Saturday, June 30, 2012

Some Like It Hot

Things got kind of warm on Wednesday, but there was a nice breeze until about 3pm.  Once that wind died down, it started feeling a bit like an oven.  On the plus side, the humidity didn't move in until the next day.

Even so, our intrepid crew of four (Anden, Jordan, Tammy and myself) managed to get straw mulch spread in the tomatoes, some of the cages pulled out of the grass and some of those cages put up with the tomatoes.  We all moved a little bit slower than we might have on other days, but progress was consistent.  Lots of water was consumed as well.

It looks like we'll be on the warmer side for a while now.  And, it looks like the pattern or rain avoiding us will also continue.  It's odd watching the radar and seeing rain systems fall apart or disappear as they approach us.  And, we've gotten so used to  fretting about too much rain that we're not sure if it is safe to want rain...

Some other notes of interest relating to the Farm Share CSA, our crops, poultry and whatever else comes to mind:
  • We lost some of our biggest broilers to the heat on Wednesday.  Never had to deal with that before - and we're not sure that we could have done much more about it than we did.  
  • An excellent idea from Jeff Cornforth for our CSA members.  If you are having trouble remembering what you are getting, take a picture of each item in its tray with the label.  You can get home and compare with the picture to remember what you have.
  • We do still have 20-25 whole chickens available for sale in this batch.  Get them before they all find their homes.
  • The garlic needs to be harvested.  Soon.
  • Speaking of things that need to be done soon (we were?), how do you handle a priority list when they are all "priority 1" items?    Then, what do you do when the day is over and half of the priority 1 items are NOT completed?  It may be time for me to rework my post on lists.  But, that is a "priority 5" item, I think.
  • Did you know - roosters start crowing sporadically at 4 AM?
  • We realize it is a big time for vacations for many of you.  We also realize you are all busy.  However, we could use some volunteer weeding or watering time on the farm.  Contact us if you can help - we'll negotiate a time if you are interested.  
  • Related to the above item.  We do have a couple of people who work 4 days a week on the farm and we have a crew of 'on demand' weeders that we also pay.  It's just a reminder of how much there is to do on the farm if we're also asking for a little volunteer help to catch up.

    Monday, June 25, 2012

    Chickens Looking to Be Dinner Guests

    Our day-range broiler chickens will be taking their trip to "The Park" on Friday of this coming week (June 29).  This means we are ready to begin taking reservations for these birds. 

    How to Reserve:
       Send us an email at  gff genuinefauxfarm com
    OR come to our CSA distribution and sign up there.
       DO NOT call, we don't always have what we need ready to make sure we get it all down properly.  DO NOT send notes via Facebook, our internet doesn't always let us get into that part of the website to see it.  DO repeat your request if you don't get a positive response within 36 hours of your email.

    What you need to tell us
       -  How many birds you want. 
       -  If you want any of them cut into pieces.  They will be WHOLE birds (not cut up) unless you ask us to have some birds cut up.  It costs an additional $1 to ask the processor to cut up the bird.
       -  Which pick up option you would prefer (see below).
       - Any additional instructions you feel are necessary.


       - Prices are figured by weight.
       - if you pick birds up on Friday (unfrozen) in Waverly (see pick up options below) cost is $3.25/pound
       - if you pick birds up at the farm, but AFTER they are frozen, cost is $3.30/pound
       - if you need us to bring the birds to Waverly or Cedar Falls for a pick up, the birds will be frozen and the cost will be $3.40/pound
       - average weight is estimated to be 5 pounds per bird, some will be bigger, some smaller.  Normal range is 4-6 pounds.

    Delivery/Pickup of Broilers:
       - OPTION 1: Pick up in Waverly approx 2:30PM to 3:30PM.  We will be in the Science Center parking lot at Wartburg College, in the SouthWest corner.  We will be returning from picking up the processed birds in Greene and they will be unfrozen.  If you want this option you MUST tell us.  Why?  Because we cannot guarantee that we will be there exactly at these times, this is our best guess based on past experience.  There are too many variables having to do with cooling and other processing issues that we cannot control.  So, if we know you are coming, we can call some/all of you if things change. 
       - OPTION 2 : Pick up at the farm.  Birds will be taken to Fredericka Locker before they close on Friday.  We have to get the birds from them Saturday and put them in our own freezers.  It is a good idea to contact us BEFORE you come to pick up birds. 
       - OPTION 3 : Pick up during a CSA distribution.  If you've looked at our truck and the number of coolers, etc we have to bring with us for veg, you can guess that space can be at a premium.  We will begin bringing chickens for people on Tuesday (Waverly) and Thursday (Hansen's in Cedar Falls) and we will fit as many as we are able.  But, this means that we may not be able to bring ALL orders during the first week of July.  It all depends on space available to haul it to the distribution points.    It is NOT cost effective for us to make a special delivery date/time that is separate from the distributions.  That's why we do it this way. 

