Tuesday, May 30, 2017

CSA Start Date! (And Giveaway Contest!)

Hi everyone!  We have an official start date for the CSA!  We're going to be kicking off the drop-offs the third week of June, so the first deliveries are as follows:

Alma: Monday, June 19 (5-6 PM at His Place)
Mt. Pleasant: Tuesday, June 20 (5-6 PM at Herbs, Etc.)
Lansing/Okemos: Wednesday, June 21 (4:30-close at both locations of Mert's Meats)
Midland: Thursday, June 22 (5-6 PM at Eagle Ridge Church of God)

Just let me know if you have any questions about that!  Also, we still have some shares available, so to help get the word out about the CSA, we’re going to be hosting a giveaway this week! We’ll be giving away a gift basket that includes:
• Some of our lovely organic spinach
• A bag of our organic spring mix
• Some of our organic baby bok choy
• three dozen of our free-range eggs
• and a copy of the cookbook “From Asparagus to Zucchini”, which has a TON of great recipes for virtually any veggie you can think of! 

And we’ll even deliver the basket to you at your home or workplace next week when we’re headed in your direction! So here’s how it works:

Every day between now and Friday, I’m going to post something on our facebook page (you can find that right here). When you see it, tag your friends you think would enjoy seeing the post or knowing more about the CSA. For each person you tag, each post you share, or if you comment on a post, you’ll get one more entry into the raffle for the gift basket. Seriously, tag your friends! We want this to be huge!

I’ll keep track of how many entries each person has, and on Friday night, I’ll draw one lucky winner! Okay everyone! Ready, set, TAG! 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Our Coldframes and Season Extension

Farm Update

Last Monday was a huge transplanting
day at the farm!  Here I am, transplanting
thousands of little onion plants into
the field.
Hello everyone!  We are definitely into the swing of the season now that the weather is consistently springy (although "consistent" and "spring" don't usually belong in the same sentence when it comes to weather).  There are so many tasks occurring now at the farm, including seeding, planting, harvesting, packing, and delivering veggies, weeding, constructing new coldframes, and pretty soon, putting up our deer fence.  Diversified vegetable production is one of the few types of farming where planting and harvesting overlap; indeed, we often do both in the same day.  In any given week in the spring, we're starting a new cohort of seeds in the greenhouse, transplanting little baby plants into the fields that were, a few weeks previous, those little seeds we started, and harvesting lettuce, spinach, radishes, microgreens, and green garlic for local stores and restaurants.  It's definitely a busy time of year, but it's welcome after the long freeze of winter.  At this point in the season, we're still energetic and just happy to be back outside, with none of the burnout that we'll be feeling by September.  Because like the plants, the people at the farm also have a seasonal life cycle that is almost as inevitable as that of the crops we grow.  So here's to spring, and all of the promise that comes with it!

Our Coldframes and Season Extension

This picture of the coldframe
construction project was taken last
week.  Happily, both of the new tunnels
have plastic on them now, and we can
get things growing in them!
Six years ago when we put up our first coldframe, we were amazed at what a stir it created in our little community.  We're on a well-traveled, highly visible stretch of highway, and locals who couldn't remember seeing anything but grazing animals on our little parcel of land in decades were keenly curious about that weird tunnel thing that that new young guy had put up.  It happened several times a week that we'd run into someone at the grocery store or the hardware store, or someone would just stop by the farm to ask, "So what's that thing out in your field with the plastic on it?"

That thing was our shiny new coldframe (also called a high tunnel), an unheated greenhouse that helps us extend our growing season a few months by getting early crops earlier and late crops later.  We plant early lettuce and spinach in the coldframes long before we are able to get into the field, and the greenhouse effect inside the tunnel keeps the plants a few degrees warmer than they would be otherwise.  This small protection from wind and cold is enough to help them grow strong and delicious before they could survive in the open field.  The same is true late in the year.  We can usually get another crop of our especially cold-hardy favorites like kale even after we shut down field production for the year.  We also use our coldframes in high summer for things like tomatoes.  The coldframes help keep them dry even in the harshest rains, which helps protect them from the foliar diseases that take off when the leaves get wet.  Tomatoes also have a tendency to crack when the weather gets too humid, and being in the coldframes instead of the fields helps the tomatoes stay whole and crack-free.

Now we have six coldframes (two of which we just put up in the last few weeks, which was quite a project, let me tell you!) and two heated greenhouses.  People are used to seeing them along the north side of M-46 now, and often when I meet someone new and tell them where our farm is, they respond with, "Oh, you have those greenhouses!  I always wondered about those!"  Having our coldframes has been pivotal in our ability to make a living, and a life, doing small-scale organic farming.  Aside from just being generally hard work, it is also highly susceptible to weather-related catastrophes, and having our coldframes and greenhouses makes it slightly less so.  We are constantly grateful to our coldframes and other season extension structures for helping us produce more good food, and to all of you who buy it!


We are now fully into the first spring veggies!  Farmer's markets are starting up for the season,  and co-ops and small grocery stores that source local produce now have more than the tiny trickle of produce they were able to get for the last few months!  You should be seeing local lettuce, spinach, radishes, green onions, asparagus, and rhubarb, and maybe kale and microgreens, and that is super exciting!  Normally I post recipes that are pretty healthy, but I just couldn't resist sharing this recipe for Fresh Rhubarb Pie, which I've made about half a dozen times since the rhubarb came in.  Because sometimes you just have to celebrate each fruit and veggie in its own peak season by eating ridiculous amounts of it.  And this recipe is a good place to start. :-)