Monday, May 1, 2017

May Newsletter

The month of April reminded us that a freeze is not all that unlikely during the its 30 day tenure.  It also illustrated that even if you have warmer temperatures, plants will not thrive if Mr. Sun stays hidden for most of the daylight hours.  If I'd thought to keep better notes on this, there seemed to be a disproportionate number of mornings that started with some sun (after clear overnight hours) until about 8:00-8:30am, when it clouded up for the day.  Don't get me wrong, there were a few beautiful days during April at our farm as well.  But, there had to be some reason why the spinach we planted didn't fill out on the schedule it normally follows.

Kohlrabi and other brassica seedlings
May Calendar of Events
CSA dates subject to move a bit in the early going depending on crops.

  • May 2: Delivery 1 CSA in Waverly at St Andrew's 
  • May 3: Delivery 1 CSA Tripoli
  • May 6: Saturday Waverly Farmers' Market 8:30-11:30 
  • May 11: Delivery 1 CSA Cedar Falls 
  • May 13: Waverly Farmers' Market
  • May 15: Work for Your Food Event (RSVP)
  • May 16: Delivery 2 CSA Waverly
  • May 17: Delivery 2 CSA Tripoli
  • May 18: Delivery 2 CSA Cedar Falls
  • May 20: Waverly Farmers' Market 
  • May 23: Delivery 3 Waverly
  • May 24: Delivery 3 Tripoli
  • May 25: Delivery 3 Cedar Falls
  • May 27: Waverly Farmers' Market
  • May 28: Gang of Four+ at Grinnell Heritage Farm 
  • Delivery 4 ***Traditional 20 Shares Begin*** 
  • May 30: Delivery 4 Waverly 
  • May 31: Delivery 4 Tripoli
CSA Program Status:
We are currently sitting at about 50 member shares sold or reserved.  Last year we had 97 shares, so we have lots of space to fill.  We realize some of this is because we just haven't gotten a final decision from many people and we realize some is because we had many people move away last year.  The upshot is this - we have spots open and we're still trying to promote the CSA.  That means that all of our record keeping is still in flux - so things like our email list continues to require attention.

As you see above, the weather has been mildly uncooperative.  The result is that those who were expecting a CSA delivery in April per the original calendar will not be receiving one.  Normally, we have things we are anxious to give that week of the year.  Never fear, we'll reorganize the schedule slightly and all deliveries will occur.  For those with the Traditional 20 week CSA, you have no worries either since your first delivery doesn't arrive until the end of May/beginning of June!

We are composing our annual CSA fact sheet email that will be sent out early next week.  WE are hoping to solidify our membership list so we can clarify who is in which weeks for the Alternerating Delivery program among other things.  thank you for your patience and please ask questions if you have them.

Farmers Trying to Consolidate Efforts:
Every year we re-assess our lives and how the role our farm in our lives.  We have both been feeling overwhelmed on and off the past couple of years and we're working to make things more manageable so we can be better at the things we do.  The change in garden plant production was just one such move we made in an effort to make things better.

As a result, we can tell you that we managed to get field carrots, peas, turnips, beets, arugula, mustard greens, radish and spinach planted in the outside fields ALREADY this year.  In prior years, that might have been impossible given the number of plants we had to keep watered and the number of plants we would normally be feverishly potting this time of year.  So, we feel that was a good decision.

Another decision was for Rob to get out of a leadership role in the Waverly Farmers' Market.  It wasn't a position he sought out last year, but someone had to pick up the reins.  Happily, Amanda Mitchell was willing to be assistant last year and is now willing to be the manager.  The down side?  Well, there's all of the transition stuff that we're trying to get through - it's getting in the way of our own farm's workings.  But, we anticipate an end point to this fairly soon!

Plant Status:
For those that ordered plants, we anticipate they will be ready for pickup starting May 10 (approximately).  We will provide those who ordered plants with more details.  There will be additional plants beyond those that were ordered - we're guessing about 50?  We'll know better once they are all potted.

