Hi Friends & Farm-ily,

Welcome February! The ol’ groundhog – Punxsutawney Phil – did not see his shadow yesterday which means an early Spring is coming. And ol’ El nino ,with it’s crazy winter weather all around the states, seems to be telling us that is bringing an early Spring too – we shall see!    (Did you see that 2015 was the warmest year on record?!) All we know is that it sure has been lovely weather of late with some extra spring-like weather on the horizon (60’s and sunny next week?!) A break from the rain sure has been nice.. and just in time it seems as we’re all geared up to start the first of the 2016 seedlings in the propagation house in the next few days. Whoo hoo! Let the sowing begin! We’re so excited for the 2016 growing season!

February really is an exciting month on the farm as it’s a time for pushing many things forward on the farm.  It’s a month when we bring out ‘farmer ninja mode’ to the max.  A time where we’re feeling rested from the change of physical pace that winter brings and feeling extra inspired by the momentum of CSA sign ups, seed orders, planning etc…. and there’s oh-so-much planning to do!


Soil tests, crop planning, seed starting, tractor tune ups, building projects and more, oh my! One of the first things we like to do in February is get our custom made fertilizer for the garden all set to go. The first step to soil success is submitting our yearly soil test to A&L Labs which we happened to get back last week.  Next to seed orders this is seriously up there with Christmas!  How did we do?  What can we do better?  The challenges and possibilities that farming brings starts right here in the planning stages.   Our custom made organic fertilizer mix paired with the omri certified garden compost we’ve been using has really improved the soil over the past 3 years and it’s fun to see those previous seasons soil test results change in a positive way!   “If I grow good soil, I can forget about the vegetables.” – Nigel Walker It brings a big smile to these farmers faces to see the land become more productive over time and to see things truly thrive (it’s members and farmers included) from season to season.   This week we are working with a local lady soil guru on organic soil recommendations specifically for veggie production on our farm and look forward to feeding the soil and all of our wonderful members through our 7th growing season! Whoop whoop!

Feeding and building the nutrition in the soil and rotating all the 70+ different kinds of veggies we grow around the farm is so important (in order to combat disease and pests etc and make sure there is the right amount of nutrition to meet the needs of the many different crops that we grow).   We also need to plan out our successional crop plantings in order to have food for our members each and every week! It seems like a crazy amount of information to grow so many different crops for over 120 households for 7 months (+ 5 months of winter CSA) of the year which is why the systems we’ve created are so important for the two of us to run this ship smoothly.   We’re buttoning up the crop plans for the season and are really excited about the crops and varieties of veggies that we’re growing this year.  With all the hot weather 2015 brought we feel better prepared (mentally and physically) for whatever 2016 will throw at us. Nature waits for no one and the more experience we take on (high fives!) the better prepared we will be.


Tuning up the tractors to make sure everything is in working order is also at the top of February’s list.  Brian has been having fun tuning up and tending to the old 1953 Allis Chalmers G to get it in tip top running order as it won’t be long now before we’re spreading compost, making beds, and cultivating!   We even worked on it together one day and it was fun to problem solve with such an old piece of machinery (they definitely don’t make em like they used to!  and there sure isn’t a lot of helpful information to be found on the world wide web!)  Strawberry and onion plants will be here before you know it and although these two farmers might be a little soft and out of shape it’s nice feeling to know the tractors are rearing to go!

Farmer ninja mode begins when we’re bringing all the plans together.  In any given day you might start 5 different projects and finish one… the work is “never done” as we say but we’re also never bored.. so there’s that 😉  We are multi-tasking extraordinaire’s (or, trying to be!)  Starting seeds, prepping ground, mowing cover crops, prepping beds and setting down occultation covers in the garden – where weeds germinate in the warm, moist conditions created by the tarp but are then killed by the absence of light.  Thinking weeks and months ahead so that when May rolls around we are greeted with the first bountiful harvests of the Spring season.

And what kind of Spring would it be without anticipation of new life? We’ve got a new batch of layer chicks heading to the farm later this month as well as Tami’s first litter of piglets. It sure will be a sweet way to welcome the coming of Spring with new life.


And in the midst of the season that lies ahead, we are just a week away from the halfway point of the WHF Winter CSA! We can’t believe that this is the first season that we’ve grown through the Winter. We are seriously loving it and already talking about growing and making plans for next winter. We really do feel that it’s an amazing addition to the farm to provide produce through the shorter days of the year all while providing supplementary income to the farm that will help us achieve some balance in the crazy months of summer. We are big fans all around – eating delicious farm fresh veg in the winter – yes please! We definitely set a low expectation when we embarked on this journey last fall as the winter weather is more variable than other times of the year. Crop losses can happen from a hard freeze, disease pressure, bugs, etc…  and many of these things are out of your farmers control.  Also, keep your fingers crossed we applied for a grant through the NRSC’s EQUIP program for a couple new green houses for next winters veggie production!  We should find out if we will receive the grant in the next couple of months!

And we’ve had a pretty up and down winter as far as weather goes – we’ve had cold, and warm, sunny, and frozen, windy and rain – record breaking – rain.   Despite the variability in weather we have experienced many winter farming successes and has given us a greater perspective when it comes to growing in extreme conditions!  The shares have been larger than we expected – with 11-12 items in each week’s share – as opposed to the 5-10 that we were hoping for (whoop whoop!)   It’ll be fun to see what the rest of the Spring will bring!  It is February which is also the beginning of the “hungry gap” in the farming world.  “The hungry gap” is the “gardeners’ name for the period in spring when there is little or no fresh produce available from a vegetable garden or allotment. It usually starts when overwintered brassicavegetables such as brussels sprouts and winter cauliflowers and January King cabbages “bolt” (i.e. run up to flower) as the days get warmer and longer.”  We assure you, as always, that no one will go hungry at WHF as we have some amazing “over-wintering” crops that are just now beginning to produce after 200+ days of growing (so cool) among other fun things.    And as we’ve said before, you have gotten to know Brian and I, and our work ethic over the course of this season (and for the majority of you over several seasons) and you know we will do our very best to ensure you have food on your table all winter long!

2016 CSA Spring & Summer CSA!  Thank you to all of our amazing CSA members both new and old who have signed up for the 2016 Spring and Summer CSA season! We have just a few dozen shares available for the 2016 season so be sure to sign up quickly!  Keep spreading the good word because it makes all the difference. As a farm-ily member once said, “keep your friends close and you farmers closer.”


3 Steps to Signing Up:

  1. Read all about the 2016 CSA season
  2. Fill out the CSA Sign Up Form & Member Agreement
  3. Mail or drop off a Check or Make a Payment Online to reserve your share

All the best

your farmers

Jess & Brian

dirty hands, clean hearts