2010 CSA Newsletter, Week 2 – Summer is On

On The Farm

Final planting and irrigation setup

This week we planted nearly all of the last transplants from the greenhouse out into the field. Compared to previous years, I have far fewer plants left over that aren’t going into the ground. I always plant a little extra in case certain transplants fail, but this year I stuck to a careful plan and everything went out, and nearly everything made it (so far)! The only planting I have left is the regular salad mix planting that continues all summer.

Along with the new planting comes the need for water. Water, water everywhere… irrigation is a full time job in the heat of summer. Established beds get lines of drop tape, other beds – recently seeded – get water every day. Salad greens and head lettuce like water several times a day to keep them cool. Other areas need to get try for hoeing or remain dry to let weeding take effect.

The Weeding Continues

This time of year, the weeding becomes a huge, pressing priority. Its hard work, and we are fortunate to have a solid crew able to put in the long hours required to clean up the beds. We often have people visit the farm to work for a bag of produce, and CSA members are always welcome to come visit the farm!

Harvest in full swing!

Harvest Going Strong, but We Still Need More Members!

Harvest has begun and the vegetables are flying in! I also have plenty of orders and demand to sell every bit of produce we can pick, but I still want more CSA members, especially for our Crested Butte and Marble/Redstone/Carbondale runs.

We need a certain minimum number (around 15) in each area in order to have the delivery fee we charge cover the cost of driving the truck and paying. Right now we have just 10 on the Marble/Redstone/Carbondale run and 14 on the Crested Butte run. Please help spread the word and if you are getting this email and considering signing up, please call to get on next week’s delivery.

Read about Big Box CSAs

I thought this article was fascinating about the newish phenomena of ‘Big Box’ CSAs serving hundreds or even thousands of customers. This one caught my interest especially because it covers Grant Family Farms, a Colorado CSA with over 2,000 members that serves much of Colorado, including the Roaring Fork Valley. http://www.localharvest.org/newsletter/20100622/1/big-box-csa.html?r=nl

Where is the Fruit?

This week saw the very first cherries being picked, but we haven’t gotten ahold of any organic local cherries yet – we expect to have them for fruit members next week. The first organic peaches are only a couple of weeks away as well. Once we start with fruit, we should have something different every week.

Questions about the Produce?!

Why are there holes in the bok choi leaves? why didn’t I get peas this week? when will the tomatoes be ready? you have questions – i have answers! email me your questions and i will try to address them in this regular post.

Whats In the Box?

NEW: Head lettuce – romaine and red crisp – full 2 heads, half 1 head
NEW: Baby Beets – 1 bunch – three kinds of beets in this weeks bunches ~ red ace round red beets, golden beets and cylindrical ‘forno’ beets. these early thinning pickings are the sweetest beets of the ear, just boil them whole! the greens are also good for cooking, visit the recipe page, or  try searching epicurious.com
NEW: Peas – sugar snaps – Just starting this week, full box only for some areas – more next week!
NEW: Chard & Kale –  Full – 2 bags / Half – 1 bags – tender baby cooking greens

Spinach ~ -1 bag
Salad Mix – 1 bag
Radishes – 1 bunch
Dill / Cilantro ~ Full – 2 bunches / Half 1 bunch
4″ potted herbs ~ Full 4 plants / Half 2 plants – your pick from a large variety,

Coming Soon (1-3 weeks)

Head Lettuce – More varieties
Bok Choi (with some holes in the leaves…)
Bunched Chard
Bunched Kale
Bunched Spinach
Shelling Peas

What is the Box Worth?

This weeks value: spinach $3.50, salad $3.50, chard/kale – 3.5, lettuce $1.50, radishes $1.25, peas $4, dill/cilantro $1.50, potted herbs $3.50, beets, $3: Total value ~ Half – $24.50 / Full – $38.50. thats what you would pay to buy the same bag of produce (& plants) at the farm!

Chilly Spring Updates, Planting News, Delivery Information

Spring in the Rockies

I probably don’t have to tell you this – residents of Western Colorado have all noticed the extended cold (and wind!) this spring. We have had several cold storms come thru, including one cold snap with 28 degree night time temperatures that froze some of our early cabbage & broccoli transplants – very hardy plants –  in the second week of May! Although these plants are very hardy, we had just transplanted them and they weren’t fully established. In fact, an earlier planting of broccoli took the same cold with almost no damage. Do not dispair! Losing crops from time to time is part of farming and in this case its easy to replant to make up for the lost transplants. In fact, we’ve been very busy seeding…

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Seeding Extravaganza!

Seeding continues in the greenhouse with the last of the lettuce, broccoli, chard & kale going in, plus flat after flat of large seeded summer crops: winter squash, summer squash, melons & cucumbers. I usually plant these large seeded crops directly into the ground – and I still will – but starting a flat of each variety in the greenhouse will help ensure success. Last year our squash plantings were very slow to emerge in the cold field soil and because of this we struggled to weed them and in the end squash bugs killed much of the crop (winter & summer squash). I’m determined to make this a better year for squash and the greenhouse pre-seeding is part of this effort.

In the field I just planted my second (of three) large field direct sow sections. This recent section is just under an acre and I seeded Peas (sugar snap, snow and shelling), green beans (yellow & purple bush beans too), spinach, chard, carrots (six types), cilantro, dill, cucumbers beets (several varieties – red, orange, stripped and specialty dark red baby beats)  and more. The earlier seeding is up and we are on track to start harvest soon!

Harvest and Delivery

CSA harvest will start one week later than last year due to the slow spring. The first farm pickup will be Friday, June 18th. Deliveries to Crested Butte will remain on Sundays starting Sunday June 20th; we are still determining the Redstone/Marble/Carbondale delivery day, but it looks like Fridays (or Saturdays) will be the day – email me your feedback on the delivery day & location!

We need a minimum count in each area to make these deliveries work, so please send in your signup forms so we can finalize the delivery points. Gunnison members may have there boxes delivered at the farmers market. We still have room to accept more members!

Fresh Herbs All Summer

In addition to the rotating herbs in your CSA box (something different every week!), this year we are growing a bunch of 4″ pots of various herbs. These are a bonus part of the CSA this year – our way of saying thanks for joining. We will have the herb plants at the farm and in the delivery truck for the 1st few weeks of harvest (you have to meet the truck). Every member can choose an assortment, take them home to plant into a windowsill planter, pot or garden. This is the best way to have fresh herbs on hand throughout the summer just when you need them!

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