The Ever Patient Farmer

An official hello to our 2020 members!

As we are sending you all warm wishes of health and resilience, we also offer up some excitement with the news that we are full family this year – topping out at 89 members, 75 shares total, and a strong waitlist already forming. So much to say about our food system at this time – I’m here today with more on that and what’s going on at the farm!

It is the perfect morning to sit and write to you all as I look outside at the falling SNOW! I’ve learned through the years to never be surprised by the weather – but that doesn’t mean I can’t be annoyed 🙂 Luckily we have been very patient this spring – as the winter was mild and the weather warmed quickly, many farmers have been taking the opportunity to get their first plantings in earlier. I must admit that I too have been tempted – it’s difficult when you see your fellow farms moving at a different pace (serious farmer FOMO here!) We are fortunate that we know the exact day that we need to have food – we must take a breath, trust our planning process and stick to the schedule. This has served us well as we have our first transplanting this week – meaning we haven’t had to spend hours securely covering young vulnerable plants in the field before this cold spurt!

Let’s talk more on some other early season challenges-

We, for the first time ever, are encountering a rodent problem in the greenhouse. We are fortunate in the sense that this rodent only has a taste for the youngest, most tender plants. So while our earlier seedlings are thriving, the youngest sprouts are being gobbled up almost instantly, despite our efforts to trap the bandit. Unfortunately, our precious tomatoes and eggplants have fallen victim. We are ardently reseeding and are being vigilantly watchful of these precious plant babes.

We also lost a few plants to a heating mat malfunction. We use these early on in the season to provide a little extra warmth to small plants overnight – before the Greenhouse has gotten up to a steady heat stream. Unfortunately this technology isn’t fail-proof – if they get too warm, the soil will dry out and plants will melt. However – we did catch it in time to tend most of the seedlings back to health with gentle bottom fed watering and a dose of nutrients from Fermented Plant Juice made last season. I had fun playing plant nurse – it was indeed despair turned triumph!

Now for the good news!

We have out hands back in the soil – even if it’s because we are pulling out the early weeds, it feels so good. This soil reminds us that this land we are working has been stewarded so lovingly through the years it is so fertile, forgiving, and full of life – ready to support the season ahead and feed so many people.

Our first direct seedings have gone in the ground – scallions, onions, and peas and our early transplants are looking strong and ready to get into the soil. Additionally, our garlic is growing so big already – we put some row cover over it this week to protect it from the dreaded allium leaf miner flight!

In other good news – with support of family, friends, and members were able to raise $600 to help us buy in supplies to support us in our on farm COVID safety protocols! Lots of paper towels and soap, paper and plastic bags to help us with no-contact distribution (more on that later) and some awesome homemade hand washing stations are being erected at various locations on the farm to keep us (and y’all safe and healthy!) We even had some members make us masks – which we are having trouble finding for purchase along with gloves. We are so so grateful for the amazing community that surrounds us here. Thanks for being on this journey with us!

Can you tell we’re smiling?!

Last but certainly not least – the king of greenhouse napping has returned to his rightful place atop our mountain of row cover. This news, is very good indeed 🙂

Ali – the farm cat!

What’s to come…

One final note as we keep on going – I’m sure you all are curious about how pick-up will look given our new reality. We are continuing to play it by ear – but do have some ideas in the wings. It might look striping down our market-style to a pre-packaged model which would mean a little less free choice among some items, it might mean staggered pick-up times, it might mean drive-up service…We are still waiting and working out the details! We can only ask for you patience while we do this and know that we will be in touch with a plan as soon as we hammer one out. Additionally, I will likely organize a Zoom info session to further explain procedures when the time comes!

Until next time – stay patient, stay safe. We hope you are finding hope and happiness amidst the worry and stress we are all feeling.

Big hugs, warmth and gratitude!

❤ AL (Anthony and Leslie)

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