An abundant harvest shouldn't be a bad thing, but at times it can be overwhelming. I was just reading a blog post by Gene Logsdon where he passed on the wisdom of years that taught him not to overdo things by planting more than you can deal with. I've given up on my pickling cucumber bed in the vineyard because I can't handle the amount of food coming out of it. Next year I'll plant far less. This was an experimental year in large scale farming and although I was cautious, I didn't anticipate the level of productivity a little bit of manure could yield. Even the sweet corn is getting overwhelming and I only planted two 30 ft beds of it. I've canned about 25 pints already! And after so many jars of salsa (fireroasted is the best kind), pickled cucumbers, corn, sauerkraut, and tomato sauce, I'm sick of canning.
This is the time when I start fantasizing about having a couple pigs to feed all the oversized summer squash, cucumbers I can't sell, and rotting, rain-cracked tomatoes. I could also feed them all the byproducts of my canning projects, grape pressing, and crop waste. I really want to make that a reality one of these days. On top of that, there's the tons of whey from cheesemaking I could be feeding them; nothing like turning food waste into more food.
But isn't it nice that there are crops you don't have to eat fresh that store easily without any canning and the associated energy consumption and hassle? I have really grown to appreciate crops like flour corn, popcorn, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, garlic, winter squash and dry beans. Winter squash, garlic, onions, and sweet potatoes just need a dry place to be stored. I was using last year's garlic all the way up until I started to get the first harvest of this year's crop. Storing it at room temperature hanging up in braids or in a mesh bag keeps it halfway through the winter until it starts to get drier, then I move it to the root cellar so that it can retain moisture and experience cold temps to keep it dormant.