Sunday, October 12, 2008

Week 19

To close out the final CSA harvest week, we are hosting a work party to clean up the garden. Saturday, October 18th from 1-3, join us to clean up trellis, plant garlic and get the farm ready for winter. No tools needed, but a pair of work gloves is sometimes handy.

This week's harvest:
  • potatoes
  • onions
  • leeks
  • turnips
  • salad radishes
  • lettuce
  • kale
  • brussel sprouts
  • carrots
  • parsley
  • cabbage
  • winter squash medley
***Also, CHICKEN is available fresh this week! (Both stewing and roasting) And we have a few Thanksgiving turkeys left. One of us will be on hand to help out if you are interested in purchasing these DELICIOUS items.

Blue Hubbard artfully carved by John and looked beautiful all lit up!

One of the questions that probably runs through your head as you leave the farm and bring the produce into your kitchen is why those lazy farmers leave so much dirt on the root crops. Storage crops, such as potatoes and carrots, need to have a protective coating of dirt in order to store well. You can keep the potatoes and carrots bagged, dirty and cool and they will last you the better part of the winter. They can't handle freezing temperatures. Onions and squash will also hold in a cool environment. Don't feel rushed to use the storage crops right away. They are keepers.

It is helpful for us to receive feedback from our customers about the CSA program. We have developed an online survey for you to complete. You can access the survey at: Survey Monkey . When we think about the season, there are a few obvious crop failures that we are aware of, including: summer squash and zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower, and chard. The corn, as always, had a few worms and one member complained of it being too starchy. The weather always provides for some crop successes and other crop failures. The season started with a 4 week drought, culminated in a month of rain, and ends beautifully with dry, sunny days and an earlier frost than we can remember. (The amount of rain we had put this summer in the record books) The weather blesses us, frustrates us and brings us to our knees. Drought we can deal with by using irrigation, but excessive rain is a detriment. Tomatoes, squash, broccoli and cauliflower don't fair well with all that moisture. The wet environment breeds fungal and bacterial diseases that stress the plants. Some of this we can overcome with succession plantings, other losses can't be made up. Certain crops require a certain amount of heat and daylight hours to produce fruit, making a succession planting impossible if the timing in the season doesn't provide for the appropriate light and heat conditions.
Our self-evaluation tells us we will need to add more lime and organic matter to the soil before the next growing season. We are planning for the purchase of a manure spreader and beef cattle to produce manure for us for the 2010 season. The advance into grass-fed beef allows us to provide more pasture based products to our customers, while decreasing the need for inputs from off the farm for the garden and in the form of grain to feed livestock. Due to the high cost of grain, we'll be decreasing the laying hen flock and the number of pigs we raise. We can't find a way to make them pay for themselves. The goal is to have the farm be as self sustaining as possible....animals eat grass, provide manure, manure composts and gets spread into the garden, vegetables grow, excess produce is fed to pigs...and the cycle goes on. You can expect to be able to purchase lamb and beef in the 2010 season.
However, for 2009, we will be offering only vegetables as we develop our sheep flock and our beef herd. We'll still keep a few pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys and Dulcie, our dairy cow, but our focus will be on completing this sustainable farm based cycle.

This is a note from our friends at Wolf Pine Farm....if you want to eat local food throughout the season, consider contacting Amy for a winter CSA share. Wolf Pine Farm CSA in Alfred is collaborating with other farms to offer a Winter Share that begins on November 7th. Seven pickups, from November through February, will include local organic items such as winter storage veggies, greenhouse grown salad greens, and some fruits and eggs. Link to the brochure and application here: or just visit their website and follow the links from the home page: . Wolf Pine Farm will help Portland area shareholders connect to form driving co-ops to take turns picking up shares, contact Amy Sprague at 324-2357 for more details.

One of our favorite authors, Michael Pollan, was recently published in the Times and his piece is worth a few minutes of time.
Click here to read the article.You can also plan to hear him speak this month at Bates College.

As a final word, we want to thank you all infinitely for your kind words, support, volunteer time and great recipe ideas. Without you, our community, the CSA wouldn't exist. We farm in this community because we don't want to do this work without all of you. We love your weekly visits, your thoughtful ideas and your look of delight when you get to harvest carrots for the first time or beans for the first time since you were a kid. Thanks for a great season! Hope your winter tables are graced with a few onions from Broadturn Farm. Please remember to visit the farm, the pigs,

the laying hens, Stella

and us anytime this winter. The trails are great for hiking and skiing and the fall colors are a showstopper this week.

Blessings on the meal-

Stacy and John

No comments:

Post a Comment