Saturday, November 19, Winter Distribution #1

The News from Windflower Farm

Thank you for joining us for the winter CSA season. We hope you enjoy the healthy farm fresh goodies that come your way during each of the next three months. We’ve closed our winter share signup site and tallied the numbers. We’ll be packing 430 boxes this winter, exceeding expectations. Thank you for your support of our work. Your first winter share will be delivered this Saturday, November 19th.

Your pick-up time and location is noted below:

Central Brooklyn CSA (1251 Dean St., 4:30 to 6:00)

The next winter share distributions will be on Saturday December 10th and January 7th.

Please note: 

  1. A friend, family member or neighbor can pick up your share for you if you are not able to make it to distribution. Please ask this person to sign-in under your name.
  2. Site hosts are not obliged to save shares for members who miss the distribution window. Any shares leftover after distribution will be donated to community fridges or food pantries and will help other community members in need. 
  3. The farm is not able to send you a make-up share if you miss a distribution. The farm will send your shares on the distribution dates only. 
  4. The farm will send you a newsletter a day or two before distribution. Please save these two emails to your preferred contacts list: windflowercsa@gmail.com and tedblomgren@gmail.com and check your SPAM folder if our newsletter does not make it into your inbox.
  5. Watch for updates from site hosts on social media. Many sites post updates about the share on Instagram and Facebook.

What’s in your box?

  • Red Russian kale, Lacinato kale and bok choy all packed in a plastic bag
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes packed in paper
  • Carrots, orange beets and ginger in a plastic bag
  • Yellow onions, shallots and the last of our garlic in a net bag
  • Borden Farm ‘Jonagold’ and ‘Empire’ apples packed in paper
  • Rosemary and butternut squash packed loose
  • Borden Farm apple cider packed separately

News from the farm

Jan and Nate made a fantastic soup from Soups On! called “Vietnamese Pho Real Bowl” using the ginger, bok choy, shallots and carrots in this month’s share. You’ll also need cilantro, mushrooms, rice or rice noodles and vegetable stock. Several variations can be found online.

A hard frost and our first snowstorm of the year arrived this week. Last week, temperatures were in the 60s, and I thought we might be harvesting spinach and ‘Premo’ kale from the field. Instead, we’ll be harvesting ‘Lacinato’ and ‘Red Russian’ kale and bok choy from our small “caterpillar” greenhouses. After a week’s break from the summer CSA schedule, we’ve reconvened this week to harvest Rosemary and greens and to sort and bag your storage vegetables. While everything in your share (apart from the fruit) is organically grown, and most is grown here, it is not all grown by us. The carrots in this month’s share were grown by friends Brian and Justine Denison. More will be in next month’s share along with some of their gorgeous celeriac.

Our cover crops have filled in, carpeting the farm in green ahead of the snow. Our winter greens have been covered against the cold, and our storage vegetables have been tucked away. The row covers we use to protect crops from the cold and winds and pest insects have been sorted – the good, the bad and the good enough – and tucked by the barn. Plastic mulches have been picked up, drip tape has been rolled up for re-use, farm equipment has been put away and broken gadgets placed by the workshop for repair. We are prepared for the cold season ahead. Our work is done. And now it’s time to kick back a little and to enjoy family and friends around the holiday table.

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving, Ted and Jan

Week of October 31, Distribution #22

The News from Windflower Farm

What’s in your share?

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Kale
  • Beets
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yellow onions
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Cabbage

It’s winter share signup time! Read more about it below or follow this link to sign up: Windflower Farm’s 2022-2023 Winter Share (wufoo.com).

The black locusts were in full bloom when we sent our first shares this year and now, just as we are to send our final shares, they are among the last trees in our hedgerow to lose their leaves, going from green to gold to brown in quick order this past week. It is Sunday and the farm team appears especially happy today. There are smiles all around. It’s 65 degrees and sunny, and the end of a long season is near. We have harvested in snow in previous Octobers; this fall we have enjoyed one lovely day after another. Wednesday, after harvesting and packing your final boxes, we’ll gather for tacos and tamales and then scatter, some of us for just a couple of weeks, and some of us until the spring.

