Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Newsletter for Last Week of the CSA

This post is going to be full of important (to us anyway - we hope it is for you) information.  Please read carefully.

First, it has been an honor to serve you as your personal farmers this season.  We hope you have enjoyed the produce.  We also hope you will return to join us in our TENTH season of the CSA next year.  Time flies when you're picking cucumbers.

What?   CSA Farm Share Distribution
When?  Tues-Thus
Where? Normal Locations
Why?    Because it's the last regular season distribution.

What will be in your share this week:
     Lettuce - see notes about weather after this.
     Tomatoes - I grabbed some before the freeze.  They've been off the vine a bit, but they should be fine for you.
    Snack Tomatoes and Peppers? - we'll see what things look like in the high tunnel tomorrow.
    Potatoes - we were able to pick potatoes today.  The crop was not exceptional and the potatoes are small, but the form and taste are very good.  I think we pulled blue, yellow and white potatoes for you.
     Acorn Squash - There was a nice surprise for us in the area we tossed in some winter squash.  It was a gamble, and it didn't pay off with a huge crop.  But, it did provide us with enough acorn squash to give each of you 1 (larges get 2).  There are two types.  Table Queen is the standard green acorn squash and Thelma Sanders is a tan colored acorn squash.  We suggest you eat these within 3 weeks of receiving them as they will not likely store as long as normal.
     Radish?  - we'll see how they fare with the freeze and snow.
Chinese Cabbage or pok choi or broccoli - again - dependent on the weather and what we can do.

-----------FARM NEWS-----------------
The colder than normal weather is going to make things a bit difficult tomorrow.  We WILL be there.  So, let's be prepared:

a - WAVERLY - it is possible that NONE of the other farmers' market vendors will arrive because it will be so cold.  If they do not, I will park as close to the SE corner of the parking lot that is next to the street we usually hold market on.  Obviously, if other vendors DO show up, I'll be in our normal spot.

b - If the weather is an issue for you, you can try to flag me down and I can pick up your share and bring it to you.  You may need to be patient if there are others demanding my attention at the same time.

c - I cannot pick greens until the temperature is above freezing.  They will be fine at that point.  But, this means I may have a very limited preparation period.  What this means for you is that I am not likely to spend time doing much cleaning of produce.  The greens will not need cooling (one of our purposes for hydrocooling) and I'm not sure how much time I am willing to have my hands in water that is 34 degrees F.  So, apologies in advance if I don't get things as beautiful as I want for all of you.

d - It's getting dark much earlier now.  If you are coming late, give a quick call.  By the time it gets closer to 6pm we will be anxious to pack up and go somewhere warm.  If you find yourself on schedule to arrive at 5:50 or later, that call will help me immensely.  We will probably prepack your share and and continue to pack up the rest.  You can then get your share quickly and we can be on my way as well.

2. CSA SHARES (Fall 2013, Spring 2014 and Regular Season 2014)
It is time for us to begin taking reservations for the next seasons of CSA shares.  We realize that life changes may force you to say no to us.  But, before you do - give us an opportunity to try one more sales pitch on you.  We would like to have you all return next season!  Obviously, if you must say no because you are moving, etc, then we would appreciate hearing that you will not continue with the GFF Farm Share program.  We acknowledge the respect you show us when you tell us that you must move on.  It helps us to plan and to recruit new members.

We are proud to report that standard shares (cost $330 for the season) received approximately $400 worth of produce from us this season.  We are also pleased with the quality and consistent volume we were able to provide for all of you.  But, most of all, we were honored by your presence in the program and your willing support.  We have heard from a number of members who have noticed that the Farm Share program gets better in the second year because they are ready for what is about to come.  Still others have told us that while year two is good, year three is even better because you start to have alot of fun with the shares.  As people gain experience with the CSA, they learn ways to extend the value they receive from their shares.  It gets easier to use all of the produce and save some up (even if you only have a small freezer on your single refrigerator) for later use.

So, consider this.  We had an incredibly difficult start to the season.  Yet, we managed to make a number of adjustments on your behalf to provide you with positive results.  In fact, we suspect many of you may even have forgotten how hard it was to get things in the ground early in the year because it didn't seem so bad as we started making deliveries and filling bags.  We attribute this to the efforts on our farm, on Jeff Sage's farm and on Tyler Albers' farm to bring you pesticide and herbicide free produce.  Jeff and Tyler intend to work with us again next year.  Imagine what we can do for you as we continue to refine how we work together.