    How many are available:
       Approximately 180 birds are estimated to be available. (103 are now reserved - 77 still available)   

    Other details about what you will receive
       The birds will be processed - which means they will be cleaned and placed in bags that work fine for freezing.  Birds are whole unless you order a cut up bird.  We estimate that the average processed size of these birds will be around 5 pounds, which is a very good size.

    Frozen or unfrozen:

       If you want an unfrozen bird, you MUST pick up your bird from us in Waverly on June 29 (after we pick them up from the processor).  Otherwise, the remaining birds will be taken to the Fredericka Locker to be flash frozen.  We simply do not have refrigerator space to hold birds unfrozen for those who want them that way.  Freezing birds costs us approximately 5 cents/pound to do at the locker.  We will pass remove this cost for birds picked up on Friday (your price will be 5 cents per pound cheaper).

    Who processes the birds?

       Martzahn's Farm in Greene, Iowa processes the birds.  They do have a state of Iowa inspector on premises, so you can rest assured that the birds have passed inspection.  This is the processor we have used for all of our birds and we find that their work is well worth what we pay them.

    About these birds:
    Day range chickens are fed organic feed and are given the opportunity to forage on our pastures.  We do NOT raise the Cornish X hybrid that is bred to eat and grow.   We DO raise Freedom Rangers.  These birds have, in our opinion, a better taste, are smarter birds and like to forage and run around like chickens should run around.  The reason fewer people raise them is that they take longer to grow up to a size where they can be processed. We have now raised this type of bird for the past five years or so.  They are simply a better bird.

    Thank you for being willing to read this email carefully and thank you in advance for your orders. 
    Rob & Tammy

    Saturday, June 23, 2012

    A Thousand Words

    To supplement the farm report.  Here are pictures from June 22, 2012 for your enjoyment and edification.

    Their days are numbered - and that number is SIX!  The broilers are "day-ranged" and are now available to be reserved.

    Our Winter Squash Field.  The area closest to the camera was direct seeded and is just popping up.  The transplants are further away.  Don't let perspective fool you, much more is transplant than seed.
    Field E2 is beans and potatoes.  This is what one of our spacing trials looks like when it is weeded.
    And, here's what it looks like when it is NOT weeded.  Anyone out there have a need for some therapy?  Weeding IS therapy.  Better yet - you want potatoes and beans this year?  These need to be weeded now.
    Same field, different spacing, mostly weeded.  See, we haven't been just sitting and watching the weeds grow.
    Summer squash and zucchini transplants.  This is succession 2.  Succession 1 is over on the left.  Rows just to the left of this succession hold recently seeded turnip and beet rows.
    Tomatoes!  Note the drip tape.  It looks pretty clean right now, but we just went and looked at it all of 36 hours later.... not so clean!  Time to weed, mulch, cage and trellis.
    Cucumbers and climbing beans (at the right).  Got to get that fence up for the beans soon.  The cukes are transplants (for the most part) and are starting to 'take.'  So, a growth spurt should be upcoming for them.
    Brassica and onions (broccoli, pok choi, etc).  Really, we worked hard to weed this field....
    Evidence of our weeding job is still there.  But, we've got to get back at it.
    Okra, beans and eggplant in the southwest field.  Recently wheel hoe cultivated.
    Another view of the same field with peppers.
    Pumpkins are looking VERY good.
    Lettuce and weeds.  Note the arugula that has bolted on the right.
    The melon field is one of our experiments with paper mulch.  The plants are in, but were not at the point we took this picture.
    And, here is the tool we used to put the paper mulch down.  It took a day to put the darned thing together and get everything lined up properly.  But, you have to spend time to save time.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    Farm Report - June 21, 2012

    Creativity Low - News/Announcements Several 

    Lettuce Varieties
        CSA members got their first taste in the regular season of the variety of um...varieties we can have for some of our produce.  Sometimes the choice can be overwhelming.  But, remember, we're there to help - so feel free to ask.
    Waverly had the opportunity to choose from Crispmint (we even had some for sale at the front table Tuesday!), Red Salad Bowl, Gold Rush and Bronze Arrowhead.  Cedar Falls was able to choose from Crispmint, Red Salad Bowl, Bronze Arrowhead, Forellenschus and Grandpa Admires.
    If you want to learn more about the varieties we grow - go here!

