Thursday, January 17, 2013

2013 CSA Share info

Sustainable Harvest Farm Winter Update
We wanted to share our winter farm updates with you along with some pictures from around the farm. I like bulleted lists, so I’ll share some bullets with you.
·      Your electronic versions of the CSA Sign up forms should be emailed to you  as an attachments in the next couple of days, but please let us know if you wish to receive these by mail.
·         Strawberries are looking good for the 1st CSA baskets!
·         In September of 2012 we purchased twelve acres directly behind our house. This greatly enhances our ability to offer fruits, berries and vegetables from perennial crops like asparagus. 
o   We will begin a large asparagus planting this spring but, unfortunately, those plants will not be ready for harvest until 2014.
o   500 blackberry plants will go into another section of the newly acquired land this spring. We selected a variety known for large berries with excellent flavor. Once established, these plants will bear fruit in the 2014 season.
·         Our land management practices allow us to provide you with the most nutrient dense, delicious, USDA-Certified Organic Produce available.
·         Over the winter, we built a 30’x100’ unheated greenhouse for early-season tomatoes. This will allow us to offer fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes a month earlier than other farmers in our area.
·         We are slowly, but surely expanding our small herd of grass-fed beef and hope to offer a selection of fresh beef as an option for all CSA members within the next year.
·         We will be introducing grass-fed pigs to the farm this year and will offer fresh pork for sale this fall.
So what goes on this time of year to guarantee you have vegetables for 22 weeks this season?
1.      Planning, planning, planning.
2.      Seeding: Starting tiny seedlings in trays in the greenhouse begins in the 1st week of February.  Nearly every week from now until September we will be seeding multiple crops.
3.      Field Preparation: Fields must be fairly dry before any field preparation can begin. Following any dry spell of 4+ plus days without rain, I will be in one of fields, getting it ready for planting. Multiple stages of preparation are required for planting so we’re watching the weather very closely.
4.      Planting: Our 1st plants go out into the field early March to ensure that you have fresh vegetables in May.
5.      Management: Once plants are in the field, we must also begin managing weeds and pests like flee beetles that love early spring greens.  There are a number of different ways to manage weeds and pests organically. Deciding which is most efficient, effective, and affordable is the hard task.
6.      Maintenance: Tractor/equipment repair and modification. I have a wonderful friend & neighbor who is always helping me fabricate and modify tools to make our work more efficient.
7.      Balance: The balance of family life, my work as an educator in Madison county, farming, and church is always a challenge this time of year. You put your trust in me to deliver fresh vegetables for 22 weeks, so even if that means getting waist deep in cold water to fight beavers every other day for weeks on end, I’m going to do it!   ...and honestly, your support is allowing me to do one of the things I love most in life – work with my hands, outside, partnering with God in the continuation of an amazing creation.
8.      That’s enough for now.

Thank you for your support.
Ford Waterstrat