2010 CSA Newsletter, Week 1 – Harvest Time!

Harvest begins in earnest this week

The spinach, recently weeded, ready to pick, but slightly hail damaged

There isn’t a huge amount of variety, but the Salad and Spinach is abundant! We also picked some early green garlic this week, plus cilantro and dill and radishes. Box details below.

Hailstorms in June

Last week we experienced a very unusual storm that brought around a minute of pea sized hail to our mesa: we were fortunate, some growers in Paonia reported dime size hail that lasted several minutes. Our crops were mostly spared, the only real damage was some torn up spinach leaves, you will notice this in your boxes this week – fortunately the flavor is still great! Spinach only does well in the early or late part of the season here, so enjoy it while we have it.

Planting Nearly Complete

Outside the greenhouse: waiting to go in the ground.
Outside the greenhouse, a few plants left are ready to go in the ground!

The last push for planting is now happening –  the photo at left shows how little is left to transplant from the greenhouse to the field – just a few more winter squash and the last wave of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and chard for fall.

Bring on the Fruit

Fruit will start a little late this year. The earliest organic cherries (from Domingez Canyon) will be ready in around two weeks, the first peaches (from Palisade) will arrive a few weeks later. Please don’t worry if you have a fruit membership, the fruit will start soon and we will have plenty of variety to make up for lost time. The overall selection will be limited this year due to winter freeze damage (several nights around -10) and the recent hail. Still, I am confident there will be enough variety to fill your fruit memberships!

Culinary herbs - this section contains thyme, oregano, marjoram, scented basils (like lime, cinnamon & thai basil), parsley, lemongrass and more!

In the Field – Weeding, Watering

Everything is growing like crazy these days out in the field – including the weeds. A once weeded bed seems to sprout a new crop of weeds the moment you turn your back. We tackle the weeds with a few strategies: a few beds are covered with ground fabric that brocks out 95% of the weeds, but most of the beds are open and must be weeded. I use a small tractor (an Allis Chalmers Model G) we call the ‘G’ to cultivate (carefully!) between the rows.

Lots of greens in this recently weeded section: red and green lettuces, orange chard, chinese cabbage and kale (green, 'dino' and red)

The larger tractor takes care of the ‘pathways’  with large blades, then a bit later, a crew of weeders comes through with hoes to go closely along the rows of most of the crops and even between plants. Finally, a few crops get additional hand weeding (onions for example) or tractor cultivation (potatoes, corn) later in the season.

The other big task this time of year in the field is watering. With many newly seeded or planted hours, the water has to be applied regularly. Drip tape is getting laid out on some sections.  Other sections have to be dried out for hoeing, and left dry after hoeing to let the weeds dry out.

Whats In the Box?

This year everything is a little bit late, and our early boxes are always a little light compared to the mid and late season boxes, so please be patient as the season progresses! There isn’t much variety yet, but there will be plenty more to come!

Spinach ~ Full – 2 bags / Half – 1 bags – very tender and yummy this time of year, but a little torn up from the hale
Salad Mix ~ Full – 2 bags / Half – 1 bags – we try to have salad most of the season
Radishes ~ Full 2 bunches / Half – 1 bunch – a bit spicy, try them thinly sliced on a salad
Garlic, green ~ 1 bunch – mild garlic, still a few weeks from maturing, no paper yet inside the heads, clean and peel, chop up the whole thing, including the green top!
Dill / Cilantro ~ Full – 2 bunches / Half 1 bunch – just starting to come in, cilantro only lasts a few weeks
4″ potted herbs ~ Full 3 plants / Half 2 plants – your pick from a large variety, we will have more next week as well. We have lime, cinnamon and thai basil as well as sweet basil, oregano, thyme, parsley and more. These can be planted in a garden, or in a planter so please plan ahead and be ready – these plants will arrive well watered, but need to be transplanted within a few days of delivery. If you keep these plants picked you will have the herbs you choose any time you want all summer long!
Leeks ~ Full members only (don’t worry half members, we will have plenty of leeks this year, we planted a huge crop)!

Coming Soon (1-3 weeks)

Baby Chard & Kale
Peas – Sugar Snaps & Snow Peas
Baby Beets – tender, young beets, golden & red!

What is the Box Worth?

As a new feature of this newsletter, I am going to estimate the approximate farm price of the of the box. Our farm prices are typically a little lower than local retail and much lower than the prices we would charge at a remote market (this accounts for the delivery charge). Based on 18 weeks of boxes, the average price members pay for their box is  Half – $16.66 (400/18), Full – $28.77 (500/18). This weeks value: spinach $3.50, salad $3.50, radishes $1.25, garlic $3.00, dill/cilantro $1.50, herbs, $3.50, leeks, $2.50: Total value ~ Half – $19.75 / Full – $35.50