Monday, October 27, 2008

Week 20

Well csa crew, it's almost over for the season. The weeks have flown by and it seems like yesterday when you were helping us put up the packing shed. We thought we'd go over some of the highs and lows. It's a good time to reflect on the summer of 2008 and discuss our hopes for 2009.

Crop Report Card:

The Spring Semester was full of beautiful greens; we still remember the crunch of big heads of lettuce. We had tons of cucumbers and summer squash from mid june through august. Spring time gave us the best radishes and bok choi and oodles of garlic scapes. The only spring crop that didn't meet our expectations was the snow peas which we never trellised and sort of lost. In early summer the PYO flower and herb garden really shaped up, we had Kat our herbalist wwoofer around to keep things under control and help folks find their way around. July brought beautiful broccoli and cauliflower and many people's favorite, purple cauliflower. We had excellent early summer carrots, though that seems like a distant memory as we lost most of our later carrot plantings.

Once the tomatoes and peppers started coming in July they were unstoppable. It wasn't quite as good a year for tomatoes and eggplant when compared to last year (too much rain in mid-summer) but the tomatoes were abundant and we learned a lot about which varieties people like (good old red) and don't like (white, yellow & weird). In August, the melons were drowned by rain, and while they were plentiful, most, with a few exceptions (yellow doll watermelon & sweetie honeydew) just weren't as tasty as last year. When the plants absorb too much rainwater, the sugars in the fruit get diluted, we had a lot of melons that looked lovely but tasted like cucumbers. The potatoes on the other hand were an amazing bumper crop, and we've heard form lots of folks who especially enjoyed the purple spuds. The garlic crop was great, and we saved most of it for replanting in order to grow even more next year. We had a bit of a mold scare with all the rain in August, but everything worked out and we ended up with enough for the CSA and about 5000 bigger cloves that we planted just a couple weeks ago.

The winter squash harvest was good, though yields were down from last year (due to the pesky summer rain and accompanying fungal issues). Again we learned more about our shareholder's varietal preferences, next year we'll plant more acorn and butternut and less of the big clunkers that seem to scare people. In the later weeks we had lots of husk cherries, apples, cabbage, beets (although small) and Brussels sprouts. The Brussels were particularly fulfilling as they had been a failure in 2007. We are proud to have had salad mix on the table every week for the entire season and I must say it is currently at its very best. This cool damp weather provides ideal conditions and there are thankfully few pests munching on the leaves.

The eggs have also been a great success, for the first few weeks in June we had a bit of a shortage, but once the girls started rolling, we consistently collected about 100 eggs a day with hardly any grain. It is incredible to think about the resources that are wasted in our society. By simply collecting foodwaste from a handful of restaurants in our little town, we were able to create approximately 10,000 eggs and make tons of compost which goes on to create tons of produce when applied to our fields. This is a beautiful synergistic example of a creative local food solution.

We thought we'd give everyone an opportunity to come by for an end of season vegetarian pot luck on Sunday November 9th from 3-6 PM. We'll be sharing a slide show from the season along with some Teleion Holon treats. We'll also give everyone eggs and salad greens to take home, a small token of our appreciation for all your support.

We still have lots of greens in the field and in our high tunnel so we are planning on selling eggs and salad greens self serve from the fridge in our house every Friday through December. Salad will be $4 for a half pound (we'll try to keep separate spicy and mild mixes) and we'll also have eggs for sale at $3/dozen. Come by Fridays at your convenience.

In other exciting news we are currently attempting to purchase some beautiful farmland near Manchester. With this land base we will be able to grow much more food, expand our CSA, and supply more markets. We have much more to learn, but we our hearts are deeply committed to feeding our neighbors. It is an incredible time to be doing this work and we need to invest now to meet the growing demand for safe local organic food. If you feel the spirit, you could help us by sharing your feedback on what being a part of our farm has meant to you (perhaps your words could soften up the loan officer tomorrow). Likewise we'd appreciate any feedback to help us improve for next year.

Finally, for anyone that hasn't noticed, Bonnie and I are expecting a new (very small) worker to join our farm sometime in early March. We look forward to introducing you all next season and promise to keep in touch.

With gratitude,