This week’s share is your last of the season. The farm team and I would like to express our gratitude to you for being a part of our CSA this year. We hope that you’ve enjoyed the experience. We would like to especially thank the volunteers in your neighborhood whose organizational efforts make the CSA happen and enable our farm livelihoods. Consider joining the core group at your site.

I still hope to get around to producing a survey that asks for your feedback about this year’s CSA shares and your overall CSA experience. If I don’t, please send me an email with the thoughts or suggestions that you think will help us improve in the future. Thank you.

Consider signing up for a winter share if you’d like to continue getting Windflower Farm vegetables for the next few months. If you choose not to, we hope to see you in the spring!

Wishing you a healthy winter season, Ted and the Windflower Farm team

Winter share news

It’s winter share signup season! A few years back, my friends at the Stanton Street CSA in the Lower East Side introduced me to the idea of “vegetable fatigue,” which they say can occur any time beginning around week 18 or 20 in the CSA season. Vegetable fatigue is a lack of enthusiasm for dealing with fresh vegetables. I completely understand. Going out to eat is the only remedy. A week or two to clear out the refrigerator helps.

Nevertheless, at the risk of wearing out our welcome, we offer a winter share. We finished planting our winter greenhouses on Friday morning. These are the greens that fill out the winter share. In total, we’ve planted four caterpillar tunnels and three high tunnels to a mix of choy, various kales and spinach – that’s twenty-three 140’ beds of greens. Every month, shares include a large bag of greens.

The winter share consists of three monthly deliveries that will include approximately 2 lb. of our organically grown greens (including spinach, a variety of kales and bok choy) and 8-10 lb. of our storage vegetables (including carrots, red and yellow onions, winter squash, a variety of potatoes, beets, leeks, sweet potatoes, shallots, and more), along with 4-6 lb. of fruits, and either apple cider, Deb’s homemade jelly made from her organic berries or local honey – all packed to fit in a returnable box – for $174.00

This year, we will only be offering three monthly deliveries instead of four. We have fewer crops going into storage and our farm team would like some time off.

We are minimizing our use of PLASTIC BAGS! We’ll pack loose where we can and use paper bags where we need packaging. Our GOAL will be to use zero plastic bags, but, because we want your salad greens to arrive fresh and we don’t have an alternative to plastic, we may use one plastic bag per month.

OPTIONAL shares include the EGG SHARE and MAPLE SHARE from Davis Family Farm and a GRAIN SHARE from Hickory Wind Farm (please see the details below).

Our deliveries are timed to coincide with the deliveries made to your CSA pickup site by Lewis-Waite Farm.

Take care, Ted

Week of October 24, Distribution #21

The News from Windflower Farm

What’s in your share?

  • Butterhead lettuce
  • ‘Premo’ kale
  • Fingerling potatoes
  • Rosa di Milano onions
  • Rosemary or parsley
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Butternut squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Chiles
  • Ginger
  • Carrots (our own babies if they have tops)

Looking back at the list of items we’d delivered over the season, Andrea noticed that I miscounted the number of weeks that we sent fruit. We did not start in week #1 as per usual. And for those of you at our Thursday sites, you’ll get a double share to make up for a recent missed week. So, it is this week that we deliver our final fruit shares. The share, which comes from Borden’s Farm, is comprised of Honey Crisp and Ginger Gold apples, two of my favorites.

This is the last CSA delivery for those of you who purchased half shares and pickup on odd weeks. I want to thank you very much for being with us and hope you have enjoyed this year’s offerings. For everyone else, next week’s will be your last delivery of the season. Information about our winter share and a sign-up link can be found below.  

We dug half of the ginger over the weekend, and Nate, who takes the lead with ginger, is washing it as I write. We’ll send it this week and next. If you need an idea for how to use it, you can add it to your favorite Thai recipe, candy it or make sugar snap cookies. Or you might make a turmeric-ginger tea to help lessen the severity of a cold and to reduce inflammation. This is fresh ginger; it is not as strongly flavored as the “mother” plants you’d get from the Tropics, nor does it keep very long. If you don’t intend to use it soon, freeze it, after which you can grate it into soups or other dishes.

