Sunday, June 14, 2009

First Distribution of 2009

There are sentinel moments from your childhood. Spring rains and the taste of the first strawberries of the season are two that never age.

This coming week proves to be a busy one. We will welcome our Produce CSA customers for the first distribution of the season. The strawberry fields are almost ready to be opened for pick-your-own customers....we think maybe Wednesday, but we'll update the website and the answering machine with updates. And, our new timber frame building, a kitchen and break space for the interns, is ready to be raised on the slab. Watching the timber-framers cut the joints has been fascinating, but seeing the whole building raised will warm our hearts as we marvel at their skill and craftsmanship.

The pigs have moved out of the barn and into the woods, near the entrance to the farm on Hanson Rd. They are happy with their new surroundings and love to race through the brush after each other.

Finally, after 3 years, we have a sign for the farm! John painted the sign this winter and Ben- our intern, and Josh- one of our work-share members for the season, took on the task of erecting the sign on Friday. (that's the camera that's crooked-- not the sign.)

This week's share will include:
  • A tomato seedling
  • arugula
  • lettuce
  • rhubarb
  • strawberries
  • sorrel
  • radishes

We always feel stressed that the season's first few distributions are so slim. We talk to our CSA farmer friends about when they will start distributions, what will be in the share and what they have coming on in the garden. Here's what we've been learning....
  1. Cutworms are an emerging pest for the Maine region that causes early spring planting to be effected. The cutworms munch the stems of the newly planted seedling transplants. The only effective management is to dig around each seedling to find and destroy the worm or plant later in the season when the lifecycle of the cutworm reaches the pupae phase, ending their incessant munching.
  2. Flea beetles love brassicas (arugula, broccoli raab, cabbage, etc...) in the spring and make the leaves look like Swiss cheese. The best method to manage the flea beetle is to cover the crops with floating row cover or plant later in the season when the detrimental effects of the flea beetle are lessened.
  3. We are slaves to the weather. Hot days encourage bolting of cool, spring crops. Sometimes, crops we thought we would have for the first distribution will bolt if the temperature is too high. For example, when we have a few days in the 90's in May, the plants are stressed into bolting. Bolting is the process of sending up flowers to set seed. When plants are stressed they respond by trying to reproduce. This is the natural cycle attempting to continue to proliferate a species by making sure seed is set before the plant dies, ensuring another generation. As beautiful as this cycle is in it's simplicity, it can forever confound the farmer. Farmer's are essentially attempting to manipulate nature to grow food.
With all this said, let me add that the shares continue to increase in size and amount throughout the season. We strive to include lettuce in each share and coax the garden to grow a variety of crops.

So, for the next few weeks, enjoy the taste of spring greens and strawberries as the peas and summer squash mature.

We look forward to seeing you all for the first distribution this week and we thank you for your implicit support for local, organic farming.

Blessings on the meal,
Stacy and John


  1. Thank you for the lovely tour today we had a great time despite the rain! We are looking forward to our weekly visits. Eliot won't stop talking about the pigs.

  2. I thought the share was generous and lovely, thanks so much Farmers!