|Although the ground is covered with snow, we have some |
beautiful spinach overwintering in our coldframes, just waiting
for more sunlight before it really starts growing again!
Hi everyone! We hope you're all having a cozy winter! For us, this time of year is our time to rest and recharge in preparation for another busy farm season. We usually spend January and February organizing our seed orders, repairing equipment and structures around the farm, and doing our end-of-year business compliance and tax stuff. Lately, Fred has been taking advantage of the warmer temperatures and sunnier days to make some much-needed repairs to our greenhouses. He completely redid the electrical and ventilation systems of our old heated greenhouse, so everything will be in good shape when we start heating the greenhouse to start our seeds in a few weeks. He also replaced the wood framing at the base of some of our older hoophouses (unheated greenhouses). We now have seven hoophouses, but they have all been acquired at different times and in different condition, and a few of them were definitely in need of a little reinforcement so they can withstand strong winds. We want to start this season with all of our greenhouses in tip-top condition, so we're giving them all some extra attention before the weather gets nice and our schedule gets crazy.
Speaking of greenhouses, if you've been reading our newsletter for a while, you'll recall that we bought a new (old) greenhouse at an auction back in November. Fred and our farmhands Callie and Taran spent about a week in December deconstructing it and bringing the pieces back to the farm, and in the next few weeks, they'll take on the monumental task of reconstructing it. It's by far the largest greenhouse we have, so we expect a construction project of several weeks to get it put up. My guess is that the process will be cold and exhausting, but once we get the greenhouse up, it will allow us to bring you more and better tomatoes this year! Our field tomatoes haven't done as well as we had hoped for the last few years, but the hoophouse tomatoes have been consistently excellent, so the inevitable conclusion was that we needed more hoophouse space so we could ensure a better supply of delicious tomatoes for future seasons.
Right now the ground is still frozen and the fields are still empty, but we do have a few crops overwintering under layers of insulating greenhouse plastic in the coldframes! If you were to walk into one of the hoophouses and pull back the additional layer of greenhouse plastic that acts like a blanket for our little plants, you'd find spinach, spring mix, green onions, cilantro, and green garlic biding their time until there is enough sunlight for them to start growing again. Getting these coldhardy plants started in the fall gives them a jump start on growing in the spring, which means we can start harvesting them months earlier than we otherwise would. In about a month, you'll start seeing them pop up at GreenTree Cooperative Grocery in Mt. Pleasant and Argus Farm Stop in Ann Arbor, and I'll definitely let you know when that happens so you can go there and get your hands on the first long-awaited veggies of the season!
We are so glad to have Taran and Callie working with us at the farm again this year! Since we are a seasonal business and can't offer full-time employment through the winter, we usually start each season with new folks who don't have experience with this type of work. We are so excited to be able to hit the ground running this spring with two people who already know what they're doing! We're also looking to hire a third full-time employee for the 2023 season, so if you know anyone who would be interested in a summer job that keeps them outside in the sun and fresh air, send them our way! This would be ideal for students who are home for the summer, or just anyone who wants a job that keeps them busy, active, and outside for the warm months. Anyone who is interested can email Fred at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call or text him at 517-449-9886.
|These green onions overwintering in |
the hoophouses will be some of the first
veggies of the season. When we start harvesting
green onions, it is one of the first hopeful
signs that spring is here!
If you're wanting to join the CSA for the 2023 season, we still have CSA shares available! Those of you who have been part of the CSA in previous years already know how delicious the veggies are, how high the quality is, and how long they last in your fridge because they've only been out of the field for a matter of hours when you get them. But I would be remiss if I didn't also make a plug for the sustainability of eating local and organic produce. Because I've been in the world of small organic farms so long, I forget that it doesn't actually go without saying. So here I am, remembering to say it! Eating local and organic is more environmentally friendly, both because your food isn't being shipped from thousands of miles away, and because as a small-scale organic farm, we're not using the same huge, gas-guzzling equipment that the large industrial farms are. Eating organic also helps preserve the environment from the synthetic chemicals that make their way into the soil and waterways around conventional farm operations. And eating local supports your local economy. Every food dollar you spend with a local food producer (whether that's us, a grower at the farmer's market, or your local food co-op) continues to circulate around the community, from the initial food producer to other small businesses, friends, and neighbors in the community. When you spend your food dollars at a large grocery chain, that money leaves the community and goes into the pockets of people far away. When you shop local, you are supporting your local economy while also locking in a weekly bounty of delicious, fresh, organic food at a much cheaper price than at the big chains. You've probably also noticed lately at the grocery store that some food items are really hard to find due to supply chain issues, or that the prices have been fluctuating a lot because of national and global supply and demand issues. But with the CSA, there is no supply chain to get disrupted, and since you've already paid ahead of time, there are no price fluctuations. The produce just gets harvested from our field, washed up in our barn, loaded onto our truck, and makes it into your hands the same day. Easy-peasy.
So with that said, here's how you can sign up if you want! The cost for a full share for the season (which includes 14 veggie items per week) is $630, and a half share (which includes 7 items) is $340 at all of our regular drop-offs. The season will be 19 weeks long, and we'll start in mid-June and go until the end of October. If you're interested in what we're growing this year for the CSA, here's a list! We have all of the same drop-off locations as last year, including Alma, Mt. Pleasant, Midland, Lansing, St. Johns, and Okemos. If you're interested in having your share dropped off to your home or workplace and you live close to our regular route, just let me know your delivery address, and I'll see if you're within our delivery radius. If you are, the delivery fee for the whole season will be $95, and that's whether you have a full share or a half share. To sign up, just fill out this CSA sign-up form, and I'll get you on our membership list and email you an invoice. Then you can either follow the payment link in the invoice or send us a check in the mail. And if it works better for you, feel free to split up your payments in whatever way makes sense. The final payment will be due by July 1, but however you want to split it up in the meantime works just fine for us!
So here we go into the 2023 season! Before we know it, the snow will be gone, the sun will be out, and we'll have green growing things coming out of the soil again! Michigan winters are long and cold and cloudy, and I personally cannot wait to get back outside to the fields again and grow some food! We look forward to seeing you all again in June when the CSA starts, and in the meantime, we wish you all a happy and healthy spring!