    Want some lettuce?
         If you want some lettuce and are not part of the CSA, there are some opportunities for you!   Hansen's Outlet in Cedar Falls has 18 heads of lettuce from Genuine Faux Farm for sale at the same price we would sell them for at a market ($4/head).  The lettuce is certified organic.  Encourage them to keep stocking GFF veg if you like seeing it there by voting with your dollar.  CSA members - do not worry, you come first!  But, I bet you won't be able to eat all the lettuce we currently have getting ready. 

    Currently at Hansen's - Bronze Arrowhead, Grandpa Admires, Rouge d'Hiver.

    CSA Report
      We've been pleased with the produce we have been able to provide thus far and even more pleased with the kind, supportive people for whom we have the privilege to be their personal farmers.   There have been a few bumps in the road, primarily with people getting the schedule set to pick up produce.  Life is busy and things happen.  But, good food is important too.  We want you to have your produce!  Come and get it!

    Rain Rain Rain
      It seems that every year is all about rain.  In recent years, it's been about way too much of the stuff.  This year has been the opposite.  We were grateful for the .4" we received last night.  We're also grateful for the soil we have that holds alot of water.   We weren't so grateful for it in previous years.

    Bye Bye Beeps
       We nickname our little turkeys "Baby Beeps" when they're still less than a month or so old.  Unfortunately, our batch of beeps this year got wet in the rain and most died from hypothermia.  We discovered this while doing chores early this AM.  We found 2 of the 55 or so birds were fine.  Four were barely alive.  We attempted to revive those birds and succeeded with one.  So we have 3 of 55 birds remaining.  We are looking to see if we can acquire more beeps for our 2012 turkey flock.

       The countdown to their trip to the park begins.  Details on how to reserve birds will be out on Friday.  We wanted to get through the CSA week before we shifted attention.

    Mulch layer
       We look for ways to make our farm more effective every year.  One of our attempts to address weed problems is to lay paper mulch.  We do not believe plastic mulch is a good idea for the long term health of our soil, but have much more liking for the biodegradable paper mulch.  We purchased a used flatbed mulch layer from our friends at Grinnell Heritage Farm.  Rob was finally able to set aside some time and get the thing put together and adjusted.  Our first trial of paper mulch is now underway.  One third of the melon crop will get this treatment.  Hopefully, this will reduce the need to weed this crop. 

    Oui, We Weed
      And weed and weed and weed.  Thanks to a great crew the past couple of weeks, you've all worked very hard.  We may never catch up, but we're giving it as good a shot as is possible.  We'll try to get some photos up so everyone can see.

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    A Day in the Life....

    I've been trying to *not* open my eyes for a while, even though the light that is hitting them indicates to me that the sun has announced the beginning of a new day.  I may be a farmer, but I'm still not a morning person.  Unfortunately, the buzzing sound is the not so appreciated electronic device that was set to remind us that we are supposed to be up now.

    Now, we don't get up at a terribly obscene (in our view) hour, but we don't sleep in either.  A little hint about day-ranging poultry.  They get up when the sun does and only have so much patience before you have to let them out.  If you've never been given a verbal dressing down by an angry hen before...

    Mornings remind us how much we need water to sustain life.  The broilers need water, the hens need water, the hen chicks need water, the ducks need water, the turkeys need water, the cats need water, Rob needs a shower, all the plants in pots or trays need water - those pots and trays are located in multiple places on the farm.  And...those transplants you put in late yesterday.  You know - the 800 or so summer squash/zucchini plants?  Ya, it didn't rain, so they need water too.  And, those cucumber transplants look like they need something too.  Hmmmm.

    It is amazing how many things on the farm are now classified as "chores."  In our mind, a chore is something you have to do *every* day - usually twice a day, with the second one often being the reverse of the first.  For example, open up the high tunnel, close down the high tunnel.  Let the birds out, put the birds in.  And, on days like today, water everything....twice.

