CBCSA Newsletter: September 21st Week B

It’s a Week B Pick-Up This Thursday, September 21st!

We still really need extra plastic bags,
please bring any extras you have to pick up this Thursday!

This week’s share:
-Carrots
-Sweet peppers or sweet corn (beware the worms; cut the tip off before removing the husk)
-Yellow and patty pan squashes
-Yellow onions
-Tomatoes
-Cilantro
-Chiles
-Salanova lettuce
-Collards
-Your choice of Swiss chard or Red Russian kale
-Your choice between beets, eggplants and cabbages.

Your fruit will be Paula Red apples. Bartlett pears, the Borden Farm’s apple cider, perhaps some plums, and more apples to come.

CSA News from Windflower Farm

Delivery #16, September 19 and 21, 2017

We have begun pulling the black plastic mulch from the vegetable beds that have stopped producing. We grow squashes, cucumbers, onions, and garlic, among other crops, on plastic mulch and those crops have run their course. The mulch suppresses weeds, conserves nutrients and water and helps warm the soil. Certified organic production in the USA requires the use of plastic mulch over the biodegradable mulch permitted in Canadian and European organics. The biodegradable mulch, which looks, feels and functions just like the plastic stuff, contains a small amount of petroleum, and the USDA has decided organic farmers should not use it. Instead, they would prefer we use plastic mulch and send it to a landfill. I’m not sure it’s the right tradeoff. Wanting to abide by the organic rules, we have been using the plastic product. But it is awful to pick up, expensive to dispose of and fills up landfills. I suspect that we’ll have a truly biodegradable product in the future. In the meantime, we’ll simply mulch less, or mulch with something else. Straw, perhaps, or a living mulch like ryegrass or clover.

A gentle and welcome rain has begun to fall just as we are wrapping up our day and we all got a little wet. Adam got wet taking out the compost – the detritus remaining from our vegetable processing – but he didn’t seem to mind. Nate got wet moving a tractor from behind the box truck. Don, our driver, is not really a morning person, and Nate thought he might not see it when pulling out in the morning. He was already wet from head to toe because he had been washing greens all day. Heidi got wet putting potting soil in a planter from home. Andrea was already wet. She had been washing tubs outside the processing shed when the rain began, and may not have even noticed. She has the best rain gear of anyone on the farm. The Medinas and their boys were working in the corn patch when the rain came. They came racing back to the barn in their old golf carts. It was quitting time anyway, and they saw no reason to get any more wet. But they didn’t seem to mind either – the day was unusually hot for September. Jan just came in the door. It had been raining much harder in Greenwich, where she was getting supplies, and she was disappointed in how little it appeared we’d get. “Just enough to keep the dust down.” We have been irrigating through much of the last two weeks, and she was hoping for a break. I got wet, too. We had come up short in our eggplant harvest, and I dashed out to pick another two dozen fruits. Happily, refreshingly wet. When it has been dry on your vegetable farm, rainfall is a relief. It is still raining – a fragrant, gentle rain – and it might just be enough. A rain to send our carrot roots deeper, and a little straighter. A rain for an afternoon nap.

Have a great week, Ted

This Week: Umbrella House Apothecary Visit!

New Date!: September 21st

On September 21st, Parker from Umbrella House Apothecary will be visiting distribution to offer samples, and sell her handmade herbal products including herbal teas, salves, and tinctures. She mostly uses herbs she grows herself in her NYC rooftop garden! Bring cash to purchase that day or pre-order from her website for pickup on Sept. 21.
https://umbrellahouseapothecary.wordpress.com/

On site she’ll have:
– Syrups:
– Elderberry Syrup
– Ginger Syrup
– Herbal Teas (packages of 1 dozen hand-prepared tea bags)
– Nerve Support tea (Nettles, Oats, Damiana, Lemon Balm)
– Immune Support tea (Hibiscus, Rose Hips, Mint, Astragalus)
– Lung Support tea (Mullein, Elecampane, Thyme, Tulsi, Eucalyptus, Licorice, Peppermint, Ginger)
– Extracts: Dandelion, Nettle, Bitters, Elder Flower, Burdock, Calendula, Passion Flower, Burdock, California Poppy, Lemon Balm
– Salves:
– Repair Salve (skin healing salve with Calendula, Comfrey, Plantain, Yarrow, Lavender)
– Chest Clearing Salve (Eucalyptus, Thyme, Lavender, Peppermint, Tea Tree Oil, Olive Oil, Shea Butter, Beeswax)
– Dry bulk herbs

A Jar of Umbrella House Apothecary Healing Slave

CBCSA Newsletter: September 14th Week A

It’s a Week A Pick-Up This Thursday, September 14th!

