Dear 2020 CSA Members,
Next week begins our new CSA season, and we hope that you are as excited as we are.
Here on the farm we've welcomed June with open arms, and we're enjoying this wild ride through Spring. It's hard to imagine, but just two weeks ago we had snow covering the ground... the glacial pace of warming soil had us concerned about providing sufficient food for our planned start date, but we were bolstered by the intense summer-like heat last week, and our spring starts and direct seedings are off to the races.
Another round of pork returned yesterday from Stratton's, and there are chickens happily pecking away at fresh pasture provided each day. Yesterday marked the start of mushroom forcing, with pre-inoculated oak and maple logs soaking overnight to spur a flush of fresh shiitakes. Farm work is settling into a more manageable pace of maintenance and care now that most of our raised beds have been built and planted. Watering, weeding, watching for pests, and trellising vining crops are some priorities over the next couple weeks, and in the meantime we are working on shoring up our deer fencing. Yet again, in these times of unrest and uncertainty, we are grateful for the steady seasonality and grounding nature of this work.
We were blown away by your support this year! The interest in and demand for local food is super high right now, and we are thankful for the interest it has brought to our tiny farm. As of today, there are just a couple half shares available for pick-up at Nine Pin, but otherwise, it is bittersweet to say that we cannot take on any additional members at this time. To those of you who are on the waitlist, we hope to have enough food to offer "a la carte" shares, where you can purchase one week's worth of food, as we get further into the season. We also expect to have some whole chickens available for sale throughout the summer, and we'll send periodic updates about these offerings to our email list.
Importantly, to make sure we're all on the same page, here are some thoughts and details to help make this season productive and satisfying for everyone:
As mentioned earlier, most CSA shares will be delivered this year. We will be reaching out to everyone individually today and tomorrow with your day/time blocks for share drop-offs, but the gist is this:
Local full-share members will receive their food on Thursdays or Saturdays beginning next Thursday (6/11) or next Saturday (6/13).
Local half-share members are being split into two groups: one group starts receiving food on 6/11 or 6/13, and the second group will begin receiving food the following week: 6/18 or 6/20.
Nine Pin half shares will be available at the Cidery on Wednesdays during their regular business hours, beginning 6/10 for group 1 and 6/17 for group 2.
If you have a serious conflict with your delivery assignment, please let us know ASAP and we'll see what we can do to best accommodate everyone.
As promised, each delivery is set to include 5-10 varieties of fresh veggies, greens and herbs along with one family-sized protein. On most weeks, this will be a whole chicken, but other weeks will include pork cuts such as sweet Italian sausage, bacon or pork chops.
We work to grow a diverse and abundant variety of food, but we are always at the mercy of pressures from climate, weather, pests and even predators. We do ask our members to understand and even appreciate the seasonality of their share, and please know that while early-season baskets are likely to be heavier on greens and cool-season crops, varieties will change as we march into summer days with zucchini, tomatoes and the like. Also, we grow using organic methods. It is important to understand that while we work to maintain the highest possible quality, our veggies don't always look perfect. Don't worry, they should taste closer to perfect, and we all take solace in knowing that we aren't feeding our families residual chemical pesticides, herbicides, additives or preservatives.
Our aim is to provide all of you with a good value for your investment, and we will work hard toward that end. We always have open ears for constructive feedback, and we hope you'll let us know what you think as the season rolls on.
Finally, our hearts go out to you, and we sincerely thank you for your support. The very crux of a CSA is to provide revenue to a small farm during that time of year when expenses are highest and yield is lowest. It is a leap of faith indeed to invest in such an enterprise when the return is inchoate and delayed, and this is not lost on us. By purchasing your membership when you did, you have helped us secure essentials like seeds, grain, chicks, piglets, fencing, irrigation equipment and literally tons of compost. We are so thankful for your investment, as we simply could not do it without you!
Gratefully Yours, Mark, Diana, Eva and Noah