Friday, April 26, 2013

News of the Farm

There is a lot to tell, so we'll tell it in one post and hope it gets to those who might like to know.

Spring Season Extension
We will be doing the Spring Season Extension utilizing produce from the high tunnel and anything we can pull out of the asparagus, etc.  Delivery will be at the Waverly Farmers' Market on Saturday AMs.  Cedar Falls/Waterloo folk, we may have someone willing to pick up for you again this Spring.  Those who have indicated interest (or who have gotten extended season prior to this) will be getting an email this weekend with details. 

The Health Fair
We will be attending the Health Fair at the W tomorrow morning (April 27) from 8:30 to 11:30 AM.  We will be there with other Waverly Farmers' market vendors outside by the Northwest entrance.  We'll have spinach!  And we'll bring a few tomatoes that are good for container growing.

Tom Sawyer Day # 1
Saturday, May 4 from 1pm to 4pm.  Send us a note if you are thinking about attending.  We'll be doing field and farm cleanup tasks and/or transplanting of tomatoes into pots.  

Waverly Farmers Market begins May 4
We will be there at least until the first Saturday of June.  Crops dictate our presence from there, since the CSA demand must be met first!

Plant Sales
We will have plants for sale at the Saturday market in Waverly.  We'll have a few tomatoes and maybe some kale, lettuce, etc the first week.  We'll begin bringing tomatoes in earnest on the 11th.  Peppers not likely until the 18th or 25th.  We may even bring some squash and cucumber seedlings later in the month.  We do this to discourage people planting too early and becoming the wrong kind of repeat customer (my plants died....).  We will be scheduling two plant sale dates in the latter half of May at Hansen's Outlet in Cedar Falls.  Are the other requests?

Regular Season CSA Report
We have room for exactly THREE members at Waverly or Tripoli.  That is all we have room for at this point.  We are grateful that so many people have elected to join us this year.  We've got some plants in trays that are anxious to go into the ground to grow for you!

Chicks Everywhere!
We now have 200+ broiler chicks on the farm to go with the 90+ hen chicks.  Ducks and turkeys come late next month.

Eggs This Year
Happily the hens have picked up their laying.  It is not at full speed, but it is better now that they are enjoying a little sunshine.  We crossed the 50 egg barrier for the first time in a long time (one day production).

Last year's approach of sending out a note and asking people to reserve eggs worked out wonderfully for us and did not seem to cause undue problems for all of you.  It also helps us to deal with the natural fluctuations of production. 

At this point, eggs remain $3/dozen.  However, we are not currently feeding certified organic feed to these birds (it is non-GMO).  Last year's dry weather reduced the supply significantly.  The Frantzens inform us that they should be able to provide us with certified organic feed for the next batch.  But, in order to do this, the cost of our feed will increase.  Depending on the increase, we will need to increase our egg cost.  Right now, we are looking at a price hike to $3.50 a dozen.  We're pleased that we've been able to stay at $3 for as long as we have.  Once we increase the price, we intend to hold the line again for as long as we are able.  And, of course, if feed prices decline dramatically in the future, we will drop the price.

Asparagus Still Hiding
We've had no sightings on the farm as of yet.  But, the next couple of days of sun should get them started.  We are hoping the plants survived the super dry weather last season.

New SARE Grant
We received a new SARE grant to continue our intercropping research on the farm.  The last SARE grant's report was approved and provided a good basis to begin this work.  What does this mean for you?  It means we're getting better at growing crops you want without adding chemicals to the mix.

In the News
You might find a familiar farm name showing up here and there, such as this article for Growing Magazine on intercropping vegetables.  Or, you might notice commentary on the PFI blog that came from a farmer who is involved with our farm.  We're happy to be able to share the things we think we know and the successes and failures we have to educate others.  We share these things with you to show you other ways we work.

Handling the Spraying Event
We don't want to belabor this, but we get asked about it frequently.  We are still working to give our legal representative data to enumerate losses suffered last summer.  At issue is the fact that we continue to uncover losses.  For example, our prior year Spring extension usually ran 7 or 8 weeks.  This year it will be four weeks, so we will charge accordingly.  The biggest worry we have is how we will handle the spraying that will go on around us this season. 

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