Distribution #3 – Week of June 21, 2021

The News from Windflower Farm

Happy summer from Windflower Farm!

What’s in your share?

  • Dinosaur kale
  • Magenta Lettuce
  • Garlic scapes
  • Zucchini or summer squash
  • Purple kohlrabi
  • Bunched green onions
  • Boc Choy OR Arugula
  • Potted Rosemary

Fruit shares will consist of sweet cherries from Yonder Farm. Next week, we’ll be heading down to Yonder Farm in Columbia County for more strawberries and perhaps some rhubarb. Then, we’ll either be back here for our blueberries or stay with Yonder for their delicious sweet cherries.

Our cucumbers will be starting next week, and should begin to yield significant fruit in the week after. In the meantime, zucchinis and squashes are starting and will be in many shares this week and most next week. Japanese turnips, red beets and purple and green kohlrabi are all on the cusp of ready and will begin showing up shortly.

Last Monday’s rain totaled 8/10ths, but it’s been dry since, with little chance of rain in the forecast, and so we are back at our irrigation routine. With some new equipment, and water in abundant supply, it is not bad work. Today, it was cucumbers, squashes, melons and tomatoes, tomorrow it will be peppers, teenage salad greens and new seedings of beets, carrots and arugula.

What’s new on the farm?

Although we won’t be shipping tomatoes to you for another three or four weeks, we’ve been spending quite a bit of time with our tomato crop lately. Tomatoes are vining plants, and if allowed to grow without intervention a single plant will produce dozens of vines. Each tomato plant is trained to two leaders by pinching out all of the new vines or suckers that come along over the course of the season. Each leader is trained to climb a string that is suspended from one of the trusses that form the greenhouse roof. The plants are four to five feet tall at present, but by season’s end, they will be eight or ten feet high. This year, we’ve filled three high tunnels and a dozen smaller tunnels with tomatoes, so keeping on top of tomato pruning takes a lot of time. A look at our tomato greenhouses is to know that the Medinas are caring and skilled craftsmen. Salvador and Candelaria have taught the rest of their family well, and together they make order out of our tomato jungle. They haul out crates and crates of newly pinched suckers each time they prune, tossing them onto the compost pile, and carefully wrap the tomato leaders around the strings they climb on. By the end, a tomato vine will have been wrapped twenty times or more around its string. It’s pleasant work, and the Medina’s conversation and laughter is unceasing. To watch them work is a joy.

Best wishes, Ted 

Distribution #2 – Week of June 14, 2021

The News from Windflower Farm

Hello from Windflower Farm!

What’s in your share?

  • Purple ruffled kale
  • Magenta Lettuce
  • Garlic scapes
  • Arugula
  • White salad turnips
  • Bunched green onions
  • Bok Choy
  • Potted herb

Fruit shares will consist of our own organically grown strawberries.

What’s new on the farm?

A quick check of the rain gauge this morning left me with the contented feeling that comes with knowing a half week’s hard slog dragging irrigation pipe all over the farm can be put off for a few days. The ground had become parched, but the gauge showed a ½ inch and it’s raining still.

Nate and I were bicycling around the neighborhood yesterday and were reminded of how widespread the practice of conservation tillage has become among the county’s corn farmers. The equipment and herbicide programs needed to make no-till corn planting work are well established. Rows of young corn plants were emerging from the stubble of last year’s crop.

Organic no-till farming, on the other hand, has been a long time in development. Weeds are the main problem. How does one manage weeds without tillage (or herbicides)? But with each of us needing to do our part to reduce our carbon footprint, we thought we’d give it a try.

For years, we’ve grown cover crops on the farm to maintain healthy soil organic matter levels and to reduce erosion. This year, we’ve let a dense rye crop grow on two fields of about an acre and a half each, and this week, we’ll roll the rye and plant winter squashes into those beds.

We will use a crimper to roll the rye, which currently stands about 5’ high, to form a dense, weed suppressive mat. We’ll be using a technique called zone-tillage. Instead of plowing or disking to make a weed-free, bare ground bed in which to plant our vegetable seedlings, we’ll cut narrow slots into the rye mulch using large fluted coulters and a narrow shank. Making this tool is my work for today. We’ll then plant squashes that have been growing in our greenhouse since late May into the slots.

With any luck, the squash plants will have vined out and taken over the field before any weeds have the chance to poke through the rye mulch and become a problem. What could go wrong?

Have a great week, Ted

Distribution #1 – Week of June 7, 2021

The News from Windflower Farm

Greetings from Windflower Farm! I hope that you and yours are healthy. Thank you on behalf of everyone here at the farm for purchasing a share in our 2021 season. We hope you enjoy the experience.

What’s in your share?

  • Romaine lettuce (‘Coastal Star’)
  • Red Russian kale
  • Arugula
  • Red radishes
  • Bunched green onions
  • Potted green or Thai basil

During the first few weeks, shares are always light – spring is often slow in coming to the upper Hudson Valley and, this year, it’s been a roller coaster ride. For now, it’s salad season! Next week, you’ll get Dinosaur kale, garlic scapes, bok choy, kohlrabi and more lettuce and arugula. Sweet spring turnips and our first squashes and zucchinis will come along soon. Strawberries are getting underway and will be in all fruit shares on Tuesday and an indefinite number of shares on Thursday.

