CBCSA Newsletter: August 17th Week A

It’s a Week A Pick up This Thursday, August 17th!

This week’s share:

  • Tomatoes
  • ‘Genovese’ Basil
  • ‘Magenta’ Lettuce
  • Garlic
  • Yellow Onions
  • Bi-Color Sweet Corn
  • Green Snap Beans (Still Hand Picked!)
  • Your Choice of Kale or Spinach
  • Your Choice Between ‘Carumba’ Cabbage, ‘Zephyr’ Summer Squash, Sweet Peppers, or Eggplant.
  • Your Fruit: Peaches!!!

Potatoes are coming soon. Melons are just around the corner.

The next Lewis Waite Delivery is August 31st. Did you know that you can place an order and edit it up to a few days before delivery? Helpful advice for those who sometimes forget to order until it’s too late (I know I have).

CSA News from Windflower

Farm Delivery #11, August 15 and 17, 2017
I’ve discovered podcasts! Sure, you’ve been listening to podcasts for years, but, as some of you know, good internet service is only just arriving in rural places, including here in Upstate New York. I’m finding all kinds of good stuff: a new favorite is Invisabilia, where two women explore the hidden forces behind why we behave the way we do. A little more to the point of this newsletter is the Farmer to Farmer podcast by Iowa farmer Chris Blanchard, who interviews small-scale organic farmers (and others) from all over North America. In one recent episode, Chris spoke with Simon Huntley, a software engineer whose company, Small Farm Central, hosts the online CSA sign-ups of more than a thousand CSAs. He has gathered all kinds of data related to CSAs and shareholder experiences and has a good deal to say about why some succeed and others fail. I think he is every bit as invested as we are in seeing the CSA movement grow, and to do that, he says, it (we) must learn new ways to better meet the needs and wishes of CSA members.

The few subjects he believes farmers should pay particular attention to are food value, farm communication, food choices and authenticity. (In last week’s New Yorker piece about the singer Lorde, I learned that it is “smoldering authenticity,” in particular, that people are after!) Choice is something I hope we can improve upon. You may have noticed that this week’s share entails choices among more than just the greens. Inspired by Simon’s comments, beyond deciding between spinach and kale, you’ll be asked to choose between cabbages, squashes, eggplants and peppers. If we find that giving you options like this is popular, and doesn’t create too many difficulties, we’ll do it more often over the second half of the season. Please, let me know what you think (tedblomgren@gmail.com).

Have a great week, Ted

CBCSA Newsletter: August 10th Week B

It’s a Week B Pick up This Thursday, August 10th!

This week’s share:

  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Garlic
  • Sweet corn
  • Your choice of kale or Swiss chard
  • Either radishes or a small conical cabbage

More of the same next week, potatoes coming soon. Your fruit will be blueberries, peaches will be coming next week and melons are coming soon.

Quick Notes:
The next Lewis Waite Delivery is August 31st. Did you know that you can place an order and edit it up to a few days before delivery? Helpful advice for those who sometimes forget to order until it’s too late (I know I have).

CSA News from Windflower Farm

Delivery #10, August 10, 2017
On this Monday following our open house on the farm, we are pleasantly tired. Heavy rains on Saturday morning threatened to spoil the weekend, but in the early afternoon, just about the time CSA members began to arrive, the sun broke out. Turnout was good, the food was great, and we all made new friends. Thanks to all who came.

I have just abandoned today’s bean harvest. Nearly a quarter of an acre of beans are ready for harvesting, enough to keep all of our shareholders and the food pantries we serve in fresh green beans for the next two weeks, but my machinery has broken down. I’ve been on the phone with my John Deere sales rep and the manager of his service department, making sure that the tractor isn’t the cause of the problem, and I’ve spoken with Jim Watson, the man from whom I purchased the harvester, but to no avail. The problem has to do with the hydraulic motor that powers the vacuum that separates the leaves from the beans.

Jim, who is from Ontario, is one of two men (the other is in Kansas) who seem to control most of the secondary market for green bean harvesters in North America. The biggest names in harvesters had been Byron, Pixall and Oxbo, but now, because they have purchased the other two, there is only Oxbo. A new one-row unit sells for just under $50,000. Mine is a 20-year old Byron 105, and I purchased it for $17,000, which I imagine is several thousand dollars more than it sold for new. But that is how it is in agriculture: farmers make their equipment last, and it’s value –new or used – relates closely to the market value of the work it can perform regardless of age.