We still really need extra plastic bags,
please bring any extras you have to pick up this Thursday!

This week’s share:
-Carrots
-Dill
-Various Tomatoes
-Bicolor sweet corn
-Onions
-Potatoes
-Beans (in most cases)
-A mustard mix
-Your choice of kale or Swiss chard, and more. (Some makeup shares may be available for people who weren’t able to get one of the choices last week)

-Your fruit share will be Zeststar apples.

CSA News from Windflower Farm

Delivery #15, September 12 and 14, 2017

We are entering the final third of the CSA season. This is a transitional period at the farm. By the end of September, the crops of summer will have given way to the crops of fall. The cool weather will make our tomatoes and basil disappear first, and then our beans and sweet corn. Frost typically arrives here in the last week of September and, by October, shares become dominated by winter squashes, root crops and hardy greens.

What’s to come in the weeks ahead? Beets and cabbage (along with eggplant) will continue to show up as a weekly choice (has that been working out?), and onions and potatoes will make regular appearances. After a late start, you can expect carrots to arrive every week, beginning this week. For now, we have summer squashes, but acorn and Delicata squashes will show up soon, once curing in the greenhouse has converted their starches into sugars. Butternuts, which require more time to mature, will arrive soon afterwards (we began harvesting them today). Leeks and sweet potatoes will be in your final four deliveries. They both need more time to attain the size we are looking for, and, in the case of the sweet potatoes, they also require a period of curing. Yesterday, we transplanted just over 25,000 seedlings, among the last we’ll put in the field this year. These will be the salad and cooking greens in your October shares and the first greens in the winter share. I’ll miss the crops of summer, but I enjoy fall weather and the foods that go with it.

We have seeded all of our winter greens in the greenhouse, and we’ll transplant them once we remove the tomato plants from our greenhouses and caterpillar tunnels and rework the soil.

We are currently getting three crops in place for next year: strawberries, onions and garlic. For strawberries, we’ve “harvested” the daughter plants – the plantlets at the end of the little runners you see in a strawberry field – and are now rooting them in the greenhouse. We’ll plant them in a week or so, mulch them in October to protect their crowns against frost heaving, ignore them until weeding in May, and harvest in June.

Like many garlic growers, we start over with fresh planting stock every couple of years. Garlic is susceptible to a number of problems caused by small creepy-crawlies like bulb mites and the fungus, Fusarium, and it’s a good idea to get a new start every so often. Ed Fraser, a master garlic grower, something that has come from years of attention to just one crop, is providing us with 300 lb of German White, a porcelain, and 200 lb of German Red, a spicy Rocambol. These are both “hardneck” garlic types, which means they produce their cloves around a central core from which a stalk of scapes emerges. Once we receive the garlic bulbs, we’ll break them into cloves, which we’ll plant right after the strawberries. The clove goes on to produce a new bulb in the year after it’s planted. And planting onions, the third crop we are putting in place for next year, follows immediately on the heels of garlic planting, and the technique is identical to that of garlic. The fall planting of onions is still relatively new here, but I’ve become a big fan. They perform better than spring-sown onions and the work takes place when things are beginning to slow down here instead of during the busy spring planting season.

Have a good week, Ted

Umbrella House Apothecary is Visiting!

A Jar of Umbrella House Apothecary Healing SlaveOn September 14th New Date! September 21st, Parker from Umbrella House Apothecary will be visiting distribution to offer samples, and selling her handmade herbal products including herbal teas, salves, and tinctures. She mostly uses herbs she grows herself in her NYC rooftop garden! Bring cash to purchase that day or pre-order from her website for pickup on Sept. 14.
https://umbrellahouseapothecary.wordpress.com/

CBCSA Newsletter: September 7th Week B

It’s a Week B Pick-Up This Thursday, September 7th!