    Another thing that we're getting used to (and maybe better at) is being prepared for our summer workers.  Anden and Jordan typically work Monday through Thursday and arrive at 8:30am.  Sometimes we have an emergency 'weeding crew' for the morning hours.  Part of the morning 'chores' is to be prepared for whatever it is our crew will be doing each day.  This week has been pretty good - we've been on top of that particular item.  But, what does one do on a day when you are having a hard time telling YOURSELF what should be done?

    One thing can change how a day looks.  Answer this:  Is today a CSA Farm Share Distribution Day.

    No.  Okay!  We need to get everything *other than* picking done today (unless it is later in the season, then the picking never stops - we hope).  (****note - we'll do "yes." some other blog post*****)

    A good example was Wednesday this week.  We had the larger crew for a good portion of the day.  As a result, we saw some onion rows get weeded.  And when we say rows, we mean rows (200 foot long).  And to give the crew credit, they were pulling GRASS in those onion rows.  We hope none of them had nightmares afterward.

    The tomato plot was weeded in its entirety.  The drip tape was untangled and buried where it belongs.  Every row was wheel hoed and the nasty Canadian thistle we hurt by wheel hoeing was raked up and taken to the compost pile.  That's one hefty accomplishment.  Thanks Anden, Jordan, Haley Jo and Katelyn!

    Rob reminded himself that he needs to use the wheel hoe a bit more *each day* rather than trying to do an entire field in one day.  But, when it needs doing and the time you have to do it is now...

    Once the workers leave for the day (4pm or 5pm depending) we usually take a short break unless we're trying to finish a particular project.  Then, we normally take on one more project before we begin our night time chores.  This Wednesday's chore was tilling the rows for the aforementioned 800 summer squash and zucchini plants.  And, we decided that, while we were at it, we'd direct seed the next succession at the same time. 

    Two hours.  1200 row feet planted.  Cool.

    At any time of year, most of the evening chores happen at or around dusk.  If you are thinking as you read this, you are realizing that this is a less than optimal situation.  In June, it makes 'knocking off early' impossible.  In late September it means we're losing alot of work time because we have to get the chores done before we're ready to stop! 

    He must be a farmer.  Never happy with anything.

    Hope you enjoyed the ramblings with respect to a day in the life...

    Monday, June 11, 2012

    Crop Report

    For those who want to know what's up with the veg on the farm - here it is!  The June 11th Crop Report from GFF!

    I can just feel the electricity in the room....of course, if I fixed the short in my keyboard...

    Tomatoes - all planted.  Most appear to have set roots well.  None down (knock on wood) which is a record.  We usually lose 4-8 plants out of 600 to wind, etc.  Tomatoes in the high tunnel are not much ahead of those in the field.
    Peppers - majority of sweet and bell peppers are in.  Still have to do hot peppers and a few more bells.  Peppers in the high tunnel are slightly ahead of the field peppers.
    Eggplant - one half of the plants are in.  For some reason, our specialty eggplant did not start well in their trays.  Despite being treated well, as they always are, we're not pleased with the way they look.  We'll get them in the ground and see what happens.
    Okra - we cut down how much we planted this year.  It's a matter of time to pick and people to pick that don't break out in rashes when they do so!
    Pumpkin - all in and looking good as transplants.
    Brassica (broccoli, etc) - First wave is in, we are just starting the next wave of brassica in trays.  Most appear to have set their roots and are getting growth.  A really good crop of kohlrabi getting going.  We are not happy with how much early loss we had for some things.  Especially cauliflower and romanesco.  It happens.
    Onions - One field is in.  The onions in another field are in trays still.  We admit to overplanting because we tend to lose so many to weeds.
    Leeks- we reduced how many we planted and this batch looks fabulous...hmmmmm
    Pole beans - germination is relatively high.  Fences need to be put up soon!
    Peas - We'll see.  We're trying some new things that may or may not get us much.
    Cucumbers - succession #1 is transplanted.  A small section needs to be seeded because we underestimated the plants necessary.  cukes in the high tunnel as an experiment are in.  We shall see.
    Melons - only one row in the high tunnel.  Good germination.  Rest are in trays with good germination.  We need to get the mulch layer together and put the paper mulch down prior to transplant.
    Potatoes - The harder planting method is, of course, resulting in better germination at this point.  Weeds are starting to catch us here.
    Green beans - Very good germination.  Weeds also catching us here.
    Dry beans - as above.
    Winter squash - in trays.  Field is prepped and needs to be marked out and transplant beds made.
    Summer Squash & Zucchini - early succession is putting on growth after a 15-20% transplant loss.  Second succession in trays waiting to be put in ground.  Third succession will likely be direct seeding.
    Garlic - there is something going on with the garlic.  Very inconsistent with the scapes and maturity.  Lots of rot - even though we haven't had much rain.  We have never seen this before.   doing some research in all of our *snirk*  spare time....
    Lettuce - starting to fill out in successions I & II.  III-V are in trays.
    Spinach - we should get a picking out of it this week.  After that - unlikely.
    Arugula - what a disappointment this Spring.  We'll leave it at that (don't get Rob started).
    Mustard - looks good.  Succession I likely gets its last pick this week.  II should go a while yet.
    Chard - starting to fill out nicely.
    Kale - succession I is in great shape.  II starting to fill out.  III in trays.
    Radish - warm weather....we'll get a pick this week, but they may be a bit warmer in taste.

