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

Author: Central Brooklyn CSA

The Central Brooklyn CSA (CBCSA) is dedicated to working with our partners the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, Windflower Farm, and the Hebron French Speaking SDA Church to continue the work of building a Community Supported Agriculture model that increases access to fresh, local produce for all members of our communities, regardless of income level. Join us as we continue to bring fresh, organic, affordable and nutritious vegetables and fruit to the Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, and surrounding communities.

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