Keeping your share longer than just a day or two takes a few simple steps. First, remove your share from the bag it came in. Please try to reuse the bag if you can. It will make for a good trash bag liner if nothing else (we cannot take it back, but we’d be happy to take your boxes back). Second, rinse everything, particularly the greens, in cold water. Third, spin or gently shake the greens to remove excess water. Finally, place the contents of your share in a perforated bag in the refrigerator. The crisper drawer is made for this, but the bottom shelf will do. 

What’s new on the farm?

Today’s field work was focused on roots and tubers. Much of the staff were engaged in planting sweet potatoes. The slips arrive from North Carolina bare rooted, jammed 1000 to a box. We plant them out one at a time into mulched beds and, in weather like this, they wilt instantly. We irrigate them as soon as we can after setting them out and usually find them standing up straight soon afterwards. We should have them all planted by Tuesday. The cold sweet potato soup I had for lunch today reminds me of why we grow this crop. My day was spent hilling potatoes. It’s gratifying work if you’re a vegetable farmer. A couple of years ago, I purchased an Italian machine that perfectly envelopes the emerging tubers in a hill of newly composted soil, dislodging and burying any weeds in the same step. This week, we’ll finish planting the year’s sweet potatoes and eggplants and plant second and third successions of sweet corn, red and green cabbages, collards, kales and a variety of lettuces.

I hope you have a great week, Ted

Sign Up for Your Summer 2021 Farm Share Today

Registration for the 2021 Summer season is now Open.

Join Central Brooklyn CSA for 22 weeks of vegetables, fruits, and eggs from Windflower Farm’s 2021 harvest

UPDATE: Sign-ups have closed for the 2021 season, but you can join the waitlist above.

About the share:
Pick ups happen:
Every Thursday from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM
June 10 through November 4, 2021

at:
Hebron SDA Church
1256 Dean Street
(On the corner of New York Avenue)
Brooklyn, NY 11216

Here’s a letter from the farm describing what you’ll get:

Warm greetings from all of us at a cold and snowy Windflower Farm! On behalf of the entire Windflower team, I write to invite you to join us for the 2021 CSA season – our 22nd year on the farm. There is still half a foot of snow outside, but it’s going fast, spring is just around the corner, and in the warmth and sunshine of our greenhouses, tens of thousands of spring and summer vegetables are getting their start.

This year, we’ll be working more closely with some of our neighboring organic growers both to enhance our offerings of beans, carrots and squash and to mitigate some of the risk inherent in producing everything in one place. When we do decide to make a crop purchase, it will only be from a farmer we know and whose vegetables are certified organic.

At Windflower Farm, we offer optional shares of brown eggs from the Davis’s pastured hens, and fresh fruits from our farm and throughout the Hudson Valley. New this year, we will be offering maple items from the Davis family. More details about all of these shares can be found by following the sign-up link below. I am sorry to say that we will not be offering a cut flower share this year – Jan will instead be spending the year to work on a long-postponed art project.

Our veteran farm crew is returning, and most are already busy in the greenhouse. They are not only experienced and responsible vegetable growers, but they have completely embraced the new protocols around Covid-19. As a result, the team has stayed healthy throughout the pandemic and we feel we are able to deliver a safe vegetable share to you each and every week of the season.

Our thanks to everyone who made last year’s CSA season a success. Food safety has been a primary concern of ours from the beginning. Our best management practices are informed by the latest information from the CDC and Cornell University Extension. We will continue to pre-box your shares in our safe facilities at the farm. In that way, we will be reducing the food handling chain and your exposure to risk. Your produce boxes and egg cartons can be returned to the farm to be safely reused or recycled.

Warm greetings from all of us at a cold and snowy Windflower Farm! On behalf of the entire Windflower team, I write to invite you to join us for the 2021 CSA season – our 22nd year on the farm. There is still half a foot of snow outside, but it’s going fast, spring is just around the corner, and in the warmth and sunshine of our greenhouses, tens of thousands of spring and summer vegetables are getting their start.

Members of the CSA will get 22 weekly deliveries of fresh, organically grown herbs, greens and seasonal vegetables of all kinds from our solar powered farm in the upper Hudson Valley. You’ll get bicolor sweet corn, tomatoes galore, colorful peppers, salad greens of every kind, cucumbers, carrots, squashes, red onions, shallots, broccoli, red cabbage, fingerling potatoes, fresh green beans, dill, cilantro, basil and much, much more.

This year, we’ll be working more closely with some of our neighboring organic growers both to enhance our offerings of beans, carrots and squash and to mitigate some of the risk inherent in producing everything in one place. When we do decide to make a crop purchase, it will only be from a farmer we know and whose vegetables are certified organic.