    I'm sure I've missed something - but - this has been your GFF Crop Report for June 11, 2012.   


    This Week In GFF

    Don't know if it still exists, but I used to watch TWIB (This Week In Baseball).  It was usually a recap of events.  We'll steal the idea, but use to cover what we anticipate for the upcoming week.

    Ok ok.  So this one is a look in the rear view mirror.  Tammy and I managed to put in a decent day of work.  Cucumber seedlings in, pumpkin seedlings in, etc etc.   But, the real winner was the 4 tenths of an inch of rain over night.  The thunder and lightning and wind did decide to wait until about 12:45 AM to arrive though.  So, another night with abbreviated sleep.

    Today's a paperwork day for Rob.  Tammy is off to get another 1.5 ton of feed for birds.  Looks like some high tunnel work as well.

    Reminder - if you pick up on Tuesday and you want to reserve eggs - get that email sent to Tammy!

    Speaking of birds - BROILERS (Chickens) will be processed on June 29 - a Friday.  It is time to begin sending us orders for these birds.  If you want them unfrozen, we will try to swing through Waverly for a pick up after we get them from the processor (Martzahn's in Greene)

    CSA day for Waverly Group.  This distribution is likely to be a little less impressive than the first one.  But, that's the nature of the early shares.  We anticipate some greens (kale in particular!) and radish.  Should be some beet greens as Jeff Sage continues to thin the beets.  We may not have garlic scapes this week.

    Speaking of garlic - we're not liking what's going on with the garlic this season.  We've never seen this situation before and are trying to figure it out.  We'll keep you updated.

    We also anticipate a larger 'on call' work crew Tuesday morning for weeding.

    We're going to do 'everything' on Wednesday.  Weed, plant, build.  Etc.  We need about four Wednesdays.

    Note: we are looking at a Tom Sawyer Day Friday/Sat.  However, if you wanted to come put in a little volunteer work at the farm - Wednesday would also be a good day.  If you wish to do this, please let us know.

    Tripoli members get their CSA shares for the week.
    Cedar Falls/W'loo people who want eggs should have a note sent to Tammy by the end of the day Wednesday.

    Cedar Falls CSA distribution.  We think we've managed so far to keep the spinach from bolting.  So you should get your spinach this week (Waverly and Tripoli received spinach in Week 1).  It is *possible* that some lettuce will be ready.  The rain may well kick some things into gear.

    If last week was any indication - Fridays are going to be our day for taking a deep breath.  We'll still get things done *AND*

    Tom Sawyer Day part I - Friday anytime between 1:30 pm and 6:00 pm.  If you are here during the later portion, you could feel free to bring a 'picnic' supper with you.  We can supply some iced tea or lemonade...  Please let us know by the end of the day on Thus if you are interested and roughly when you hope to arrive. 

    This will be a work day - please don't come expecting a bunch of touring, etc.  The weeds are currently small, but they are starting to get hold.  We need some help to keep them under control.

    We do not have anything for the Farmers' Market at this time, so we will not be there.  However, after you visit the farmers' market....

    Tom Sawyer Day Part II - 9:00 am to Noon. 

    We found out last year that many of you appreciated a couple of time choices to come work at the farm.  So, we are trying it again. 