Two sets of hydraulic motors power the unit: one turns a gang of fingers that rip the beans and leaves off the plant and deposit them on a belt that delivers them to the top of the harvest bin. The other sits atop the harvest bin and powers a fan that sucks the leaves upward and blows them out the back, allowing the heavier beans to drop into the bin. I was on the first row of beans when hydraulic fluid began to rain down on the beans in the harvest bin. The overhead fan motor sprang a leak. Back in the barnyard, and with the assistance of an ice-cold Hair Raiser, I removed the motor and began ripping the seal apart. It will take a couple of days to get new parts here.

Salvador, who has worked on the farm for over 10 years, questions if the purchase makes sense. He knows the machine’s cost, he knows his own wage, and he knows how fast he and the members of his family can harvest beans. For this week, at least, the question is academic. We’ll have no choice but to harvest by hand. Replacing people with machinery (a long-time trend in agriculture) has never been a goal of ours. We’d simply like our work to be easier, our time well spent, and to earn enough of a profit to be sustainable.

Have a great week, Ted

Farm Trip this Weekend! CBCSA Newsletter: August 3rd Week A

It’s a Week A Pick up This Thursday, August 3rd!

This week’s share:
No news from the farm this week, but will likely be very similar to last week’s share!

Please don’t forget to RSVP for the farm trip this weekend if you’re planning to go! RSVP to tedblomgren@gmail.com. Camping on the farm is encouraged – all kinds of sites are available within an easy walk of the barns, running water, toilets and electricity. Kids and leashed pets are welcome. Please bring a dish to pass for the Saturday evening potluck.

Saturday, August 5th:
CSA members are welcome to arrive any time after noon.
2:00 pm: First Windflower Farm tour with Ted (tractor and wagon ride)
3:30 pm: Snacks
4:00 pm: Second Windflower Farm tour with Ted (tractor and wagon ride)
5:00 pm: Cocktail hour (byo)
6:00 pm: Potluck. Please bring a dish to share!
Afterwards, bonfire and live music

Sunday, August 6th:
8-10:00 am: Breakfast provided by the farm staff
11:00 am: Davis Family Farm tour: learn about raising pastured chickens for eggs
Noon: depart for other local sites.

Visit other local attractions, such as the:
Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival: http://craftproducers.com
Washington County Antique Fair and Flea Market: http://www.fairgroundshows.com/
Local wineries: http://upperhudsonvalleywinetrail.com/
Local breweries: http://hudsonvalleybounty.com/Brewery
Local cideries: http://www.saratogaapple.com/
Swimming holes, farmers’ markets, hikes (directions will be provided)
Saratoga Race Track: http://www.saratogaracetrack.com/

Please RSVP to tedblomgren@gmail.com with the number in your party. I hope you can make it.

Have a great week, Ted

Kombucha Demo! CBCSA Newsletter: July 27th Week B

Our own CBCSA member, Owen, is going to be giving a make-your-own kombucha tutorial this Thursday from 5-7 PM. Come by to learn how to make this delicious brew right in your own kitchen, as well as to try some yummy samples!

It’s a Week B Pick up This Thursday, July 27th!

This week’s share: Tomatoes, basil, onions, lettuce, your choice of radishes or turnips, plus cucumbers or zucchinis, depending on your site, and your choice of two greens from kale, choy, collards or arugula. Sweet corn is coming in fits and starts; I hope to be able to include it in your shares with regularity in the coming weeks. We’ve increased the share of heirloom tomatoes in our mix, but are finding getting them to you to be a challenge. The fruit of a vine ripened heirloom is very, very soft, and roads in NYC are very bad. We will try to harvest and ship a slightly greener fruit with the hope that a better product makes it to your kitchen counter. Please keep us posted. Your fruit share will be blueberries. Peaches are just starting.

CSA News from Windflower Farm

Delivery #8, July 25/27, 2017
If you were to fly over our farm you’d not only see a mix of woods, fields and farmland, as Jan and the boys did not too many years ago, you’d also see the hundreds of ponds that dot the landscape. Every farm has a pond, many put in with the help of the depression era CCC program. One of our farm ponds had been stocked with bass. This summer, just as they have been doing for years, herons have been flying from pond to pond in much the same way a trapper tends his trap line. They swoop in, pause to hunt for ten or fifteen minutes, and then move along to the next pond and the next meal. In particularly wet years, they will cruise the wet ditches along our fields in search of frogs.

A wildlife biologist from the DEC was here last week. He helped me to assess our deer fence and to identify points of vulnerability. He made the observation that deer, once inside, have a virtual paradise here because of the excellent food supply and absence of predators. To right the imbalance, the logical next step would be to bring in a small family of coyotes. He has given us deer tags to use in the event we cannot drive the deer out of the enclosure. I am loath to use them, but I’d rather do that than explain to you why we have no sweet potatoes or lettuce or delicate squash.