The fall crops are now all in. Over the course of this week and next, we’ll cover those crops with a winter cold barrier, and finish cleaning up the farm. We have a few small greenhouses to take down and hundreds of yards of irrigation line to organize and tuck away for next year. Next Friday, four of our team head to Mexico for the winter. Soon Daren will head off to Poland to help in a Ukrainian refugee relief program. Andrea and her new husband will visit family in Germany. And the rest of us will take a bit of time off before diving into winter projects. Mine will be to restore a bunch of disused farm equipment for resale in the very active regional farmer-to-farmer marketplace.

The ginger crop reminds me of how far afield your money goes when you buy a CSA share at Windflower Farm. Our ginger seed pieces come from Biker Dude on the Big Island of Hawaii. And when his crop fails, he sources starts for us in Peru. We get sweet potato slips from North Carolina and Irish potato seed pieces from Moose Tubers in Maine. I am pleased that most of our suppliers can be found within a 200-mile radius of our farm. Our primary seed producers – Johnny’s, High Mowing and Fedco – are all in New England, but the seeds they sell, although increasingly local, can be from almost anywhere. The soil mix we use in our greenhouse is a blend we make using Vermont Compost in Montpellier and Fafard Organic Potting Mix from northern Quebec. Our cover crop seeds come from the Mid-Hudson, and our compost, which constitutes the lion’s share of our soil fertility program, comes from Western New York. When we buy produce, it always comes from nearby – your fruit comes from Yonder Farm in Columbia County and the Borden’s, who are 5 miles away, your beans, when they are not our own, come from Markristo Farm in the lower Teconics, and your carrots this year have come from up the road at Denison Farm.

There are two categories of expense on our P&L statement that are not local. One is fuel and the other is machinery. But even these expenses have elements that are local, including sales, delivery and repair. Economists have said that your local food dollars are spent 3 ½ times or more in the community before their economic benefit is exhausted. Our payroll and associated taxes and benefits represent by far our biggest expenses. If the supplies noted above and payroll together represent half a million dollars of CSA spending, which is about the case at our farm, the impact on our rural community might come in at close to two million dollars. I recall a co-founder of the NYC Greenmarkets telling me years ago that the city had always supported the countryside. I believe that to be true, but I also appreciate that this is a reciprocal arrangement.

I hope to get around to producing a survey that asks for your feedback about this year’s CSA shares and your overall CSA experience. If I don’t, please send me an email with the thoughts or suggestions that you think will help us improve in the future. Thank you.

Winter share news

It’s winter share signup season! A few years back, my friends at the Stanton Street CSA in the Lower East Side introduced me to the idea of “vegetable fatigue,” which they say can occur any time beginning around week 18 or 20 in the CSA season. Vegetable fatigue is a lack of enthusiasm for dealing with fresh vegetables. I completely understand. Going out to eat is the only remedy. A week or two to clear out the refrigerator helps.

Nevertheless, at the risk of wearing out our welcome, we offer a winter share. We finished planting our winter greenhouses on Friday morning. These are the greens that fill out the winter share. In total, we’ve planted four caterpillar tunnels and three high tunnels to a mix of choy, various kales and spinach – that’s twenty-three 140’ beds of greens. Every month, shares include a large bag of greens.

The winter share consists of three monthly deliveries that will include approximately 2 lb. of our organically grown greens (including spinach, a variety of kales and bok choy) and 8-10 lb. of our storage vegetables (including carrots, red and yellow onions, winter squash, a variety of potatoes, beets, leeks, sweet potatoes, shallots, and more), along with 4-6 lb. of fruits, and either apple cider, Deb’s homemade jelly made from her organic berries or local honey – all packed to fit in a returnable box – for $174.00

This year, we will only be offering three monthly deliveries instead of four. We have fewer crops going into storage and our farm team would like some time off.

