We hope this note finds you well during this challenging and most interesting time. We're sending you some pictures of the farm to brighten your day and some updates to keep you informed as well as maybe provide something to read about other than that which I don't feel like naming. Spring has brought renewed life to the farm and with it some love and hope. If nothing else, wandering amidst the woods and agricultural fields teeming with other species rejoicing in this time of year, one can find solace, distraction. On the farm, besides having the kids permanently at home with us, not much else is different than it otherwise would be during this time of year, and thus we feel fortunate to work towards the annual robust goal of growing healthy nutritious organic produce for our CSA members. Perhaps we are spending more time than usual outside, trying to really maximize the comfort that a sunny spring day can bring. Swelling buds, blossoming flowers, singing frogs, slithering snakes, we're reminded we're not alone and that we're all part of this ecosystem on the farm. Caring for this land by interacting with other species is part of a bigger picture. Maybe this societal downtime will enable a reflexive reflective renewed connection to our total community.
But that is bigger than me. I still need to focus on the daily tasks needed to grow high quality produce. We're also about to enter the month of April, and with that will commence the growing of plants outdoors. If the weather allows, next week we will transplant into raised beds beets, chard, kale, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, endive, escarole, radicchio, peas, turnips, and romaine. In the meantime we take care of those plants from seed to five-week old seedlings. Some need to be thinned, like the beets pictured below, because each seed is actually a dried fruit with up to five seeds and to reduce competition amongst themselves we try to give one of them more space to grow. Every tray of seedlings is removed from the comforts of the heated greenhouse and taken to the unheated hoop house where they'll 'harden off' by experiencing life with slightly more exposure, conditions more like what they might deal with in the field. We still adjust ventilation in there by raising and lowering the roll-up sides, and on nights threatening freezing temperatures we add an interior layer of row cover to make sure they're not damaged and because we don't want the pace of growth to slow down too much.
When chisel plowing a couple of weeks ago we were particularly impressed by the number of healthy fat worms found in the organic-matter-rich, friable, beautiful soil.
Expected Harvest Auspiciously Planning for Harvests in May by Farmer Dana
Thinning beets inside the comfort of home whilst the children build forts and, in general, destroy the house.
CSA pick ups normally begin in mid-May. This year it should be either the week of May 11th or the 18th, depending primarily on weather conditions before then. We're staying abreast of the current situation off the farm. We're fortunately deemed an "essential business" so can remain open. Prior to the start of pick ups we'll research how other farms and markets are dealing with distribution and may adjust our pick up if necessary (hopefully minimally if at all). More information on this will come in the future but rest assured you can feel safe, secure, healthy, and happy here. That said, registration rates are on par with last year and the current situation is probably going to drive more folks to source food locally, especially directly from a farm. We have a finite membership goal and try not to go past it, so please consider signing up soon. To join, follow this link.
A fuzzy chick is another sure sign of spring, also evoking a fuzzy warm feeling.
We're excited about some changes to the crop plan that we expect will enhance shares over the course of the season. As mentioned, we planted peas two weeks earlier than normal and inside a tunnel which should result in an early abundant crop of sweet snap peas. Maybe less exciting but just as nutritious, we're experimenting with transplanting hakurei turnips and salad radishes instead of direct seeding them. Our aim is to have earlier and better quality roots in the spring. We've also expanded the number of spring broccoli and broccolini plants after a small trial run last spring. We're also excited about two new chicories, Bel Fiore radicchio and Benefine endive. They're much less bitter than other chicories and are perfect in a salad. We've stumbled upon watermelon and cantaloupe varieties that performed well last year and tasted great. More sweet peppers and cherry tomatoes are planned. New varieties of celosia, rudbeckia, and zinnia will add additional beauty to the u-pick flower patch. Into the u-pick herb garden will go more rosemary, parsley, dill, and cilantro than last year. After losing some of our currenty raspberry patch (Nova) to continuous soil moisture during 2018 we've decided to plant 500 more plants in a better location (Encore). Our other patch may rebound now that we installed a waterway directly above the area of the field but it never hurts to have more raspberries. Late-summer bearing raspberries (Caroline) put in two years ago should begin yielding this year.
What we assume is a garter snake is perhaps smelling us with its tongue.
In closing we want you to know that we very much care about the health and well-being of our farm and CSA community. If there's anything additional we could provide to you and your family please let us know. Feel free to come to the farm to unwind, disconnect, and walk the woods and fields.