So, our proximity to wildlife can be exasperating. Cedar Waxwings will devour every kind of berry crop, including grapes, blueberries and strawberries, the three we are working hardest to develop here. We now realize we’ll have to install netting over each planting in order to get a crop. Jan has installed bird netting everywhere around our barn complex. Barn swallows are everywhere – they nest in the engine compartments of our tractors, on our tub washing machine and the fans in our packing shed, and on every horizontal (or diagonal) beam on our barn. Safe produce handling requires that we prevent them from invading the places where we wash and pack your vegetables.

That the Upper Hudson landscape is such a rich blending of wildness and domesticity is one of the things that attracted us to this region and, ultimately, to this farm. The wild north of our place offers the best animal habitat and over the years has been the temporary home of black bears, turkeys, martens, beavers, rabbits, foxes, eagles, herons, possums, bobcats, snapping turtles and deer. There are two ponds, two creeks, a cattail swamp and a good-sized woodlot. And it is bordered by hundreds of acres of forest and fields. We do our best not to grow deer food on the few acres of land suited to vegetable production in the northern parts of the farm. Potatoes and onions are our best options. The domesticated southern reaches of our farm are where we grow most of your crops. It’s also where our greenhouses, barns, employee housing and home are. We can hear the coyotes at night, but only rarely do our wild neighbors venture close to home.

If you join us for our open house, I’ll take you on a walk through both the wild and the tame parts of our little farm.

I hope you can make it, Ted

CBCSA Newsletter! July 20th Week A

It’s a week A pick up this Thursday, July 20th!

CSA News from Windflower Farm

Delivery #7, July 18/20, 2017
This week’s share: sweet corn, arugula, green onions, squashes and/or cucumbers, lettuces, a choice of two from Swiss chard, kale, choy and collards, and perhaps the first tomatoes and basil of the season. The vegetables of summer are beginning to come! Your fruit share will be the last of Pete’s cherries. I expect to send blueberries next week.

Please save the date for our open house on the farm. We invite you to join us and see where your vegetables come from! RSVP to tedblomgren@gmail.com. Camping on the farm is encouraged – all kinds of sites are available within an easy walk of the barns, running water, toilets and electricity. Kids and leashed pets are welcome. Please bring a dish to pass for the Saturday evening potluck.

Saturday, August 5th:
CSA members are welcome to arrive any time after noon.
2:00 pm: First Windflower Farm tour with Ted (tractor and wagon ride)
3:30 pm: Snacks
4:00 pm: Second Windflower Farm tour with Ted (tractor and wagon ride)
5:00 pm: Cocktail hour (byo)
6:00 pm: Potluck. Please bring a dish to share!
Afterwards, bonfire and live music

Sunday, August 6th:
8-10:00 am: Breakfast provided by the farm staff
11:00 am: Davis Family Farm tour: learn about raising pastured chickens for eggs
Noon: depart for other local sites.

Visit other local attractions, such as the:
Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival: http://craftproducers.com
Washington County Antique Fair and Flea Market: http://www.fairgroundshows.com/
Local wineries: http://upperhudsonvalleywinetrail.com/
Local breweries: http://hudsonvalleybounty.com/Brewery
Local cideries: http://www.saratogaapple.com/
Swimming holes, farmers’ markets, hikes (directions will be provided)
Saratoga Race Track: http://www.saratogaracetrack.com/

Please RSVP to tedblomgren@gmail.com with the number in your party. I hope you can make it.

Have a great week, Ted

Quick Notes:
The next Lewis Waite Delivery is August 3rd. Did you know that you can place an order and edit it up to a few days before delivery? Helpful advice for those who sometimes forget to order until it’s too late (I know I have).

Please bring your own bags, or bring your excess plastic bags to donate to other share members. We’re almost out of the ones at the pick up site. Please also return all egg and fruit cartons so that we can give them back to the farm.

You’re invited to Windflower Farm’s Open House Weekend!

When: August 5-6, 2017

Where: 585 Meeting House Road, Valley Falls, NY 12185

About: Each year for the past ten or so, more than 100 CSA members from the city come visit the farm and either camp in one of our fields or stay in a nearby B&B. We open our farm to you, as a member of our CSA, because we want you to know where your vegetables, cut flowers, eggs and some of your fruit comes from. We’d like you to have the chance to learn how your shares are grown, and who is actually performing the work.