We are minimizing our use of PLASTIC BAGS! We’ll pack loose where we can and use paper bags where we need packaging. Our GOAL will be to use zero plastic bags, but, because we want your salad greens to arrive fresh and we don’t have an alternative to plastic, we may use one plastic bag per month.

OPTIONAL shares include the EGG SHARE and MAPLE SHARE from Davis Family Farm and a GRAIN SHARE from Hickory Wind Farm (please see the details below).

Our deliveries are timed to coincide with the deliveries made to your CSA pickup site by Lewis-Waite Farm.

If you would like to register for a winter share, please sign up here:  Windflower Farm’s 2022-2023 Winter Share (wufoo.com). If you have already registered, thank you for joining us!

Have a great week, Ted

Week of October 17, Distribution #20

The News from Windflower Farm

What’s in your share?

  • Arugula
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Salad mix (mustard greens)
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Red onions
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Butternut squash
  • French Breakfast radishes

Your fruit share will be Empire apples and Bosc pears from Yonder Farm. This is the last fruit delivery for our half fruit share members who pick up on even weeks. Half fruit share members who pick up on odd weeks and full fruit share members will have one more week of fruit shares. Pete, at Yonder Farm, our primary fruit supplier, and I miscommunicated a few weeks ago (week 17). As a result, he did not have a fruit share ready for our truck when we stopped at his farm on our way to the city that Thursday. My apologies. Your last fruit share will take place on Thursday of week 21. 

We roasted our first sweet potatoes this weekend. We put a couple of pounds in the oven at 400 degrees and it took about an hour for the caramelized juices to start oozing out, indicating that they were ready to serve. Unlike winter squashes, which often require sweetening despite our best intentions in the field, a fully cured and completely baked potato is always sweet eating, at least in my experience. We were not disappointed. More will come your way in this week’s share. The Delicatas and acorn squashes are now mostly gone from our root cellar. Butternuts, the buff colored, creamy textured, slightly hourglass shaped squashes, are up next. Both butternuts and sweet potatoes make excellent and creamy soups. We did not have enough time to harvest and process ginger this week, so it will not be a part of shares until next week and the week after. Potatoes, garlic and leeks (sounds like another soup!) will also make up part of the last two shares.

Our primary greenhouse is empty once again. We finished planting the overwintering onions on Thursday and the winter greens on Friday. Over the weekend, we began to plant onion sets and garlic. It’s not a fast process – the sets are placed in the ground by hand one plant at a time, each set producing just one onion or garlic bulb – but the work will soon be done. Until today, the weather had been perfect for these tasks. A light, cold rain is falling this morning, and no one wants to work outside. The packing shed is crowded with people doing the produce sorting and counting for our Tuesday delivery. The sugar maples across the road are losing their leaves, and signs of November are beginning to peek through.

Winter share news

It’s winter share signup season! A few years back, my friends at the Stanton Street CSA in the Lower East Side introduced me to the idea of “vegetable fatigue,” which they say can occur any time beginning around week 18 or 20 in the CSA season. Vegetable fatigue is a lack of enthusiasm for dealing with fresh vegetables. I completely understand. Going out to eat is the only remedy. A week or two to clear out the refrigerator helps.

Nevertheless, at the risk of wearing out our welcome, we offer a winter share. We finished planting our winter greenhouses on Friday morning. These are the greens that fill out the winter share. In total, we’ve planted four caterpillar tunnels and three high tunnels to a mix of choy, various kales and spinach – that’s twenty-three 140’ beds of greens. Every month, shares include a large bag of greens.

The winter share consists of three monthly deliveries that will include approximately 2 lb. of our organically grown greens (including spinach, a variety of kales and bok choy) and 8-10 lb. of our storage vegetables (including carrots, red and yellow onions, winter squash, a variety of potatoes, beets, leeks, sweet potatoes, shallots, popcorn and more), along with 4-6 lb. of fruits, and either apple cider, Deb’s homemade jelly made from her organic berries or local honey – all packed to fit in a returnable box – for $174.00

This year, we will only be offering three monthly deliveries instead of four. We have fewer crops going into storage and our farm team would like some time off.

