Mid-Season 2014 Farm Report

Shared Seasons Newsletter Sept 1 2014.jpg

Hi Members,
We’ve felt like between events and recipes, we haven’t been getting enough farm news to you in the newsletter - so this report is a chance to catch up and fill you in on the growing season thus far, and what we’re projecting for the rest of the season. We try to keep things positive, but we will be honest with some of the hard realities of vegetable farming. 

In many ways, and for all the farmers in this area, it’s been a hard season. For the entire summer, we’ve had below average temperatures and uneven rainfall - May & June were too wet, July too dry, and now the fields are getting too wet again. We would typically start planting in mid-April and this season we couldn’t get into the field until mid-May! We also made the mistake of planting our first crops on the new field we were using for the first time this year, because it was the first field to dry out in the spring. This was a mistake though, because too much mulch residue was left in the field from the year before, and that tied up the nitrogen, causing our first plantings to struggle greatly. 

Those problems have translated a few ways into our CSA. First, we felt the need to move back the start date of the CSA by two weeks to ensure that there was enough produce to fill your baskets once we started.  We have also brought in more produce from other growers than we
had intended to.  We’ve also had several crop failures or delays that prevented us from bringing as much of a crop or bringing something as early as we had planned. Many, many things have been maturing more slowly than normal.

Some specific examples include : 
Our first three plantings of carrots and beets had terrible germination, so we had to till them in. Our fourth plantings (the ones you’ll get this week), matured VERY slowly. We also lost our entire parsnip planting due to poor germination and being on the new field. We planted A LOT of corn, and the maturity was very spotty, and then the raccoons ate much of what grew.  Our first plantings of cucumbers did very well, but now our second planting has contracted a disease over the whole crop and is on death’s door.  This has been a bad tomato year mostly because it’s just been too cold. While we’re very pleased to have tomatoes maturing now, the season will be greatly shortened because the plants are so stressed.  Our newest planting of zucchini is also struggling, and we hope it can make a recovery to produce for a few more weeks.

Looking ahead:
Like always, we’re hopeful for what lies ahead.
Our broccoli and cauliflower is maturing well, and the plants look large and healthy.  The winter squashes are looking very good - amazing compared to last year! And there will be several varieties to choose from! We’ve harvested enough onions to supply you through the season, hoping they dry and store well.  We will be buying your potatoes from Igl Farm in Antigo, WI (certified organic). Reds and yellows.The fall plantings of carrots and beets look healthy. We’ll have about 3-4 weeks worth of celery to offer. Our fall cabbages have HUGE leaves, so hopefully they make HUGE heads! The Yokatta-na continues to be AWESOME, and we’ve planted more Asian greens, lettuce, and spinach for the fall.

The other great thing, is you, our members! Thank you for your continued support and guidance!Please always feel free to give us your feedback because it informs what we do to make it the best for you! Thank you!
Paul & Sara
Shared

Back in the Saddle Again

Back in the Saddle Again...

As you can see, our veggies are catching up to our bellies, and most of the produce is from our own field this week.  I forgot to mention the origin of the cucumbers - they’re grown by Norman Miller, and amish gentleman who’s certified organic, and has heated hoophouses to produce these amazing & early cucs - by comparison our plants haven’t even made flowers yet!

 

 

Weeders caught in action...

Weeders caught in action...

Here at Last!

I don’t think I’m alone in feeling a great relief for the return of fresh food and warm weather!  And, while it’s been a lot of rain, so far it hasn’t been too much.  We’ve very lucky to have a field that’s on a high spot and doesn’t have a heavy clay soil, so it drains better than a lot of farmland in the area.  So far, none of our plantings have been washed out or damaged by the rain - so we’ll keep our fingers crossed it stays that way! 

We’re thrilled to be back for another season providing CSA shares.  Many of you have asked how many members we have this year, and the answer is 80 households.  That’s about double the number of members from last year, and it about the same as the farm we used to manage in the Stevens Point area.

A View of The Field

A View of The Field

Next week, I’ll introduce ourselves more, but there’s too much to talk about this week to blab about ourselves!

Madre’s Garden

A huge thank you to Sara’s mom, Carolyn who will be supplying the CSA with some perennial herbs from her vast home garden.  These herbs and her surrounding yard is not treated with any chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers ever.

The Berry Dairy

Thanks to Joe, Rosi, Jeff, and Joey Faust - the incredible family who rent our land to us.  They also supply the plump, delicious strawberries we’ll be offering this summer.  The strawberries are naturally produced: with no chemical pesticides or herbicides sprayed on them.