Saturday, May 31, 2008

June 4

This Saturday, June 7th, is our CSA orientation and Farm Tour. If you can't make it, there will be plenty of time throughout the season to stroll through the fields and the pasture and meet all the animals and someone is always around to answer any questions that may come up for you. The following blog posting has details that will help make the first pick up week flow smoothly.

If you can make it.....Saturday, June 7th starting at 10 we will take a walking tour of the farm and then review the basics of CSA pickup and membership.

This edition of the Broadturn Broadside is being sent out a little early so that everyone will hopefully will be ready to pick up their share on either Tuesday or Friday of next week, June 10th and 13th. The first few weeks of pick up are learning experiences for most of us. Don't hesitate to ask questions of any of us. In general, this is how things will work out:
  1. Drive out to the farm. You are either coming out on Tuesday or Friday between the hours of 1:00 and 6:00pm (if you are a P.U.G.M.e. --Pick Up Group Member-- make sure someone from your group is driving out).
  2. Instead of parking in our driveway which would get way too crowded, pull in to our parking area, off of Hanson Road. Follow the road in and park as close to the other vehicles as you can. This is good practice this week, because in 2 weeks farm camp will start, and there will be more cars!
  3. From the parking area, find your way up to the barn ell, the door of which is close to the greenhouse. You'll pass a few different garden spaces, including the children's garden. Don't touch anything that looks like an electric fence!
  4. In the ell you will see a table with this week's offerings. There will be also a chalk board indicating items and quantities available. For example, the chalk board might say, 1 bunch of Cilantro; .5 pounds Spinach; 1 head of lettuce... For the items that require being weighed, gather some of the item and take it to the scale which is also on the table.
  5. Take the specified quantity of produce and put it in the bags/basket/box that you brought with you. If you forgot to bring a bag, there should be one for you to use-- but not enough for everyone! Help us in this recycling/reducing/reusing effort by bringing your own bags, and/or contributing plastic or paper bags that you might have in your closet at home. If you are picking up for a PUGMe, there will be bags available to use this week, but as a group, you all should make a plan for bags/boxes/baskets.
  6. Eggs are available for sale on a first come/first served basis.
  7. If you see John, Stacy, Tim, Toto, Clare, Ariana, or Amanda, introduce yourself! We have seen a lot of new faces in the past few months, and we have lots of names on our lists, so it will take a little while (like all season potentially) for us to remember exactly who everyone is. Don't take this personally-- it is our own flaw. We also have to keep in our memory the personality of over 75 different vegetable varieties, let alone the 100+ members this year! Rest assured that if you keep showing up, we'll get to know you well.
  8. Visit with the farm animals. This is of course optional, but here are some guidelines: Don't touch the electric fence, and communicate this to kids and friends. The fences will not fry you, but they will give you a zap that will make you not want to get zapped again. Some fences are USUALLY off-- like the deer fence around the main garden, and the poultry netting-- but treat them as if they were on. Don't worry about escaped chickens, they mostly stay out of trouble and find their way back in eventually. (If any other animal is on the loose, just let us know and we'll take care of it!) There are lambs, pigs, little turkeys, a year old calf, his mother Dulcie and chickens. Please be extra careful and if you see anything at all that looks potentially dangerous, let us know about it immediately. Keep your children close to you at all times. Thanks for understanding.
  9. Take your share home and enjoy a simple small meal with the knowledge that the season is early, and there is not a tremendous amount of vegetables coming out of the garden yet.
This coming week's harvest will include:
Lettuce Sorrel Rhubarb Chives with blossoms Pak Choi Mint Arugala

We will be sending out a separate email with pickup group listings and a list of which shareholders will be picking up on which days. Please look for that email and let us know if you are having trouble receiving our email notices.

Volunteering on the farm....The best days to volunteer are harvest days, Tuesday and Friday mornings. We start work on the harvest at 7AM and finish by noon. We welcome you to join us for lunch afterwards, but please remember to bring something to contribute to the meal.

The other regular opportunity for volunteering happens on Saturday mornings from 8AM-12PM. We encourage you to call or email in advance to let us know you will be joining us.

We will periodically host work parties for large projects like mulching, hilling potatoes and digging potatoes.


Rain has finally decided to fall on the dry soil at Broadturn Farm. These weekend showers are still hit or miss, but it is the first precipitation in about 4 weeks. A good Spring needs about an inch of rain every week and this past month of dry, windy days (though I'm sure its good for those less connected to growing food) has hurt the farm and been problematic for the coming harvests. Peas we planted last month are still just a few inches off the ground. Seeds have had to depend on less than perfect irrigation to sprout. Transplants go from greenhouse paradise into desert-like sandy soil. And to top it off, our mouths are gritty from planting into the dust. But, here comes the rain...
Right on top of the bare-roof of our new cabins... Not much weather-wise has been cooperating with us this season.
You might ask what we do for irrigation in a dry summer. This being only the second season, we are working madly at building infrastructure at the farm. Last year we were blessed by very favorable weather, and we got through the season without pulling out too many garden hoses. Nevertheless, all water came directly from a household water spicket, as it still does now. Irrigation, greenhouse watering, livestock watering troughs... In some ways this experience is a testament to how little infrastructure you really need to grow a lot of food. However, it is also crazy-making with hundreds of feet of hose, lots of repair kits, and prayers for good old fashion rain. In season 2, our goal is to make a dent in the infrastructure needed to run a small farm. Here is a run of underground irrigation pipes leading out to the flower field.
"Small farm infrastructure" itself presents a problem. We have always fell squarely between home garden-scale and large farm-scale, and the industry is such that there is not enough of a market for this kind of equipment. The tractors for this scale farming went out of production decades ago; small scale irrigation systems got bigger; and distributors and companies devoted to manufacturing small farm equipment in general left the North East, went out of business, or entered niche-market status.
However, some people, far removed from agri-business, refuse to be discouraged. Broadturn Farm recently became the proud new home of one such bright spot. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce... the Future:

This is a quadractor. One of only about a hundred in a production line that began and ended in the late 70's. According to the Mother Earth News article that reviewed it (1979), the Vermont company that developed it had the needs of small scale farmers and woodlot owners in mind. Not mentioned in the article is how the business tanked a few years later due to poor management. There remains a cult-like following (a small cult) around this machine, with the expectation that despite a rocky start, the quadractor is bound for glory. If anyone out there wants to take a look at it, we have no doubts that with a some tinkering this little wonder will be the appropriate technology that takes us onward (unless there is a cinder block in the way.)

We look forward to seeing everyone this weekend!

Blessings on the meal,
John and Stacy


  1. What an amazing post! We are all very excited about joining the CSA this year and the girls are anxious to help out around the farm.

    I'm sorry the weather hasn't been cooperative this spring -- what a lot of work for all of you.

    The quadractor looks very cool. Bru is a big tinkerer and does most of the work on our cars so do let us know if you need any help.

    See you on Saturday!
    Betsy, Bruce, Lily and Alice

  2. Hi John and Stacy,
    I wasn't able to come to the meeting today, but enjoyed reading the blog post. You are fighting the good fight! What a wonderful example of holistic farming you are putting together.

    Maybe you heard that U. Utah Phillips died last week. He was an anarchist, singer/ songwriter/ story teller extraordinaire. Amy Goodman had a great story about him on Democracy Now! on 5/27/08. Available to see on the web. I will have to come and see your Quadractor! Where did you track that down?
    Brad B-N.

  3. john, i have no idea what that machine is or what you are trying to move/pull with it, but we all rolled around on the floor with laughter :)
    so excited for our first pickup today!!
    the mayes family