“Geese appear high over us, 
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon, 
as in love or sleep, holds 
them to their way, clear 
in the ancient faith: what we need 
is here. And we pray, not 
for new earth or heaven, but to be 
quiet in heart, and in eye, 
clear. What we need is here.” by Wendell Berry

Hi Friends & Farm-ily,

Here we grow Week 26!   Wow, it’s amazing that we’re just a few weeks away from the Thanksgiving holiday and we are more thankful than ever for the amazing community that comes together and makes our small CSA farm possible season after season.

It’s amazing how quickly the Fall season has passed by.. October was quite a slog but the welcomed mix of sun, clouds and rain has made November a much more pleasant environment for us to work in. We can recall so many detailed memories from the 2017 season. From opening the 2017 CSA registration last January to all the planning and hard work and bountiful harvests, the recipes, and inspiration… we somehow have made it to November.  Thank goodness for the seasons.. otherwise we would never know which way was up!  But one thing is for sure  – as we mentioned in last week’s newsletter – we’re deeply appreciative and impressed by all of our awesome CSA members.

Morning commute, our last field planting on the season and a halloween kitty posing while we cover winter plants with floating row cover (in the wind no less)..

We’re a community and a team and our success (both in the field and in the kitchen) depends on each other.  To grow the food, develop the tools, run with it and live happy and productive lives.  Each week we see, hear and witness the impact of eating seasonally, fresh and beyond organic.. which means more meals at home, stocking up the freezer, cooking meals with friends and family, feeling energized and maybe coming in a few notches on the ol’ belt .  Eating good food is a way of life… something that we believe in.  We wanted to thank you for believing in us and the food that we grow here on our farm.  Thank you for your dedication and commitment – you’ve been coming to pick up you share for the last 26 weeks (or 13 weeks for our bi-weekly members) on your pick up day and every week you are inspired, challenged and ready to bring it all home and make glorious things happen.  Thank you for sharing bits and pieces of your food journeys along the way.  You guys rock and we feel so thankful to have you as part of the farm-ily!

It truly has been an AMAZING harvest year for us (without a doubt our best season yet) throughout all the seasons – spring, summer and fall.  Our fall season shares have been averaging around 28-30 lbs with 14-18 different items in the share which means we’ve had quite the bounty!   Since we’ll be harvesting a double share for next week – the harvest will begin this week with storage crops!   We’re really looking forward to adding up our 2017 numbers for this week’s newsletter… here we grow!  THIS week is the FINAL PICK UP!  Check out the details below!  And a date to remember: Sign ups for the 2017 CSA season will open on January 1st!

Farmer Brian loves his new sign and the fall veggies have been on point!

THIS WEEK is the final pick up week of the Spring, Summer & Fall CSA Season!   Tuesday, November 14th OR Wednesday, the 15th depending on your assigned pick up day.

There will be a “Week 27″ share table and a “Week 28″ share table in the Member’s pick up area – be sure to check off your name and grab the appropriate share(s).

Weekly CSA Members will receive a double share (shares 27 & 28) to better prepare you for the Thanksgiving holiday (think storage crops!)  Be sure to bring a big enough vessel or enough bags to carry all your goodies home in.

Bi-Weekly Share Members All Bi-Weekly Share members will pick up next week. Depending on your assigned weeks, you will pick up either Share 27 (weeks 1,3,5,7 etc) OR Share 28 (weeks 2,4,6,8 etc)!  If there is any question, be sure to check your email to confirm which Share you will be picking up.

Casper Kale is beginning to show it’s true colors with the cold weather, Farmer B jumping for joy and Becca in the midst of a foggy harvest..

The month of November is here which means quieter days and longer nights.  How wonderful have those sunny and drier days been? So rejuvenating to be outside! The first week of November have been absolutely beautiful – a slight change of pace and weather has truly rejuvenated our spirits!  This past Sunday also brought daylight savings.  We love starting the day earlier and heading in earlier – by 6pm! – which means an early dinner and farmer bedtime for us (two thumbs up). The change of daylight hours has us slowly adapting into new schedules… getting to evening chores earlier – around 4:30pm and buttoning up last minute farm chores before losing the last moments of light.   Instead of chasing the sun during the peak of summer (to avoid the excess heat) we now make the most of the hours that we have from sun up to sun down. With the change of the season it automatically carves about 4 hours off of our typical work day which is a much welcomed change of pace.  We feel blessed to be able to enjoy both times of the year.

There is so much to look forward to as we move through November.  We’re continuing on our quest of bringing in storage crops for our winter CSA – the days are growing shorter and we’ve been chasing the sun – oh so much mud!

Our hearts and minds are gearing up for the 2017 season (there’s just so much to look forward to!) and now that November is here we are feeling ready to nest and write and look over notes and better prepare for the next growing season.   We spend a good part of each day talking about how we can move the business forward in a balanced direction, what kind of tools or infrastrtucture should we invest in as we pay closer attention to our bodies and work smarter. We always feel successful if we can get to Fall and still have energy to give to ourselves and the farm – which we’ve been able to do the last few seasons – which means things are always getting (growing) better!

