THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Snap Beans or Napa Cabbage
• Big Red Lettuce
• Red Onions
• Sweet Corn
• Stir-Fry Greens Mix
Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.
COMING SOON: Peppers, Broccoli, Celery, Leeks
Late Summer is the toughest farm season. I apologize for not being in better contact. Once the real heat begins outside, we are obsessed with irrigation. Water lines are moved every three hours, around the clock. Not only are we working to keep all of our summer crops alive and growing, but we are in a frenzy to sow and establish all of the fall and winter crops as well. Sometimes we have to make choices about what survives and what to let go because there just isn’t enough water for everything.
But now we are in September, and everything is planted for the year. (Well, I have one more greenhouse to sow in greens next week, but it’s not quite ready yet.) If you’ve been around the CSA block before, you may be aware that all of the winter crops need to reach full-size before mid-October. Not because of cold temperatures, but because our shortening day length doesn’t provide enough sun for photosynthesizing and plant growth. Many crops will hold in the ground all winter, but they won’t actually do any growing after October.
There’s a bit of cultivating to do on fall plantings, but essentially we are caught up. Next week we begin farm cleanup and repairs. Della is working and going to school, and Cosmo and I are heading out on a road trip through the Nevada desert. All CSA pickups proceed as usual on Tuesday.
This year has been a thrilling one, as first-year farm owners after so many years of renting. It’s also been challenging, as all farm years are. I’ve decided to reduce the size of the CSA next year. I ended up with 100 families this year and it was a struggle to make sure there was enough from week to week. In 2019, I’ll be cutting down to 70 families. Also, I will be adamant about receiving payments and commitments before the end of 2018. I’m a horrible record keeper, and I really need to have all the records taken care of before the fresh year begins. Look for an enrollment email in the next two weeks.
As I made the choice to stop watering the u-pick garden, and had to allocate time to food crops. I always struggle with how to make it a priority, giving it the time and attention that it needs to succeed. It really needs weekly care, plus a week of daily care here and there. It needs a person to commit to it. The only way I can do this is to hire someone, and so I’m going to try making it for-profit, with an on-farm roadside stand next summer. CSA customers will continue to u-pick for free, as a part of their subscribership, but non-CSA families will be charged to cut flowers and buy vegetables. This will also make it possible to bring in organic fruit from other farms, since Tonnemakers is no longer offering their CSA for us.
I welcome your thoughts about these changes. And I hope you enjoy the cooler, wetter return to fall!