We still really need extra plastic bags,
please bring any extras you have to pick up this Thursday!

This week’s share:
-Green and yellow wax beans
-Various Tomatoes
-Genovese Basil
-Bi-color sweet corn
-Red radishes
-Yellow onions
-Various chiles
-Cilantro
-A braising mix consisting of Tokyo Bekana, Hon Tsai Tai and Vitamin Green
-Your choice of Red Russian Kale, Koji, or Joi Choi
-Your choice of Cabbage, Beet, or Eggplant.

-Your fruit will be peaches from Yonder farm and our organic cantaloupes or watermelons.

Quick Notes:
The next Lewis Waite Delivery is Thursday, September 28th. Get your orders in tonight!

Please bring your own bags, or bring your excess plastic bags to donate to other share members.
Please also return all egg and fruit cartons so that we can give them back to the farm.

CSA News from Windflower Farm

Delivery #14, September 5 and 7, 2017

We get a CSA share at our house, and having spent three days vacationing along the Maine coast this long weekend, and having indulged in fair food the week before, we are glad to be back on a healthier, plant-based diet that is centered on the share we get at home. Next week’s vegetables will include some of the same, plus squashes, potatoes and carrots.

Your fruit will be peaches. Pete was unaware of the poor quality of last week’s fruit, and felt badly when I told him about them. Northern-grown peaches are hit and miss, and they are difficult to gauge at a glance. I ordered two boxes for women at our farm who intended to make preserves, and they were all of poor quality. It might have been the heavy rains they experienced just prior to harvest, or too cold a cooler just before shipping. He assured me that the smaller peaches you’ll get this week are of very good quality. Next week’s fruit share will include the season’s first apples.

This week in a snapshot: Today, Monday, we harvested, washed and packed for Tuesday’s deliveries. The weather is beautiful and now, in the mid-afternoon, while we have dry weather, we are weeding. Tomorrow, while Don and Naomi make deliveries, some of us will harvest in the morning, while others will transplant the last of our field greens, including lettuces, kales, Swiss chard and Asian greens. In the afternoon, once it begins to rain, we’ll clip and pack onions and seed winter greens in the greenhouse. On Wednesday, regardless of the weather, we’ll harvest, wash and pack for Thursday’s deliveries. On Thursday, while Don and Naomi make those deliveries, we’ll begin harvesting winter squashes, which we can do even though rain is expected. The delicata are already in, so we’ll move on to butternuts, acorns, buttercups, and pie pumpkins. On Friday, with wet weather still in the forecast, we’ll finish the winter squash harvest and then, if it’s not too muddy, we’ll dig potatoes. If it is too muddy, well, we’ll see. We always have a Plan B. Perhaps we’ll start pulling carrots for next week.

Best wishes, Ted

CBCSA Newsletter: August 31st Week A

It’s a Week A Pick-Up This Thursday, August 31st!

We still really need extra plastic bags,
please bring any extras you have to pick up this Thursday!

This week’s share:
-Yellow wax beans
-Yellow-fleshed potatoes
-Sweet peppers
-Yellow onions
-Your choice of Choy or Koji
-Sweet corn
-Tomatoes
-Basil (or chiles and cilantro, depending on your site)
-Salanova lettuce
-Your choice of Cabbage, Beet, or Eggplant.

-Your fruit will be peaches from Yonder farm and our organic cantaloupes or watermelons.

CSA News from Windflower Farm

Delivery #13, August 29 and 31, 2017
The Washington County Fair took place last week, and Jan, Nate and I snuck away on Wednesday afternoon for the draft animal show. When Jan was a child, she would ride on the backs of Ned and Nell, the large Belgian team they used to pull the maple sugaring wagon from sap bucket to sap bucket through the sugar bush, and she loves to watch the large animals work. Nate and I think we’d like a team, so we went to visit with some of the local teamsters. There were only two teams at the fair – a pair of Percherons and another of Halflingers – because horse farming has all but disappeared from the county. As their name suggests, Halflingers, at 14 hands, are smaller than other draft breeds, which makes them the better choice for a starter team. We think we might use horses to cultivate potatoes and pathways between mulched crops and to pull wagons. If we were to get a team, it would be for the simple joy of working with animals, and not to replace our tractors.