    Remember, the only way we can make this work is if we know you are planning on heading this way.  It makes it possible to gather tools and plan the activities.

    Primary activities in for the Tom Sawyer Day (both parts)
      1. Weeding
      2. Painting the truck barn
      3. planting some bushes and trees

    If you have preferences about what you want to do, please tell us.  Some activities depend entirely on who/how many, etc.

    Friday, June 8, 2012

    New at GFF

    It seems there is always something new here at GFF.  For example, the blogger today is new - this is Tammy and I am trying my hand at a blog post today.  Another "new" is our newest baby bird editions.  Ducklings (Muscovy) and turklings (our term for bronze baby turkeys) arrived this week.  I am sure babies were made so cute to make sure parents and caretakers get attached and don't chuck them out when they start to get stinky or annoying.  While their cuteness is not new, I enjoy being reminded each spring about how cute they are as little ones.  The ducks don't pay us much attention, but the turks look directly up at us and ask questions.  That's fun.

    Also new this week - CSA distribution!  We have met so MANY new people this week.  We are at around 110 families this year, so lots of new faces.  Thanks to everyone for coming to get veg and we are really excited about the positive attitudes of everyone.  Your excitement give us energy.

    Another "new" this year - we are trying out hiring college students as emergency work crews to see if we can keep up with or even get ahead of the weeds.  Bringing in lots of extra people is new to us, but also exciting to see if we can keep control of the fields.  Stay tuned to see if that works out.

    Finally, dry is new.  With so many wet years since we started, we are having to adjust to dry.  Part of our adjusting is learning to lay drip tape and then learning to make feeder hoses to get water out to our transplants.  We are really good at planting and pretty good at weeding.  Making and putting things together - this is somewhat less comfortable.  Stay tuned!


    Monday, June 4, 2012

    CSA Season Starting!

    The following is an enhancement of the email sent out to our CSA subscribers this week.  There is actually MORE info for you here if you wish it!

    The email list:
      If you wish to opt out of this list, you can do so ONLY if you have another email that IS on the list.  This is our primary method to reach you with announcements and other CSA information. 

    On the other hand - if you are reading this here AND you are a CSA member AND you did not receive a copy of the email - it would be good to contact us to remedy that situation.

    CSA Pickup for Waverly
      Where: Waverly Farmers' Market - 200 block of 1st Ave SE
      When:  3:30pm to 6:00 pm on Tuesdays
      Beginning: June 5
      Ending: Approx 3rd week of October.
      Who:  Rob and/or Tammy will be there.  Jeff Cornforth will be working with us at distributions starting in week 3.  It is possible that Anden Drolet will be there for the first two weeks.

    CSA Pickup for Cedar Falls
      Where: Hansen's Outlet - 127 East 18th St.  We will be in the lot BEHIND the store.  Look for the blue truck with the red hood and black topper.  We're nothing if not colorful!
      When:  4:00pm to 6:00 pm on Thursdays
      Beginning: June 7
      Ending: Approx 3rd week of October.
      Who:  Rob and/or Tammy will be there.  Anden Drolet will be working on Thursday distributions from the beginning into August.

    CSA for Tripoli
       Apparently there are only two of you again this season.  There were a few others who reserved spots, but failed to follow through and are not responding to us (if you are one of these people and are reading this - we ARE trying to contact you.  Is it possible we're being blocked?).  So, we will do as we did last season.  Wednesday delivery to your door.

    Reaching Tammy & Rob
       A note about calling our cell phones.  Please use them if there is a problem - we will have them on when we are at a CSA distribution and we will be prepared to answer at that time.  HOWEVER - if it is prior to the beginning of the CSA distribution, it is likely we will have them OFF.  Why?  Because we'll be too busy trying to get your produce picked, cleaned and packed - or we might be on the road getting to the distribution point.  If you call at these times, be prepared to leave a message. 

    This brings me to another point.  You should expect to leave a message most times you call.  Why?  Because we can't always hear our phones or drop what we're carrying in time to answer.  We try to check the phone for messages at noon and in the evening at a minimum.

    What do you need to do to pick up for the CSA?