We are minimizing our use of PLASTIC BAGS! We’ll pack loose where we can and use paper bags where we need packaging. Our GOAL will be to use zero plastic bags, but, because we want your salad greens to arrive fresh and we don’t have an alternative to plastic, we may use one plastic bag per month.

OPTIONAL shares include the EGG SHARE and MAPLE SHARE from Davis Family Farm and a GRAIN SHARE from Hickory Wind Farm (please see the details below).

Our deliveries are timed to coincide with the deliveries made to your CSA pickup site by Lewis-Waite Farm.

If you would like to sign up for the winter share, please register here: Windflower Farm’s 2022-2023 Winter Share (wufoo.com)

Have a great week, Ted

Week of October 10, Distribution #19

The News from Windflower Farm

What’s in your share?

  • Arugula
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yellow onions
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic
  • Winter squash
  • French Breakfast radishes

Your fruit share will be Empire apples and Bosc pears from Yonder Farm.

We wrapped up the sweet potato harvest last week and the crop is now curing in our heated greenhouse. Starches are converted to sugars during the curing process, making it the critical step in ensuring that the roots become sweet and delicious. We’ve had a bumper crop, and we’ll be sending them to you every week for the remainder of the season. They keep well at room temperature, so you won’t need to eat them all right away. In fact, they’ll only get better with time. But it is time to find a good recipe or two: sweet potato soup, sweet potato lasagna, sweet potato and cardamom omelets, baked sweet potato fries with or without a chili powder, and so on. This week, we’ll harvest our ginger and leeks; they will be in shares during weeks 20 and 21. Butternut squashes will be in shares during weeks 21 and 22.

The garlic is getting soft, so please use it up quickly. More is coming.

What’s new on the farm?

In the spring, I purchased a bin dumper. Its function is to lift a 20-bushel bin of vegetables overhead, invert it, and send its contents falling gently into a tank of water without causing bruising or skinning. This week’s job is to set up a produce wash line that begins with the bin dumper and includes a water tank that the bin’s contents will be dumped into, a water bubbler, an outfeed conveyor that will carry the crop out of the tank, a curving gravity conveyor that will deliver the crop to a washing apparatus and the washing apparatus itself, which consists of rolling brushes and water jets and another outfeed conveyor, which sends the crop to its final location on the line, a rotating sorting table. It’s like setting up an office: the desk goes here, the file cabinet there, and the printer against the wall. Nate and I are determined to make it work because there are too many 20-bushel bins of sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, squashes, beets and carrots to unload by hand. It makes my back ache just to think about it. Besides, we enjoy a good challenge. Running electric lines near so much splashing water is my chief concern. If we manage to build it, I’ll send you a picture.  

It is now Sunday evening and it’s cold outside. The sky is clear and there is a full moon. It seems fitting that coyotes are yipping in the woods across the road. We have just returned from a bonfire at the home that Victoria, our distribution coordinator, shares with her husband Jeremy and their three boys. She is an incredible cook, gardener and homesteader, and we were well fed. Much of the Windflower Farm staff was in attendance. Growlers of home brew were passed around. Mulled wine was steaming nearby. The wooden goblets that Victoria’s dad hand turned a few years back were filled and emptied and filled again. We soaked in the beauty of the fall foliage surrounding us. And as the moon rose over the horizon, in an event carefully orchestrated by our hosts, three archers with flaming arrows lifted their bows. In a scene fitting King Arthur, seven-year-old Cyrus made the key shot, hitting a stack of neatly piled wood squarely in its center, and causing the pile to erupt in flames. Jan and I jumped. Someone let out a small scream. But the ball of fire was only temporarily blinding. Jeremy had poured the better part of a can of diesel fuel over the wood, ensuring that an inferno would be produced upon ignition, making an awesome spectacle. Jan and I regained our composure. Soon a cheer broke out. Chairs were brought near, Kristoffer pulled out his guitar and started to sing, the kids climbed onto their granddad’s lap. And in this way, we said goodbye to the long hot days of summer and to the memorable 2022 growing season.

I hope you have a great week, Ted