CSA Signup 2017
We still need people in the CSA as we are only about 50% full.  If you need convincing - please consider the value you get with our programs.

Contact us if you have interest and we'll get you started.

Song of the Month
A long time favorite of ours that helps keep us moving in the field.

Recipe of the Month

Spinach Frittata
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy skillet.
Saute 1 clove minced garlic and a few chopped scallions/green onions.
Add 1 pound washed spinach and cook until wilted.
Remove veggies from pan; lightly beat 6 eggs and add to pan along with spinach mixture,
3/4 c parmesan or feta cheese, and some parsley.
Stir all together and cook over low heat until frittata is set.
Allow to cool slightly and cut into wedges to serve.

Field Report
As we mentioned earlier in the newsletter, we have managed to get field carrots into the ground (St Valery's and Dragon), but we might not have mentioned that we got St Valery's carrots into Eden (one of our high tunnels) even earlier.  Here's hoping!  The peas went in to the field last week.  A 200 foot row each of four varieties (Mammoth Melting, Oregon Sugar Pod II, Blizzard and Golden Sweet) also went into the Eastfarthing (field 2).  With the cold weather that followed we expect them to be slow to germinate.  The Southwest had rows of turnips, beets, spinach, arugula, mustard greens and radishes put in before the cold and rain as well.  Sadly, we couldn't quite get to the potatoes, but we're confident we'll get them in next week once the fields dry out a little.  

Our high tunnels are named Eden and Valhalla.  Valahalla is currently home to tatsoi and komatsuna that are ready for some harvest.  The spinach in Valhalla should allow us to harvest some next week, but the kale is a little slower.  Eden has rows of green beans, onions, melons, cucumbers, carrots and beets seeded.  We anticipate putting in tomato and pepper plants next week!

Asparagus started trickling in mid-April and has, of course, stopped when things got cooler.  The rhubarb was already trying to send up flower stalks - which we really don't want.  The fruit trees were largely in full bloom when we got the freeze a couple of nights ago, so we'll see what happens with fruit set this year.

Picture of the Month

The season has begun!
Farm News Shorts

  • The Iowa Ingredient Episode featuring the Genuine Faux Farm (yes, that's us) will be airing this month on Iowa Public Television.  The first showing will be May 18 at 6:30pm (Thursday) and the second is on Saturday, May 20 at 11:30 am.  You can keep an eye on all things duck on IPTV's Facebook page starting May 15.
  • Mrs. Borglum's Waverly-Shell Rock high school science class has been looking at various aspects of sustainability this semester and they will be coming out to the Genuine Faux Farm to see some of the ways we try to use sustainable methods to raise food.  We are looking forward to seeing them on the farm May 3!
  • Some of you who have been CSA members for several years and/or those who have read the blog for some time might recall seeing pictures or references to Denis Drolet (you can see him being an expert mulcher in this blog post from 2014).  Denis worked on the farm for several summers and he can probably tell you stories about our farm from a completely different perspective from the one we provide here!  He might mention Tammy the Warrior Queen or Rob the Plant Philosopher or... he might just sneeze in memory of the dusty straw mulch we used that first year he helped on the farm.  Denis has been honored with the presence of a wonderful person (Julie) in his life and we are most pleased for the two of them.  We wish them the best as they pursue new adventures together.
Time to Have Pun
Rather than a long, silly pun today - how about some shorter things that might make someone laugh.  If it's not you, then maybe it's me.  If it's neither of us, then it's that guy in the back of the room that tries to make his laughter sound like a sneeze, but fails...

A few "sort of proverbs" for everyone:
- After all is said and done, usually more is said.
- Consider what *might* be fertilizing the greener grass on the other side of the fence.
- Experience is what you get when you were expecting something else.
and finally
- Gather 'round like cattle and ye shall be herd!

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