FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 3
Happy 4th of July weekend ;D
I hope that you all have something fun planned. Or at least can find a way to squeeze in some time with family and friends during this holiday weekend!
I’d like to start by reminding you that we WILL have CSA deliveries all of next week. Since the 4th lands on Sunday, our normal CSA harvest & delivery schedule will not be affected. That being said, many of you might be out of town still. If that’s the case and you want to donate your share to the food shelf please let us know and we’ll make sure it gets there on Thursday with the rest of our donations. We tally the donated shares all week and then harvest and deliver produce to them on Thursdays because that’s also their distribution day. It works out great so that they have the freshest produce possible to offer their families!
Another option if you’re going to be out of town is gifting your CSA to someone else. PLEASE make sure that they know your name is on the share box. We already had this happen one time this season where a CSA Member arrived to pick up their share and someone else had already mistakenly grabbed it. We always compensate those people for the inconvenience and (as stated in the Member Handbook) will charge you $40 for anytime you take someone else’s share. It’s that serious.. we harvest for everyone and absolutely need to make sure that everyone gets their produce too. So please just make sure if you gift your CSA that you do communicate this important detail with your CSA guest :)
One last tidbit -If you are going to send me an email requesting a CSA site change, reschedule, or even requesting extra produce or orders, please send me an email with the title clearly stated. When folks have been responding to my original emails from the early part of the season I haven’t been able to see those as fast because there are often 50+ email conversations going on those threads. Just a heads up for efficiency :D
The first couple of weeks of CSA pick up are going really, really well. Thank you all for being so in touch with your CSA farm!! We appreciate being able to grow for your precious families and hope you know that we truly enjoy being able to harvest fresh produce and deliver it to you in the same day. It brings us a lot of pride in our work and having your good graces make this such a rewarding career for us. Thank you!!!!
This is a fun topic to touch on- Succession planting!! What's that? Why do you do it? How does it benefit the CSA? Let me tell you ;)
We plant everything multiple times! Succession planting is a common practice in our industry. It's where we plant the same produce varieties multiple times so that our harvest and yield is consistent and never trails off. Cucumber plants that are planted in May aren't going to produce all the way through Sept. at the same volume. The same can be said for zucchini, pickles, green beans, and many more varieties.
Beans that we planted in the spring won't continue to produce through the fall, so we plant them THREE SEPARATE TIMES! We love beans! And want them to be around for as long as possible (you too?!)
Beans, zucchini, cucumbers, muskmelons, broccoli, cauliflower, so. many. more. varieties are planted several times every season. It's not exactly clock work though, because the weather determines a lot of when we're seeding, transplanting (from the trays into the fields), etc. The picture above was taken in our driveway. Where Ben is keeping all of his baby plants, lol, right next to the house so we're able to monitor their moisture all day long. In cells this size, they're being watered multiple times a day! If you're a home gardener- plant some more goodies now and show everyone you're a pro when you're still harvesting cukes into the end of September!!
Many of you know that we are raising piggies this season! It's a lot of fun learning about these animals and their husbandry. How they work, what the like, and how the play together! They LOVE the sprinkler. If I turn it on and approach the fencing at all they'll come running. Literally. Ever see a pig run?! Their legs are so short it's actually pretty comical. They just love it though, and we have it running for several hours every afternoon!! These piggies get treats (all veggies!), they have free choice food so it's available around the clock, they even have toys. Yes! They have a couple of balls they play with and push back and forth together. Plus, this new addition to their run that's all green and fertile, provides a lot of fun rooting and digging around the pen. This picture was taken a couple weeks ago, so there isn't as much green grass anymore. But this is still their favorite spot of their double-pen!!
We got rain!! And plenty of it!! We have been in a drought here for weeks and went for a whole month without rain. Now that we have had the rain, we're good for a while ;P We had a DOWNPOUR. Like it was so bad that the tent we wash our produce under almost collapsed from the weight of the rain. Though every other time it's just rolled off, this time it came down so fast it almost took down the whole tent! Again, nothing to complain about here folks. We needed the rain so bad!!
There are a lot of things that are going really well this spring. The tomatoes are growing wonderfully, we even have plenty of little maters on the plants in addition to huge clusters of flowers. The plants are healthy and growing fast! I can say the same for the melons. They grew in so fast between the rows that we're not even able to cultivate there anymore. Now we'll need to go in with hoes and hand tools to clear out weeds between the rows. Nothing to complain about though, that's for sure. The melon plants look great and they're super healthy!!