The event takes place over two days. On Saturday, you’ll set up your tents, tour the farm, sample local beers and wines, enjoy a potluck supper (please bring a dish to pass), listen to live music, hang out around a bonfire or play board games, and gaze at the stars made possible by a dark night sky. Please BYOB.

On Sunday, we will serve you a farm breakfast comprised of the freshest eggs you’ve ever had, pancakes and other farm goodies. After breakfast, and after camp has been broken, there will be an option to tour the Davis Farm, where your eggs are produced. There are four vineyards within three miles of here and a Sunday farmers’ market to visit. There is an excellent river to swim in and beautiful, quiet roads to bike on. Please consider joining us for the weekend.

If you plan on attending, please RSVP with the number in your party to tedblomgren@gmail.com

Agenda:
Saturday, August 5:
Members are welcome to arrive any time after noon.
2:00 pm: First Windflower Farm tour (with a tractor and wagon ride)
3:30 pm: Snacks
4:00 pm: Second Windflower Farm tour (with a tractor and wagon ride)
5:00 pm: Cocktail hour (byo)
6:00 pm: Potluck. Please bring a dish to share!
Afterwards, bonfire and music

Sunday, August 6:
8-10:00 am: Breakfast provided by the farm
11:00 am: Davis Family Farm tour: learn about raising pastured chickens for eggs

How: CBCSA is in the process of looking into shared transportation options from Brooklyn (details to come); however, we encourage folks to make carpool arrangements where possible. Have a few seats to spare? Interested in taking a spare seat? Register for our carpool: https://www.groupcarpool.com/t/j3u9yq

CBCSA Newsletter! July 13th Week B

It’s a week B pick up this Thursday, July 13th!

This week’s share:

  • Green Onions
  • Squashes and/or Cucumbers
  • Scallions
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Lettuce
  • A choice of two from Swiss chard, kale, choy, and collards
  • And a choice of two from Hakurei turnip, kohlrabi, and radishes.

Your fruit will be Yonder Farm’s sweet cherries.
Tomatoes are beginning to show some color and sweet corn is in tassel – both will be coming before long!

The Lewis Waite Deliveries were last week and a few members received some really great looking stuff. I finally ordered an item I’ve been looking forward to all year: the pork kielbasa. The Lewis Waite Farm pork kielbasa is just soooo good. I love it with cheese and crackers, on sandwiches, in scrambled eggs, everything. This kielbasa tends to have lots of fat that makes it really fun to cook with. Lewis Waite also has a leaner and less expensive beef option that is delicious, but pork always wins me over.

The next Lewis Waite Delivery is August 3rd. Did you know that you can place an order and edit it up to a few days before delivery? Helpful advice for those who sometimes forget to order until it’s too late (I know I have).


CSA News from Windflower Farm

Delivery #6, July 11/13, 2017

This week’s share: green onions, squashes and/or cucumbers, scallions, garlic scapes, lettuce, a choice of two from Swiss chard, kale, choy and collards, and a choice of two from Hakurei turnip, kohlrabi and radishes. Your fruit will be Yonder Farm’s sweet cherries. Tomatoes are beginning to show some color and sweet corn is in tassel – both will be coming before long!

Nate’s ducks have given birth to four ducklings – sweet little buff and black puffballs (you can see them on our Instagram page). Ducklings can imprint on a variety of potential caregivers, including chicken hens. There are four newborn ducklings here, none of them planned, and all healthy, but there seems to be some confusion about who mom is. Two ducks and a chicken all sat together on the clutch of eggs from which these four were born. One duckling is following the ducks around the yard, and the other three have imprinted on the broody hen. In the hunt for mom, the duckling following the ducks is technically right, of course, but the hen has turned out to be a ferocious protector of her little brood. At any sign of danger, they burrow under her wings, while she pecks and snarls at whatever threatens. Although she may have to tap into the expertise of the duck aunties when it comes time for swimming lessons, she is doing just fine with the basics. When Nate offered up some blueberries to the ducklings, they ignored them, but when the hen pecked and tenderized the berries and placed them in front of her ducklings, they devoured them. Theirs might be an unconventional little family, but it seems to work!

It is a lovely Sunday evening. Jan has covered the kitchen table in flowers and is working on ideas for this week’s flower shares. Tonight’s question: When can pink and orange be combined? Nate is heading out to lift his ducklings into their coop before closing it up for the night. Their moms have yet to instruct them in the use of the ramp. And I’ll be heading out soon to put domes on our sweet corn and sunflower trays to protect them against the small country creatures that appear to love nothing more than to dine on my seeds.

Have a great week, Ted