgiving!

Customized Thanksgiving Boxes

How it Works:

  • There are 2 prefilled options that can be customized to fit your needs.

    • We've shaved an average of 5% off from our market prices too, as thanks for the preorder!

  • Each box starts with the Farmer's Choice then, add and delete as you'd like, up until midnight this Saturday.

  • You can also add-on eggs, pork, chicken, jam or any extra veggies from the webstore, in addition to the box.

Where?

  • Pick up on November 19-21, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday

    • Monday = East Lansing Area, currently, Foods for Living

    • Tuesday = Mason Area, my home

    • Wednesday = Okemos Area, Meridian Twp Market

  • Home Delivery on Monday evening

    • There is a $10 delivery fee.

Let me know if you have location suggestions! I'd love to come into Lansing... we just need a semi-warm spot and room for parking. 

Option 1: the Box


$50 of customized Titus Farms veggie goodness!
Farmers choice share includes:

  • 2 Acorn squash

  • 2 Butternut squash

  • 1 quart red Fingerling potatoes from Green Eagle Farm

  • 4 pounds of organic Sweet Potatoes from Monroe Family Organics

  • 4 pounds of sweet orange carrots from Titus Farms

  • 1 quart baby Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 large bag mixed onions

  • 1 pint shallots

  • 4 leeks

  • 1 head fresh Romaine lettuce

  • 1 pint, red radishes, no tops

Option 2: the Bag


$25 of customized Titus Farms veggie goodness!
Farmers choice share includes:

  • 2 Butternut squash

  • 2 pounds of large sweet potatoes from Monroe Family Organics

  • 2 pounds of sweet orange carrots

  • 1 quart of baby Brussels sprouts, off the stalk

  • 2 leeks

  • 1 quart red Fingerling potatoes from Green Eagle Farm

  • 1 pint of red radishes, no tops

You can subtract anything from the above and add any of the following:

  • Beets

  • Cabbage, Green or Red

  • Celeriac

  • Daikon Radishes

  • Garlic

  • Green Onions from the Hoophouse

  • Kossack Kohlrabi

  • Rutabagas

  • Shallots

  • Spinach

  • more Sweet Potatoes

  • more Potatoes

  • Arugula from the Hoophouse

  • Black Garlic

  • more Romaine from the Hoophouse

You have until Friday at noon to sign up! Shares are incredibly limited!

Sign up using Farmigo here: https://csa.farmigo.com/join/titusfarms

Cash or Check is accepted if picking up in person and is greatly appreciated.
Otherwise, Paypal and credit cards are okay too. 

You can customize your box from Friday afternoon until Saturday at midnight. You'll receive a reminder to do so when the store is open!

[CSA]: The Final Week!

Well- the week hasn't exactly gone as planned so, Winter CSA details have to be withheld for another week. Bummer.

Why no Winter CSA (yet)? The Hoophouse Saga of the Fall As I may have mentioned to some, we really wanted successful fall carrots so, we sacrificed a great deal of our hoophouse (an unheated greenhouse) space to grow some awesome carrots for you. That space was typically set aside for fall and early winter spinach/lettuce, making me nervous that we would not have the product needed for November/December CSA.

But, we're building another hoophouse! Woohoo!

Once that hoop is up, we'll have increased our growing space by 1/3! However, that hoophouse is going up in early November, leaving little time, again, to have much going on in November (hint: Winter CSA).

So, we're reimagining Winter CSA for this season but, I'll have set ideas and plans by next week. We won't leave you hanging though! Not sure about this new Winter CSA or a Thanksgiving box?  No problem!

We're at farmers markets all throughout the winter.

Our Farmers Market Schedule

Allen Street Farmers Market Wednesdays 3:00-6:30  inside Allen Neighborhood Center Lansing, MI

November 14 December 19 January 9 & 23 February 6 & 20 March 6 & 20 April 10 & 24

Meridian Twp Farmers Market inside the Meridian Mall Saturdays 10:00am-2:00pm Okemos, MI

1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month, December-April

Hope to see you there!  

The Menu


Please Choose up to 9 different Veggies

  • Pears! Unnamed and antique...

    • RIPEN these! Put them in a warm place for a few days until they're slightly soft to the touch.

    • They're not exactly from our farm btw... We've admired this pear tree for years as it's behind a neighbor's house and on the edge of a field we rent from them. This year, it was packed with fruit! The neighbor HATES having to pick them up or run them over with his lawnmower so, we grabbed a ladder and picked them off the tree. They've never been sprayed as the tree is basically abandoned. They look like a squat Bartlett but, the owner says the tree has been there for 50+ years. 

  • Red or Yellow Storage Onions

  • Garlic

  • Sweet Bell Peppers

    • Unsorted and harvested before the frost.

  • Kossack Kohlrabi

    • Huge but, tasty!

  • Celeriac

  • Rutabagas

  • Brussels Sprouts

  • Sweet Potatoes

    • Smaller than we'd hoped but, still tasty.

    • Both white and traditional red. They're cured and ready to go!

  • Carrots!

  • Daikon Radishes

  • Winter Squash: Butternut, Acorn, Carnival or Delicata

  • Heirloom Winter Squash and Pie Pumpkins

    • No squashapalooza this year :( You'll find our heirloom squash to be a bit smaller and less abundant than previous years.

  • Beets!

  • Cabbage

    • They turned out to be much smaller than desired but, still awfully tasty!

  • Leeks!

Maybe List

  • Kale OR Lettuce OR Bok Choy

Recipe Ideas: Squash and Pumpkins II

Perhaps not everyone saw the "Squash Recipes I" but, this time I want to focus more on Butternut, heirloom squash and pie pumpkins.

Let's start with pie pumpkins... Granted just about any squash can be turned into a pie, we like to grow a few different kinds for maximum tastiness. 'Winter Luxury' and 'Touch of Autumn' are our go-to varieties of pumpkins for pies but, feel free to mix some butternut or heirloom squash in there too.

Roasting is by far the best way to cook these for pie prep. Roast in wedges, puree and even freeze for later use. The Pioneer Woman has it right.

Then, follow your favorite pie, muffin or bread recipe anytime this winter!

Butternut squash is easily the most versatile of squash. It has a smooth texture and lighter flavor than many other varieties. The long neck also makes it easy to handle.

One of my favorite things to do is squash soup. For something a little different, try this Curried Butternut Squash soup from the Minimalist Baker. Curry and squash always make a lovely combo!

For something a little more traditional, there's the classic Squash Soup. Or, while I haven't tried this one yet, an Instant Pot version.

If creamy squash soup isn't your thing (or you want to try something new), try throwing it into a chili!

Thanks to CSAer Autumn for this recipe from Simply Recipes for Best Pumpkin Chili. The creaminess and sweetness of the squash goes perfectly with all the spices and textures of a chili.

Along those lines, try making posole! This recipe from Food52is a spicy blend of chile paste, hominy, and squash. Although I have the urge to crack an egg on top of this (shashuska style).

All of the heirloom squash you'll see at CSA is edible and tasty! From variety to variety or from squash to squash, they will tend to vary in stringiness and water content. 

If you're not sure what to do, make soup/chili/posole in order to compensate for any watery-ness. Or, roast and blend for pies!

I really love to stuff these round lovelies for Thanksgiving and serve in wedges. I tend to do all sort of variations but, it usually ends up being something close to this Kale and Wild Rice Stuffed Squash. Or, this, Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good.