February 21, 2011
Dear FRIENDS OF THE FARM - family, friends, former farm members, helpers and supporters far and wide, and people who have asked about the farm,
This is it! The start of the 2011 growing season and my fifth year as a farmer. Somehow, it still moves me to tears to contemplate the absolute pleasure of growing things. I guess it was meant to be and I am glad I finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up.
Still small, and getting smaller. I decided to cut back this year on the number of shares I will be growing, just to give myself a bit of room to think and to work on farm projects such as perennial plantings for future harvests. (Think peaches, asparagus, currants, etc.) Last year the farm grew 7 1/2 shares. This year my limit is 5 shares.
The seeds are here and the onions, leeks and parsley are up and growing. Some broccoli and cabbage for an early harvest to be grown in a protective tunnel just came up today! Now to build the tunnel... My mind is buzzing with plans and layouts and seed planting schedules. And I am getting pretty darn excited about the winter squash and heirloom tomatoes coming our way. Is there such thing as a vegetable-aholic? I feel like I might be one.
WORKING AT THE FARM: I am delighted to announce that Sarah Brown-Anson will be farming part-time with me this season. Sarah is a college student and wonderful person and her presence and help will be a real boost at the farm.
WORKING MEMBER: I am interested in trading a share for work, so if that interests you, please be in touch. All farm members are encouraged to come help out during the season, if you wish. Your company is welcome.
The CHICKENS are laying really well and they seem happy to see some warmer, sunnier days. I almost always have eggs for sale and sometimes send out separate emails about eggs. If you want to be informed about egg availability, just let me know. $4.00 a dozen for large, organically grown eggs. In general, there are eggs available all the time but call or email to be sure. I now have 24 hens and new chicks will be arriving in early May.
2011 FARM SHARES
NOW is the time to let me know if you are interested in getting a farm share this year. Since I am offering fewer shares than last year, and there are new people who have expressed an interest, please sign up as soon as you can. This year I will be trying out a few changes in how the farm operates (see below) and some things will stay the same.
If you are new to the farm, the way it works is that each farm member household gets a share of the harvest each week consisting of freshly picked, organically grown produce and a bouquet of cheery flowers. Farm members pay in advance for their share, which helps cover the expenses of growing our food and flowers. We all share in the bounty and the variety of the harvest. I like to grow a wide variety of vegetables and every year some crops do very well and others may not. It's all determined by Mother Nature and the effort and growing skill of your farmer. Rest assured, there is always plenty of really wonderful food for us all. The earth is generous.
Like last year, there will be FULL, HALF and MINI SHARES. I hope to begin picking for the FULL and HALF shares in mid to late May and run for 20 - 24 weeks. The early and late season shares tend to be smaller than the mid season pickings, and the contents of your share will vary, depending on what is ready to pick. Most weeks you will get some kind of salad greens, (head lettuce, mesclun, etc.) and some kind of greens for cooking (chard, kale, collards, etc.), plus several other items.
You can see pictures of the shares at the CSA blog:
The blog has links to general farm news and recipes, as well.
Every household varies in the amount of vegetables they like to eat and/or put up but I think of the Full Share as being about right for 3 - 4 adult appetites and the Half Share as suitable for 2 - 3 people. Mini Shares are for supplementing your own garden or just getting a taste of fresh greenery without making a huge commitment to cooking lots of vegetables. MINI shares will start June 2 and end September 15. Each week I will let you know what items are likely to be in the mini shares and you can let me know what you prefer, if you wish. Or let me choose for you.
Prices for 2011 are the same as 2010! Full and Half Shares are on a sliding scale.
Full Shares: $600.00 to $675.00
Half Shares: $300.00 to $350.00
Mini Shares: $100.00
Deposits of $100 for Full and Half Shares and $50 for Mini Shares are due by March 20. If you are able to make a larger payment on your share, that would be extremely helpful as most of my expenses for the farm are this month. For instance, I recently ordered $700 worth of seeds and plants! All shares should be paid in full by June 1, 2010.
*****SEED MONEY - special thank you gift for payment in full by April 1.*****
In the past I have offered delivery in Leyden. This year all shares need to be PICKED UP. Delivery is fun but it takes me about 2 hours each week to make the rounds. This year I want to use that time in other ways. Another change is the distribution day. Shares will be ready for pick up on THURSDAYS, 12:00 - 7:00. My plan is to refrigerate the shares so they will stay fresh. Hopefully, Thursdays will work for everyone. If it is a problem, talk to me. We can figure something out.
I am trying something a little different with flowers this year, as well. When you come to pick up your share, there will be jars of flowers ready to be selected. Each person can then choose their own flowers and do their own flower arranging, either right at the farm or at home. I plan on having some extra flowers available for pick your own, as well. This again, is mostly a way for me to save some time and energy with the added benefit that you will be able to select the colors and kinds of flowers you want.
PICK YOUR OWN:
There will be a section of the garden devoted to pick-your-own crops this year. They will include snow peas, snap peas, cherry tomatoes and flowers, maybe more. So if you have some extra time, and want extra vegetables and flowers, be my guest.
Remember, some things are the SAME:
PRICES AND SIZES - Same as 2010
DELICIOUS ORGANIC FOOD AND BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS
Thank you for all your interest and support for the farm. I feel extraordinarily lucky to be doing this.
Peace and joy to you all,
910 Greenfield Rd
Leyden, MA 01337
Friday, February 18, 2011
I really didn't do much posting last season. Let's put it down to general farmer overload and move onward. In 2011 I will try to use this blog to communicate more often, especially about what to expect in your share each week and what actually was picked. (These categories overlap but are not always the same. Typically, the actual share contains a few surprises.)
I have to admit that the 2010 season was a bit tough. Mostly it was the lack of rain that then became the entire lack of water. Six weeks without water coming into the house except via a garden hose from my neighbors (thank you, thank you, thank you!) was just a long time to not have something so essential to life, let alone needed for the garden. I am so grateful the water came back. Wonderful.
Okay, so this post is sort of looking forward by first looking backward. Next post: Information about the 2011 shares.
Here are some pictures of some of the shares and bouquets from 2010. Isn't it amazing how beautiful and plentiful the earth is, even when it doesn't rain for weeks on end? That bounty, and the encouragement of my friends and family, are what keeps me happy and eager to get growing.
Mini Share - mesclun and tomatoes
Mid-season Half Share (those are crabapples in the basket)
Early bouquets, lots of Sweet William
Posted by Laura Timmerman at 5:15 AM