“Maybe most important, farm food itself is totally different from what most people now think of as food: none of those colorful boxed and bagged products, precut, parboiled, ready to eat, and engineered to appeal to our basest desires. We were selling the opposite: naked, unprocessed food, two steps from the dirt.” ― Kristin Kimball, The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love

Hi Friends & Farm-ily,

We hope you are all happy and well and enjoying the first few weeks of Spring! Things have been chugging right along over here on the farm and as the days grow longer we’ve been keeping pretty busy. Getting back into the garden after winter is one of the most exciting times on the farm and we love it!  

Our first big field planting of the season happened last weekend during that lovely dry stretch (over 12,000 plants and over a 1/3 of an acre!).  And oh how lovely it was (hello sun on my face…)!  The first Spring kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage, chard, lettuce, spinach etc all made their transplanting debut.  Fava Beans were direct sown and the first field carrots (that we snuck in a few weeks ago) have come up in the field too which is pretty darn exciting. We even had a chance to weed them before the rains returned yesterday morning.

It’s officially “bunching” season! I picked over 650 bunches of veggies in 24 hours for this week’s winter CSA share (farmer B was hauling on the tractor working the field). 

That little bit of sunshine has us wanting more!  All our fingers and toes are crossed for more sun in the 10-day (although it’s looking pretty wet). We’ve got some ground prepped and some ground cover to lay down for strawberries but are waiting until after the forecasted high wind advisory on Saturday (so it doesn’t all blow away). So come rain or shine next week we’ll be planting lots of strawberries!

Depending on how much rain we get, we really need like 3+ days of sunshine in a row to dry out all the fields.  So far it’s been a much drier Winter/Spring than the record breaking one of 2017 which means we’ve been able to work the soil a lot earlier!   We’ve had a fair share of sun and it was even up in the 60’s on a few days.   The sun and warmer weather sure does put a pep in ones step and it feels good to out working in the fields. The high tunnels that were once full of Winter CSA goodies have been flipped (tilled) to grow Spring and Summer CSA veggies… we were able to plant a round of early potatoes, beets and peas just a few weeks ago.

Prepping the lower ground for the first time and the first big plant out of the season! 

Field prep is the big thing that needs to happen this time of year… Spring marks the time in the season where we can finally get out there to lime, fertilize and compost the farm.    Where we mow old crops, pasture and cover crops and begin the transition for planting new crops.  The past few weeks Brian and I have divided tasks in order to take full advantage of our weather windows. While I was busy harvesting for Winter CSA Brian was turning over new ground, mowing, tilling and prepping beds so that we could have the opportunity to plant.   Farmer B was even able to turn over some new ground (around 4 acres) that we’ve never planted in before (in the lowest most western corner of the farm) which is a pretty big deal.  We’re excited to grow down there for the very first time!

This season your farmers/farm feel like a well oiled machine. Having the ability to seize the moment when you have it is amazing. The new machinery we’ve purchased over the last 3 years is really starting to come together as we gain more experience and become more comfortable and proficient.   The soil itself is also becoming better with time (from the amending etc) which makes it easier to work at the beginning of the season.  So, we’ve been able to take full advantage – within reason of course as we’re only human 🙂 – of the drier weather!

We usually leave the remaining Winter Veggies to flower for the bees and other pollinators!  This picture also makes me think of this beautiful Mary Oliver Poem

So, while we’re waiting for the next sun break, we’ve been busy clearing the rest of the fields..  removing all the tomato trellises, t-posts, the first of the drip tape, landscape fabric, agribon row cover and sandbags.   There’s still a lot to be done but it feels great to get them done in these big pushes. I was also able to push through a pile of business paperwork, tax stuff, emails (all the exciting parts about running a business!) and it was really awesome to divide and conquer the last few weeks.

We have a pretty big list of seedlings to start this weekend (which is great timing with all the forecasted rain) as the next succession of planting has arrived!  Hundreds upon hundreds of trays have been filled and seeded over the last few months… most recently celery, celeriac, our next round of broccoli, beets, chicories, greens, bunching onions, peas, basil, herbs, lettuce etc.  It always feels really good to get some of the major crops (i.e. onions, celery, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant etc) that we only plant once a year.  After they get seeded into trays they go into the germination chamber where it’s a cozy, stable 80* with high humidity which gives the seeds the best chance at germinating.   Once the seedlings have germinated/start to emerge the trays are moved to the propagation house (that is passively heated by the sun) where they’ll continue to grow until they are planted later this Spring.   So that’s where we’ll be this weekend riding out the rain and wind storm.. seeding our little farmer hearts away!

The critters taking an afternoon nap and cleaning up these (stale seed bed/flame weeded) carrots with my custom made Tiny Tine™ courtesy of Farmer B. 

Know your farmers, know your food!  The Spring, Summer and Fall CSA is drawing near and we have less than a half dozen shares available for the 2018 CSA season!  Fun Note: We’ve also had more return members than ever before (more than 75%) which is pretty darn exciting!

Thank you to everyone who has shared the good word with their friends, family, neighbors, coworkers etc!  Help us get those last few shares filled by spreading the good word because it really does make 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 2018 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

We can’t wait for the 2018 growing season to start! Thank you to all of our amazing CSA members both new and old who have signed up for the 2018 Spring and Summer CSA season!

Winter CSA Reminder: Winter Weekly Share Members + Winter Bi-Weekly Share Members 2,4,6,8: we have just ONE pick up left for the Winter CSA Season (last pick up for Tuesday Members is on April 10th & Wednesday Members on April 11th).  

Be well, do all the sun dances, and root your farmers on!  It’s officially game time!

With kind regards,

your farmers

Jess & Brian

dirty hands, clean hearts