This time of year is also a time for rejuvenation and inspiration in the kitchen and I’ve been cooking up a storm!  As you guys know we make it a priority to cook 3 meals a day even during the busy season. Eating well has a lot to do with how productive we’re able to be on the farm and we honestly don’t think we could keep up with everything if we didn’t eat well. Plus, it’s fun to create fresh homemade goodies and it’s delicious to boot. For inspiration, I often find myself online on the WHF Members Page to try out a few recipe suggestions there that were bookmarked in my mind.  A lot of the new recipes we try become house favorites and it’s been a very valuable resource for us farmers as well!

Talk about a “micro-manager”, the garlic is up and the pups taking in a brilliant sunset…

All throughout the season, the WHF CSA member’s page has been active and buzzing with many delicious recipes, helpful hints and encouragement. (Thank you to all our members for your continued participation and excellent efforts!) There is also a catalogue of recipes from 4 seasons of posting (so cool)!  Some of my favorite advice that one of our member’s gave a few seasons back (in their 5th season now) to a 1st year member is “Make friends with your knife, cutting board, sink, dish towel, salad spinner, stove, and oven. They aren’t instruments of drudgery, they are keys to liberation. The time you spend prepping and cooking food is time to think and be present in the moment–“mindfulness” is a free benefit of CSA membership, so take advantage and enjoy it!” (for the rest of her sage advice check out the week 2 newsletterWe hope all of our members have enjoyed this free benefit of membership not to mention the many delicious meals that have been created and savored in all 150+ households that our CSA program grows for.

For us, the Members Page is a really important component to our CSA. Hearing how everyone is utilizing all the fresh produce is an important part as it completes the circle. It acts as a window – in seeing how the fruits of our labour are being prepared. In the same way that our social media posts and newsletters provide a window into how your food is grown and harvested.   It’s part of the conversation that farmers love to be a part of but often times don’t get to experience.

In our own insecurity we wonder, “Is our produce being eaten? Are folks cooking more often? What are they making with the produce we have grown for them?” On the Facebook Members Page the conversation and experience continues well after the produce leaves the farm and the visual component really hits it home for us. The interaction and shared experience validates all the long hours and hard work we do. It shows that its worthwhile and the goals of the farm are being met because the food is being utilized and thoroughly enjoyed. This part of the experience is important to us… because beyond the delicious produce our CSA aims to improve our CSA members quality of life! We want to play a part in ensuring that they can live long, healthy lives and be productive members of society.  This interaction helps us to see that our goals are making a difference in our community. And it is you our members who are making the upfront investment for the betterment of us all! Pretty amazing stuff!

Mon Petit Choufleur, harvesting the first of the brussels and Becca and I harvesting roots in the frosty morning!

And this is the other reason why your farmers have energy this November.. The Members Page, the thoughtful emails and conversations, the CSA member’s day, the mindfulness, all of it inspires us and continues to fuel us through the 2017 season. We must have one of the few jobs in the world where folks come to us and tell us how grateful they are and how important our role is in this community and for that we are so grateful. That kind of support from our members gives us the fuel your farmers need to get the job done. It’s amazing how energized we feel even at the tail end of the season because we are growing better and have some seriously cream of the crop CSA members. This year more than any other year we feel connected to community and deeply rooted in our vision. It all feels like it is coming together and we couldn’t be more proud or encouraged of what our community and our farm are accomplishing.

Keep up the great work in the kitchen and keep sharing your experiences, recipes, etc. We hope you take a moment to reminisce about your first CSA share pick up of the season and how far you’ve come and all the beautiful meals you’ve enjoyed since then. A 28-week commitment is no small thing and we thank you all for choosing us as your farmers. Thank you for choosing to be a part of this farm and for investing in our small farm so it can provide the best possible food we can for you and your household.

CSA Shares 22, 23, 24 & 25

Proud Farmer moment: Over the course of 25 weeks, Brian and I have sown, grown, harvested and distributed over 87,000lbs of produce to our awesome CSA members. That puts us on track for distributing over 98,000 lbs for the 2017 summer season (that’s a whole lot of lifting, carrying, washing, displaying etc)! Brian and I love what we do and we couldn’t do it without the exceptional group of CSA members that has rallied around our farm. Thank you for believing in us and in your community.

We’ve distributed 725 lbs per weekly share which means by the end of the Spring/Summer CSA we will have distributed close to 815 lbs of food to each weekly share member. Which is a $1.48/lb for fresh, local, organic produce! All while supporting the vital ecosystem of this farm, two full time farmers by ensuring a livable wage, and the best possible produce you can find…Amazing!

This weekend we’ve been bringing in storage crops for our Winter CSA season.. celeriac, turnips, rutabaga, radishes, cabbage, celery etc!

Have a great week and enjoy the veggies!

With kind regards,

your farmers

Jess & Brian