CSA Week 22

This Week’s Harvest

Potatoes
Shallots
Broccoli
Tendersweet Cabbage
Daikon Radishes
Hakurei Turnips
Red Leaf Lettuce
Arugula
Spinach
Parsley
Butternut Squash
Green Bell Peppers

Fruit Share: Fuji (lighter red, sweet eating apple) and Winesap ( darker red, tart, crisp eating or cooking apple) apples from Downing Fruit Farm.

Farm News

This harvest wraps up the CSA for 2015, a season that has proven to be our most difficult yet. This was the first season that really felt like we used the “shared risk” aspect of the CSA model. If you aren’t familiar, it is a cornerstone of Community Supported Agriculture and what sets CSA apart from other food distribution models. Farming is a risky business — droughts or floods could happen any season as well as blights which can all lead to crop failures – and having subscribers to the farm who pay in advance helps farmers not bare all the risks. Ideally, members could also share in the bounty of any given season. It’s our job as farmers to strive for bounty every year.

Over the past 8 seasons (especially the more recent years with more experience under our belts), our seasons have been pretty successful with no major casatrophies. We felt happy about every box leaving the farm. This year, however, came with a lot of challenges that honestly had us questioning our abilities as farmers.

It rained constantly during a really inopportune  time– smack dab in the middle of the planting AND growing season. We had to pitch hundreds of seedlings who had outgrown their cell packs and had nowhere to go. We lost kale and carrot plantings and our entire sweet potato crop to overly saturated soil. We lost salad mix, bean plantings and more carrot plantings to weeds because it was too wet for us to cultivate. Our winter squash was essentially a crop  failure because it was too late in the season for them to mature by the time we were able to plant. The squash you received was smaller than we expect and our pie pumpkins didn’t make it all. Sweet corn plantings were littered with problems as well.

The season started off so promising with lovely crops in June
The season started off so promising with lovely crops in June
Despite soggy conditions, some crops preformed really well for us, like our Striped German tomatoes
Despite soggy conditions, some crops preformed really well for us, like our Striped German tomatoes
Newly planted seedlings get rain dumped on them
Newly planted seedlings get rain dumped on them
Despite raised beds, beets swimming in water
Despite raised beds, beets swimming in water
One of several rounds of flats that couldn't be planted because of rain
One of several rounds of flats that couldn’t be planted because of rain
Super weedy carrot beds have no chance of being rescued
Super weedy carrot beds have no chance of being rescued

 

So given the weather situation, it was our job as your farmers to adjust, make the most of the season, and pack full boxes. Our strategy was to plant a lot of relatively fast growing crops, like salad mix, beans, arugula and radishes. You may have noticed a lot of those crops in your boxes the past month! We, of course, love all vegetables and consider the amount of salad type vegetables you received as a success!

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Once it did dry out, we worked overtime to get the work that needed done, done!
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We planted lots of fast growing crops like arugula
Closed out the season with weed free and productive beds!
Closed out the season with weed free and productive beds!

 

Final planting of broccoli has us feeling like successful farmers again
Final planting of broccoli has us feeling like successful farmers again

Farmers are optimists. We love what we do. We love striving to do better and the never ending quest to master this occupation. We learned a ton this year and are confident moving forward. So we had a sweet potato failure this year- what do we go ahead and do? Triple our sweet potato slip order for 2016!

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for believing in the CSA concept and in us to deliver a great product.   We hope you enjoyed this adventure in local, seasonal and organic food production. Thank you!

Recipes

Turnip Puff

Scalloped Turnips and Potatoes

Daikon Fries

Pasta with Beans, Broccoli and Parsley Pesto (use shallot in place of scallions for the pesto)

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