The good, the great and the worrisome.
I hope everyone is well going into the long Memorial Day weekend! I do have some awesome news but I'll start with the worrisome first. I should tell you that I've been waiting several days to send out this email, waiting with my fingers crossed that the weather would take another turn (but this time, for the better).
You'd think by this time of the year we'd have consistent temperatures but MN had another idea in mind. To summarize the image below, we're actually under a frost warning for tonight & tomorrow night. Yes, FROST.
When we see frost advisories we also take a few other things into consideration besides the air temp. Cloud cover, wind speed and precipitation also make a difference. If it's cloudy overnight, it never gets as cold as if the sky was clear. If it's raining, nothing will freeze. If it's not raining but it's cloudy, there is a very low chance any produce would freeze. If it is a clear night sky with no rain in the forecast and no wind, you can find me hiding under my bed in tears!!
OK so all joking aside because this really is very serious and we are genuinely concerned. I'll tell you why we're not helpless.
We just ordered row cover and Ben is picking it up now. That's a very light almost fabric feeling "cloth" that can be pulled over the top of fields and weighted down. Knowing that we've never used this before on our own farm we went out and actually measured the row width and counted #'s of rows. You'd think it'd be easier to calculate, but the transplanter rows are 4.5 feet wide on center (all the tomatoes) and then all the peppers we planted on mulch are 8 feet to the outside of 2 rows- so a lot of calculations going on. (Remember that one math lesson in school you swore you'd never use as an adult? That was this one for us lol!
Dimensions of the ones we bought were 12 foot by 1,000 foot, 26 feet by 500 feet, and 35 feet by 500 feet. We need to go and gather rocks and bricks so we're ready for tonight because we will certainly need to use the row cover. We have to weight it down throughout so it doesn't fly away or rip in the wind. Ironic considering we've been picking rocks all season and throwing them into the woods along the field... now we need them spaced out in the field; to the woods we go. This amount of row cover will cover the tomatoes & peppers.
We can't cover everything that we have planted already; not even close. Guys, I don't like sharing the whole dollars and cents aspect to farming but I really want to put this in terms of what we're willing to do for our crop.. the potential frost tonight is going to cost us over $2,000 just in preparations for "what ifs". Seriously. And it's worth every penny!!
In addition to the row covers, we are also going to be buying painters poly to cover the cucumbers and zucchini that were planted about a week ago. This is more of a gamble, but the store we buy our supplies from literally doesn't have anymore row cover. That's why we had to buy so many goofy sizes (that I listed above). It's because their inventory is getting wiped out (and we called and reserved this on Monday!!). I can guarantee painter's poly is better than nothing.
We called off the whole planting crew for the past two days. We have 5 people come out every day and work with us but we figured we need to hold off on planting until after the threat of frost passes. The safest place for these plants is in the greenhouse right now, though some are getting too big for their cells and should be transplanted soon for best health. A couple days won't make that big of a difference as far as their size; but even if it did we would still rather wait and not plant them just to protect them from potential disaster.
WHEW that was a lot to explain. But like I said, we aren't helpless. We're ready to bust ass this evening after the wind goes down. Pray for the fields if you will, or send good vibes, or whatever happy thoughts you're willing please!! The only thing we can do now is wait to see how the forecast changes; which it does constantly. Fingers crossed!
Now we can continue to our good news- which is actually very plentiful!! I should start by telling you that there are a lot of crops in the ground that won't be harmed by the frost at all as long it doesn't get down past 25 which it's not supposed to get anywhere near. The most important crops right now are tomatoes & peppers and we've got a solid plan in place for them.
Yes, finally!! We have been working with a MN company to help us make our apparel. Shirts, sweat shirts, jackets, travel coffee mugs & reusable shopping bags! I made sure to get a variety of baby/kid items in the online store as well so we can get our whole farmily some fun options. Just wait for the awesome Christmas pictures this year guys, you'll see.
We will have the store open for 2 weeks. You can go online and order whatever you want through the webpage they made for us, which is linked below. It seems like a short amount of time to have an online store but the way it works is they actually print all of your shirts to order. This is how we can get such a great variety of styles & brands too. You'll notice there are some Nike shirts in the mix there and also the breathable polyester in a few brands.
So at the end of this 2 week time frame they'll print all of your orders and ship your orders directly to you. The online store closes on June 4th!!
Here is the link to the online store:
All of our pigs have been spoken for this season. We are positively overwhelmed with your response to our newest adventure together, THANK YOU!!!
As many of you know, this is our first season raising and selling pigs from the farm. We've raised them in the past for ourselves but never on this scale. We have 15 pigs right now and look forward to considering raising more for next season. We do have more area we can fence, and a lot more fencing to repurpose. Ideally we'd like to get everyone pork who is interested in it.
We have a waiting list for next season's pigs already. I can guarantee you won't be able to get a pig next season if you don't get your name on the list; as of now, there are almost 40 people on the waiting list and at a certain point we have to cut it off because we don't want to disappoint anyone.
If you think you'll want a pig next season please put your name on the list so I can notify you of the opportunity when we have the details this fall. The link to the pork page where you can get your name on the list for 2022 pigs:
As you can see from the picture below, they make quick work of digging up the roots and clearing greens!! The area in the fence here that you can see is bare was all lush tall grasses and wildflowers until they got in there. It took about 2 weeks to clear this whole space! So we're building them an addition to their palace this weekend ;)
This applies to everyone in our CSA Program.
We do allow for our Members to switch sites throughout the season. What if you move, or your lease is up, you got a new job and commute a different direction? We're happy to make this as easy as possible for you and we're willing to allow site changes throughout the season.
The only exception to being able to change your site is right at the beginning of the season. We will put a hold on changing sites from June 2nd to July 12th. The reason for it is because there are a lot of logistics that go along with having 30 CSA delivery sites, 4 delivery routes all on different days, check lists, email lists, harvest calendars for Ben & hundreds of CSA Members. The beginning of the season is the hardest because we're double checking everything, ten times over again haha! We want to make sure it all runs smoothly. That being said we need the proper time to make all of our plans.
If you want to switch your site, be sure to do it before next week Wed June 2nd. When we open up the opportunity to switch sites again on July 12th, we'll have it open for the remainder of the season and there won't be any restrictions.
WE WILL BE IN TOUCH
We will be monitoring the weather very closely over the next couple of days and protecting our plants where we can. This "our" also includes you- this is your food too!! We want you to be in the loop and we sincerely appreciate your interest in our CSA Share and our farm overall. It's very rewarding knowing who we're growing for!!
I do want to mention that I won't be posting right away Saturday morning (after the threat of frost has mostly passed). In our experience it'll take a couple days to truly see what happened or if anything was damaged. It would be obvious through coloration, plants dropping leaves or having a translucent appearance. So allow us to assess everything for a couple days. I plan to post to the blog next week again with some more updates.
We have less than one month until our first shared harvest together folks!! Our first harvest will be Monday June 21st. Depending on which CSA site you chose to pick up from your first day for your CSA will be any day that week (Monday-Thursday). We have a lot to look forward to together!!
Stay well friends,
~The Farmer's Wife