The peppers pictured below are also doing great. They're just about where we'd expect them to be. Ben has been running the push tiller between the rows here and then as you can see he has to pluck out "volunteer" squash plants as we call them because they can't be in the peppers. With their vines they'd totally overcome the peppers. So while we welcome healthy squash plants, they need to stay in the squash patch ;P Another thing is that we don't know what kind of squash will come off of these plants. Cross pollination can result in different varieties mixing so the pie pumpkins might look like acorn squash but have the texture of sweet dumpling squash. Does that make sense? As far as offering a consistent product, we can't keep these volunteer plants.
We thought that the corn would be ready for this week but I was wrong :( I'm sorry guys! It's SO close!! Next week we will be able to offer you corn for certain!! This week we do have something fun that we weren't expecting though... sugar snap peas!!
For this week in the CSA Shares:
The Jumbo & Family Shares will get: Kohlrabi, Romaine, Buttercrunch, White Icicle Radishes,
Swiss Chard, and Sugar Snap Peas!!
The Single Shares will get: Kohlrabi, Romaine, Buttercrunch, Swiss Chard, Sugar Snap Peas & Zucchini!!
In a CSA it's normal to see the same varieties for a couple weeks at a time because we're planting enough for a couple weeks in a single planting. That way, we're able to harvest the biggest of the kohlrabi for example, leaving enough plants to keep growing until the following week when they're just as big as the first week. Read that again, it sounds confusing I apologize! The first planting is all of the seeds being started and transplanted in unison. None of the plants have been out in the field longer than the others, but they naturally grow at different rates. We don't have space for a fall planting of Kohlrabi- so once it's gone this spring, that's it for the season. Unless we can find more space as other patches phase out (though most of that space is already spoken for). So this could be the last of it for the season folks!
I apologize if you're thinking wow, more lettuces! But I can tell you that within the next couple weeks you won't see lettuce again this season. A few varieties of greens, yes, but no more lettuces. It's part of the natural ebb and flow of the farm season- varieties come into harvest quickly and are done being harvested just as quickly. We have worked through a lot of the red buttercrunch, so I imagine we'll be transitioning to the green buttercrunch this week sometime; in addition to the green romaine.
Sugar snap peas are one of the varieties that we usually aren't able to include more than once or twice a season. Ben will be reseeding these (succession planting!!) late this summer so we can hopefully harvest these again for the fall. Peas are very finicky, mostly because the plants are so delicate and fragile in the beginning. They're also direct seeded, so they're not started in trays (like the ones shown above), they're planted directly into the ground. To store these, make sure to get them in the fridge. We keep ours in the plastic bag that they'll come in and we try to use them within a few days of harvest. They do loose their sweetness over time, so eating them sooner than later will be helpful for your culinary adventures this week!
Icicle Radishes! We didn't know if these were going to come up or not. We also seeded the red radishes a few days earlier and those never came up, they were basically fried out of the soil because of the 30+ day drought. The icicle radishes did end up germinating, while the red radishes didn't. The icicles were in a spot where we could water them a bit in their germination process while the reds weren't close enough for us to give them water and we did have to direct the water towards the bigger crops like cukes. These radishes are more mild than their red counterparts so they still have the nice crisp texture but the don't have as much of a peppery taste. The greens are also edible!
Zucchini! This is the first harvest of the season. That means that it's just gearing up- just starting out. We harvested for the first time this morning and got 9 cases!!That's quite a few for the first harvest! Though we did have to throw out about 1.5 cases for ones that were really big or damaged in some way. These first few harvests of zucchini aren't always super straight, some of them are curved like a crescent moon or banana.
OMG LOOK HOW CUTE BEN IS!!! He sent me this picture this morning, knowing I'm working on the blog and waiting to hear if the zucchini will produce enough for some of the CSA Shares. He called right afterwards... did you see my picture?!
I am sorry for some who were looking for this email last night. I usually will be able to post it on Fridays during the season but in this case we were waiting on harvesting the zucchinis to see if they were ready for shares this week! I.e. producing enough to be able to add them to the CSA list.
I hope that all of you have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend!! It's a blessed time to spend with our family and friends, looks like wonderful weather too! Ben and I are working today but we are planning on sneaking away for a few hours tomorrow to hit the lake with family <3
Happy Independence Day!! Stay well friends,
~The Farmer's Wife