At Windflower Farm, we offer optional shares of brown eggs from the Davis’s pastured hens, and fresh fruits from our farm and throughout the Hudson Valley. New this year, we will be offering maple items from the Davis family. More details about all of these shares can be found by following the sign-up link below. I am sorry to say that we will not be offering a cut flower share this year – Jan will instead be spending the year to work on a long-postponed art project.

Our veteran farm crew is returning, and most are already busy in the greenhouse. They are not only experienced and responsible vegetable growers, but they have completely embraced the new protocols around Covid-19. As a result, the team has stayed healthy throughout the pandemic and we feel we are able to deliver a safe vegetable share to you each and every week of the season.

Our thanks to everyone who made last year’s CSA season a success. Food safety has been a primary concern of ours from the beginning. Our best management practices are informed by the latest information from the CDC and Cornell University Extension. We will continue to pre-box your shares in our safe facilities at the farm. In that way, we will be reducing the food handling chain and your exposure to risk. Your produce boxes and egg cartons can be returned to the farm to be safely reused or recycled.

Why join a CSA? You’ll get to eat the freshest of local vegetables and you’ll be exposed to some new vegetables and new ways of preparing them. You’ll develop a relationship with the farmers who grow your food and the practices they use, largely through weekly newsletters and Instagram postings this year, and through farm visits once the pandemic is behind us. Perhaps best of all, you’ll get to be part of a community of your neighbors with a common interest in food, health and sustainability.

We hope you’ll join us for the 2021 season, and we thank you for your generous support of our farm!

Please follow this link to learn more and to become a CSA member: Central Brooklyn CSA – 2021 Membership Form.

Winter Distribution #4, February 6, 2021

The News from Windflower Farm

Happy winter from the Windflower Farm team!  

We write to remind you that your February share, the last of the season, will arrive this Saturday, February 6th, and to relay some information about pickup times and protocol.

See below for a list of distribution times and locations. If you pick up at West Harlem, please note the earlier pick up window.

Please plan to arrive within the time allotted for the distribution or send an alternate to pick up your share. Your share will come pre-packaged in a box that you may take home. We are happy to take boxes back and to recycle them when we next return to the city. Check in with your site coordinator to find out how this can be done at your site.

If you’ve ordered eggs or a maple share, please remember to seek them out – they will not be packaged in your box. Check in with the site coordinator. 

Note that we cannot help you if you have failed to pick up your share on time. We will be in a box truck making our way back home, and we won’t get there until late evening. Please make a plan to pick up your share or to have someone come in your place.

Your February share:

  • Yellow frying/roasting potatoes (Yukon Gem, soft but still delicious)
  • Sweet potatoes (Covington, unwashed)
  • Carrots (Bolero) and beets (Chioggia if they are red skinned and have red and white flesh and Red Ace if they are dark red throughout)
  • Spinach (Space) fresh from the greenhouse
  • Yellow and red onions plus a small garlic bulb and a few shallots (various varieties)
  • Popcorn (Robust 97) and
  • some oddballs, including either a celeriac (Mars) bulb, a rutabaga (Helenor) or a turnip (Gilfeather), depending on supply
  • Apples (Honey Crisp) from the Borden Farm and jam (assorted flavors) from Deb’s Kitchen

All of the vegetables in your share are certified organically grown. Deb’s jam is made from her own backyard berries, which are also grown without pesticides. But the fruit from Borden Farm is not organic. Your sweet potatoes and spinach will not have been washed. Please wash all of your fruits and vegetables before eating.

We had some help filling out this month’s share. The potatoes came from Williams Farm, the Chioggia beets and carrots came from Denison Farm, and the Red Ace beets came from Clearwater Farm. All were grown organically.

What’s new at the farm?

Today, we harvested your spinach where it has been growing since early October in two of our greenhouses. Outside, it was a lovely 40 degrees and sunny; inside, it was nearly 60 degrees and Mark O’Connor and Yo-Yo Ma’s Appalachian Journey was playing over our speakers. The team and I concluded that farming in winter is pretty good work.

On the Monday after our NYC delivery, we’ll clean out the places on our farm where we store vegetables and send the final few pallets of onions, potatoes, spinach and other odd ends to our local food pantry. This marks the end of one farm year for us, and the beginning of the next.

In December, we placed orders for the things we’ll need for the next season. Beginning a couple of weeks ago, boxes of seeds, growing supplies and tractor parts began to arrive almost daily. We’ll fire up the greenhouse on the first day of March, which gives us just a few more weeks to prepare our taxes, finalize the crop plan, hire some new staff and make repairs to the equipment we managed to break last year.

For the next four weeks, we won’t have greenhouses to tend or coolers to mind, which is a relief. We’ll use this time to organize next year’s CSA. For those of you wanting to join us for the 2021 summer CSA season (and we hope that’s all of you!), please stay tuned. Details are being finalized now and sign up information will be sent out in just a few weeks. We’ll save a spot for you!

We hope that you have enjoyed your winter boxes. Please feel free to share your feedback with us by return email. Thank you very much for being with us.

Our very best wishes, Ted, Jan and the Windflower Farm Team