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Spring 2020 - CSA Member Update

Wow, what a Spring it has been. On this morning of May 14th, the coffee is hot but the ground is still frosty-cold. With any luck this will be our last frost of the season, and the garden can finally come to life!

We've been hard at work though, preparing for an exciting and fruitful CSA season. As you know, we couldn't do any of this without you, our wonderful members, so here's an overdue CSA update, and what's new on the farm:

-CSA deliveries: We've given much thought to the logistics of how to get you all your food this year. We yearn for the days when we welcome visitors with open arms, and host CSA pick-ups on the porch with friendly conversations and social interaction. Until the public health situation changes, however, we see delivery as the best option for now. We will be reaching out over the next couple weeks to set up a delivery schedule that works for everyone - if you know right now that there are certain days/times that DO NOT work for you, please feel free to let us know, as this may mitigate some back-and-forth. You can also help us prepare by making sure you have a cooler or other suitable place that we can stash your goods when the time comes.

-Half Shares: For our half share members, we need to split you all into two groups. One group will start receiving shares on the week of June 7th, and the other group will start receiving shares on the week of June 14th. Both groups will get a total of 8 deliveries over the course of the season. This allows us to maintain steady work flow, and to make sure everyone is getting a good value. So, if you have a preference of early or late, please let us know - otherwise, we will set it up randomly.

- The pigs have been in an expanded enclosure, happily foraging for acorns, roots and spring shoots with supplemental, locally sourced grain. 4 of them depart next week for processing to supply your weekly or bi-weekly shares. We are thrilled to share that we've been awarded a small grant from the American Farmland Trust to purchase an additional freezer to keep our meat products safely stored - huge thanks the the folks who's green, "No Farms, No Food" stickers are holding cars and trucks together all over the country!

-COVID-19 related pressures on the US Mail system has made chick procurement a small nightmare, but thankfully things seem to be getting back on track. Unfortunately, the hatchery in Fort Plain that we supported last year has gone out of business... please, if anyone is aware of a local/regional option for chicks, we'd be interested to hear about it. But in the meantime, we have a small number of broiler chickens out on the chilly pasture grass, with more in the brooder and many more still set to arrive. We'll be sure to include a nice, plump, pasture-raised whole chicken with about half of your deliveries this season.

-The garden is weeks behind our early-season hopes. Sustained below-normal temperatures and repetitive frosts have slowed germination and plant growth to a snail's pace. But we keep planting and preparing to where now, the garden is in a sort of suspended animation - the upcoming fair weather should kick things into gear. We've adopted an entirely different planting methodology this year, in hopes of increased efficiency and weed suppression. Essentially, rather than rows, we are using semi-permanent 30"X50' raised beds with intensive plant spacing. This is an established best-practice for market gardens run by great folks like J.M. Fortier of Les Jardins de la Grelinette in Quebec, Josh Sattin of Raleigh City Farm, and Curtis Stone, author of The Urban Farmer. With any luck, we can approach a modicum of their incredible productivity, and improve our plot for sustained improvement over the next few years.

-What's in the ground? In no particular order, so far we've planted: Onions, Potatoes, Lettuce, Spicy Greens Mix, Kohlrabi, Salad Turnips, Radishes, Beets, Kale, Purple Cabbage, Swiss Chard, Scallions, Garlic (overwintered from 2019), Parsley, Cilantro, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Escarole, Bok Choi, Chinese Cabbage, Italian Dandelion Greens, Raddichio and Spinach. Inside under lights, waiting impatiently for their moment in the sun, we have peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, tomatillos and melons. Of course, we never expect every single variety to produce as abundantly as we hope, but we intend to plant sufficient variety to stock your shares with wholesome, colorful and delicious veggies.

And so, with bated breath, we await warmer weather with smiles on our faces and gratitude in our hearts. We feel blessed to be working the soil and caring for animals that sustain and nourish us, our neighbors and our friends. We thank you for your humbling support, and we'll continue to work hard to make sure the CSA is an endeavor that we can all take pride in.

See you all soon!

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