We suspended our animal-based diet for maple milkshakes, BBQ and fried dough, and walked through the farm implement exhibits and animal pavilions – poultry, pigs, and countless cows. This is dairy country, and prized stock from every farm is on display: big eyed black and white spotted Holsteins, brown and white spotted Brown Swiss, and brown Jerseys, the kind Jan grew up with. The beef cattle breeds – Angus and Hereford – were on display, too. I was reminded of the farm my mom and her four sisters grew up on in a place called Buffalo Prairie, along the Mississippi, where they raised black Angus cattle and hogs.

By Wednesday, most of the cut flowers and vegetables in the 4-H judging barn were looking pretty sad, but I found the produce of young Shelly McBride, age 11, including her blue ribbon-winning red cabbage, the largest I’d ever seen, to be beautiful and a little intimidating. She’d be quite a competitor if she decides to go into commercial vegetable farming. One can hope she’ll go straight into the slaw business.

Nate is interested in a small wool flock – perhaps Icelandic sheep or Angora or Cashmere goats – and we headed off to the wool barn. The rolling Washington County landscape is well suited to the pasture and hay crops that are central to raising livestock. Because we are not (ordinarily) meat eaters, we are limited in the ways we might become involved in livestock farming. We don’t know if a wool flock (that is, one that excludes meat) is economically viable, so, if we start, we’ll start small. The county fair is the place where agricultural entrepreneurs go to dream.

Have a great week, Ted

CBCSA Newsletter: August 24th Week B

It’s a Week B Pick up This Thursday, August 24th!

This week’s share is the first of the second half of the season:
-Potatoes
-Tomatoes
-‘Genovese’ Basil
-‘Salanova’ Lettuce
-White or Yellow Onions
-Green Snap Beans (Still Hand Picked!)
-Red Russian Kale
-Your Choice Between Beets, Cabbage, or Eggplant.
-Your Fruit: Peaches from Yonder Farm and Organic Melons from Windflower

CSA News from Windflower

Farm Delivery #12, August 22 and 24, 2017
My nephew, Adam, has been working with us this summer, and he is superb on my cultivating tractors. He lives on the farm with his partner, Laureal, and their son, Abe, in their tiny house. I don’t mean that they live in a small house – we live in one of those – but a bonafide tiny house on wheels. Adam built it himself last winter and pulled it over from Vermont with a borrowed pickup.

Everything they need fits within an 8 X 20’ rectangle – living room, eat-in kitchen, bathroom, and two bedrooms in the loft. Solar panels power their little home, a garden hose provides water, and a composting toilet completes the package. Clearly, living so lightly produces a pretty small carbon footprint. It was the most visited attraction during our open house on the farm. No 30-year mortgage for them, or participation in the attendant rat race, just some thrifty material sourcing, a lot of sweat equity, and most of several month’s wages.

As an example of Adam’s frugality, the floor of his tiny house is made from hardwood that was discarded when his old high school gymnasium was renovated. You can see foul line paint just in front of the kitchen sink. Because the tiny house can be pulled to any number of remote locations, they have been able to lay claim to the prettiest spot on the farm, well up the farm road, on a rise overlooking hills to the northwest and the setting sun.

Having spent the spring and summer cleaning out my parents old house (with some courage provided by a can or two of Six Point’s Resin, I tackled the attic last weekend), I can testify to the amount of baggage one might accumulate in a lifetime if one has the space in which to do so. Traveling light has a distinct appeal. With the popularity of the tiny house movement, Adam is thinking of trading his career in agriculture for one in tiny house construction. As his current employer, not to mention his uncle, I’ll do what I can to help him succeed, but I’ll miss how he handles my cultivators.

Have a great week, Ted