Remember the tasty snow peas in June and early July?  Or the refreshing Boothby's Blonde cucumbers in August and September?  Or, if you want something more recent, the juicy, sweet Wapsipinicon Peach tomatoes?  We expect to bring all of these wonderful tastes back next year.  So, let's get ourselves set up to do it!

2014 Regular Season Shares  
    Standard: $340
    Large: $480
2013 Fall Extension - $150 - see description later in the email
2014 Spring Extension - $150 - as above

The link below will take you to a simple form to reserve a spot.  Please do this as soon as you can so we know what to expect for our next season.

TO SIGN UP - http://www.genuinefauxfarm.com/surveys/CSA2014Shares.html

3. Poultry

Go here to order: http://www.genuinefauxfarm.com/surveys/poultryorder.html

We still have 19 turkeys available, 8 ducks available and about 100 broilers remain.  We are most concerned that the turkeys find homes, though we would be most happy if they all found homes soon.

Fall batch broilers (chickens): $3.35 per pound, average 4.5 pounds.
Ducks:  Drakes average about 7 pounds - $6.25/pound.  Hens average about 4.5 pounds and cost $6.50/pound.
Turkeys: usually run from 13 pounds to 24 pounds.  Cost will be around our normal $3.75/pound.  If you want one of the 40+ birds this year, time to contact us and reserve one (or two or more).

4. Turkey Delivery

If you ordered (or will be ordering) a turkey, you will be receiving an email later tonight regarding processing and delivery options.  We are asking as many people as are able to pick up their bird on Thursday of this week.  They will NOT be frozen at this point.  We simply do not have the storage for all of these birds - thus we ask to impose on those who order birds to take them if they are able.

If you still want a bird, but cannot take them this Thursday - by all means - ORDER!  It makes it easier to figure out storage when you know the bird is stored and has a home by some given time.  Lockers appreciate it when you can give them concrete dates for removal when deer season is around the corner.

5. Fall Extended Season
We are doing a Fall extended season that is planned to run for 6 weeks.  Content will include greens (incl spinach), fall root crops (like parsnips, radish, taters, carrots), some winter squash and garlic.  There is one size of share.  Deliveries are planned for Tuesdays.  We will determine delivery location and times depending on how many people sign up for which locations (Farm, Waverly, Cedar Falls).  In the past, we have had a delivery in Waverly and one member has picked up for the Cedar Falls members.  If we decide to go to Cedar Falls for part of the delivery, we will have condensed pick up times.  If the times we choose don't work with you, there are options that can be taken so you can still participate, so please ask.

6. Spring Extended Season 2014
We will take sign ups for this now until it is full.  This usually runs through all of April and May and will include our asparagus.  Usually, there is a good deal of spinach as well in this share.  It is a greens heavy share.  This may change in future years as we modify our farm further, but for next season, it should look alot like past Spring shares.

7. Gearing up for 2014
We intend on making 2014 a big year for our farm's tenth anniversary season.  Obviously, we will do our best to keep everyone informed.  But, the biggest news is that we intend to go forward with putting up a second high tunnel building on the farm.  We also intend on taking advantage of year-end supply deals in December for the farm.  As a result, we are asking people to help us out by being willing to pay some or all of their 2014 share price in the next couple of months.  If you can only afford a deposit, that will be fine.  We understand budgets and we do not wish to be the cause for destroying them. 

Other ways you can help is by encouraging people to buy our poultry.  It helps to convert them to cash and allows us to shut down freezers sooner, reducing our cost on that front.  We will be ordering more t-shirts and hope to use that to raise a little bit of funds as well, so if you need a new t-shirt, consider getting one from us.  And, of course, if we can sell out our CSA shares before the year is out, that will be most helpful of all the things people can do for us.  Selling out quickly reduces the amount of Rob's time required for promotion and handling efforts and recruiting new members, etc.  If we can work together to make the sign up fill quickly, then Rob can spend more time getting supplies and seeds ordered.  He can work more on building brooder rooms and putting up high tunnel buildings.  The end result is that you will get an even better product from us, with more variety, more quality and more options to fit your family.

Thank you so much for reading all of this.  As a reward - or punishment - for your willingness to read it all, we bring you the following:

Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, but when they lit a fire in the craft it sank -- proving once and for all that you can't have your kayak and heat it, too.

Two boll weevils grew up in South Carolina. One went to Hollywood and became a famous actor. The other stayed behind in the cotton fields and never amounted to much. The second one, naturally, became known as the lesser of two weevils.

Rob & Tammy

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