    • Bring a bag or box to put your produce into.  It can often be a good idea to have multiple bags if there are things that are a bit more fragile than others during a week. 
    • Check yourself off on the check-in list
    • Look at the sign at each station it will tell you how much of each item is allotted to you. (one number will be for large shares, one for standard shares - if you forget the check off list will have the size of share you signed up for)
    • Select produce from each station/basket/tray to fill your allotment.  
    What will be in this weeks' share?
       We always tell people to adjust their expectations early as things start slowly.  But, we think you'll enjoy what you'll get.  Wait until July, you'll have no worries about volume!
    Anticipated this week:  arugula, spinach, radish, leeks/green onions,beets    Depending on the volume of arugula/spinach we may make it an OR proposition or make it into a greens mix.  Cedar Falls will likely be getting kale/swiss chard in stead of spinach/arugula.  Beet greens should show up in there somewhere.

    AND - the arrival of garlic scapes this year is early.

    What if I want more/less of something:
       We are finding that one of the best ways to handle it is to ask others around you if they want to trade.  But, if this does not suit, ask one of us - we usually have a good idea of what has been left behind and what is extra.  AND...if you tell us you are opting out of something, we can offer it to someone else.  (note, we have tried trade in boxes before and found that alot of produce got damaged in the process)  Excess at the end of market gets donated to the Cedar Valley Friends of the Family on days one of their volunteers comes to pick up (Waverly) and we donate to the Food Bank (Cedar Falls). 

    What if I cannot make it - or realize around 6pm that I have forgotten to pick up?

    • If you know you will not make it on a given week ,let us know in advance.  You can designate someone else to pick up if you wish.  If that is the case, just let us know and we'll try to make your substitute feel welcome.  If no one will pick up your share, we will make arrangements for getting it to someone in need - but remember, we need to know so we can make adjustments.
    • If you realize "UH OH!  It's 5:55pm and I forgot to pick up my share" - give us a call.  We don't start packing until 6pm.  If we know you are coming we can gather your share for you and be ready when you arrive.  If the situation is more difficult than that, call us anyway.  We might have a solution to handle the issue if you give us a chance to work one out.
    Recommendations for those splitting shares
      If you have never split a share before, try one of these approaches we are aware of that have been made to be successful.
    1. Come at the same time and negotiate as you pick up.
    2. Alternate every other week with those you share with.  Many things will easily store in your fridge for 7-14 days.  If one family is traveling, you can swap some weeks around.
    3. Have a dinner together on the distribution night.  Use some of the produce there and split the rest.
    4. Remember - we do not split the share for you.  We aren't going to even begin to guess how you want it split, nor do we normally have time to do that sort of processing.  
    5. Also remember, early season share sizes are smaller.  They pick up as the season goes on. 

    Large vs Standard Sized Shares
       Large shares get some benefits that standard sized shares do not get.  Obviously, they get more produce during the season.  This difference is not as obvious early on, but it becomes more pronounced as the harvest increases.  Examples of differences might be with respect to one veg type (6 cucumbers vs 4) or more of a set of things (standard: kale OR chard, large: kale AND chard).  But, it also means that large shares get items we have less of.  For example, the first tomatoes might only be a few dozen.  The large shares will get a taste of them typically one week before other shares.

    Egg Shares
      This is a long ways down - but if you signed up for egg shares you should read this!
       We made a decision to do away with egg shares.  It is simply too time intensive to maintain our egg shares and contracts.  All it takes is a couple of exceptions to the established patterns and a couple of days where we're too tired to update the books.  Add in the fact that we try to pass this back and forth between the two of us...  You get the picture.  It doesn't work.
      Add to this the tendency of our laying flock to give us varying egg numbers as the season progresses and you have a recipe for farmer irritation.  At present, the ladies lay between 4 and 5 dozen eggs a day.  It could go as high as 6 and as low us...well...0.

    So - if you signed up for egg shares.  We are putting you on an email list to remind you of the availability of eggs.  Here is what it means for you:

    • Eggs are pay as you go ($3/dozen)
    • If you want to be CERTAIN you get eggs for a given week, you need to send us an email or make a phone call to reserve them.  If you want to be SURE we see the email - send it at least one day prior to your distribution for the week.  We can't guarantee we'll have time to check email on distribution day after 6 am (and maybe not then).
    • If you do NOT reserve them, you may still be in luck.  We'll bring a certain number with us to each distribution.  If they are not all reserved, it will be first come first served.
    For those where we are working to figure out old contract status.  We are getting there.  Waverly - give us until week 2 of the CSA.  Cedar Falls, we should have you all figured out and evened out.