2015 was our best growing season. Ever.
And that’s a pretty amazing statement, considering it was the year of the hottest, driest summer that we’ve ever experienced. As well as the wettest winter.
It was a year of challenges, as we ramped up our planting schedules, increased our labor force, and pushed our farm’s production. And it all paid off. We improved our produce offerings, had happier workers, and maintained a well-varied selection of items for our CSA families. And we increased our bottom line. Because of the water shortage, our u-pick garden was a disappointment, as we had to make tough choices about where the water was needed. And, sadly, vegetables were more important than flowers. We hope to change that in 2016.
We’re excited to be growing some new crops, in anticipation of another hot summer. On the list are more tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, as well as lemongrass, ginger, and sweet potatoes.
I’ve been poring over seed catalogs in search of new cucumber varieties that won’t get sick and die just as they’re starting to produce. And peas that can handle heat AND resist disease. And, as cauliflower is my fave, cauliflowers that cover themselves and resist the dreaded Clubroot.
In spite of the great Chicken Massacre of 2015, we have ordered baby chicks to replace the flock that was lost. Those new pullets won’t lay until August or September, but they will produce eggs. We will not be raising meat birds or turkeys, however. There’s already no profit there, and last year’s loss was devastating.
We will have more beef, though. Three halves (possibly four) will be available, so be sure and let us know if you’re interested. Beef is finite.
We are enrolling for our 2016 CSA season now, and application form link is here. Don’t delay: if you pay before January 31, you’ll save some change. Also, this year we are selling prepaid gift cards, which can be used at farmers markets. If you’re excited about helping us pay for our pre-season farm expenses, but don’t want to commit to a weekly CSA pickup, a gift card might be just the ticket. Buy what you want, when you want from us at farmers’ markets, or pre-order for farm pickup. (This is a service for gift card holders only!) AND if you purchase gift cards before January 31, you’ll save 10%! Click here to purchase gift cards.
So what exactly do farmers do this time of year? I know you’re dying to know. Mike is putting together two new greenhouses. We’ll be planting the first week of February, to get a jump start on super early crops for April and May. We’re also doing some clean-up work around the farm. We’re waiting for a calf to be born, raising baby chicks, and spending a lot of money. Seed ordering has begun, and that’s a multi-thousand-dollar activity. We’re buying seed starting materials, repairing equipment, and trying not to get stuck in mud. There’s a lot of desk work to catch up on, including bookkeeping, taxes, revising planting schedules. We also homeschool the kids, so there’s a lot of learning going on at the same time. And. Sleep. More sleep in the winter than in the summer, for sure.
We all hope you’re enjoying the peacefulness and calm of winter, and we look forward to seeing you in the spring and summer. When days are long and the sun shines, and there are lots of things to eat again. Spring is on the way.