It’s really cold in Minnesota (CSA Week 16)

Wow, didn’t it get cold last night? It’s a bad sign when there’s already frost on everything before you go to bed and the sky is clear as a bell. We’re guessing it was about 25 degrees, which really puts a final end to the season. Few things go through a freeze like that, even the beet greens where pasted to the ground. We have the white stuff forecasted for tomorrow, so selling at a farmers market in snow will be a first! Maree wishes our camera worked, because we’d like to have record of it.

End of season logistics: If you’re in the neighborhood, please just drop off the last wax box…if not, don’t worry about it. Also expect an end of season survey in the mail. We really do want to know how the CSA season worked for you. It’s also an opportunity to let us know if you’re interested in being a member next year….as a current member, we give you first chance to re-join before opening up to others.
Thank you for being a member this season. Our door is always open. If you haven’t gotten a jack-o-lantern pumpkin, please come on out and we’ll set you up.
In the box:
Tongue of Fire Beans: this is an heirloom dried bean. Simply shell them and use as any dried bean. There are not many, so I’m thinking of them as something to add to a soup.
Hubbard Squash: this is the big blue-colored one.
Buttercup Squash
Spaghetti Squash: yellow and long in color
Haralson Apples: a good baking and cooking apple
A couple sweet onions
A couple white onions
Popcorn: this needs to be dried quite a bit before popping. Pull back the corn wrapper and hang like you would indian corn for at least a couple of weeks in a dry sunny place.

End of the Season

We are at the end of the season.  Reflecting on things, I think we’ve really turned a corner.  This is our fifth season vegetable farming on our own, and up to this point each season seemed like a huge battle.  I typically get all anxious and stressed by July and completely burnt out by mid-September, but not this year.  I think this has happened because we’ve let past seasons get ahead of us, so we’ve played a lot of catch up, which is very frustrating because in vegetable farming you never catch up.  We have gotten into the catch-up game because we’ve not had the equipment, set-up, or general organization to stay on top of things in the past.  One example is cultivation, where you mechanically kill weeds by tilling the soil.  In past seasons, we ended up doing a lot of hand weeding or cultivation with a wheel hoe because the weeds got too tall or we simply didn’t have the cultivation equipment set up in time or on-hand.  This year, we cultivated most plantings twice at the right time, so we had a lot more time to spend on other things which needed attention.  Add this to all the other little improvements we’ve been making over the years, and that’s why I say we’ve really turned a corner from a farm start-up with all the problems that entails, to a somewhat established farm, where, as long as you keep up with a routine day-in and day-out, the season works out. 

Other accomplishments have been building and starting up the farm stand and getting into a few new crops like dried flowers, a new mix of winter squash, and some oddities like broom corn, daikon, and some new heirlooms.  A lot of the fun of what we do is trying new things.  Some are good, and some are terrible, so we keep the best for next season and drop the rest.  We also try new techniques to improve how we do things.  Like this year I rigged up a new way of trellising where I use a big spool of twine set in a school backpack to make the task go quicker and with less frustration.  We also used some remay cover cloths more to keep out bugs and get a crop to grow better, which made a real difference.  Also this is the first year we’ve successfully used a cover crop of rye and vetch, so we’ll see what difference that makes on the fertility of field next year.  Like vegetable varieties, we keep what works and keep fine-tuning production.      

Lastly, thank you so much for being members this season!  We cannot do what we do without you.  Certainly the fee you pay keeps us in business, but the support we hear and receive from you means a lot.  It’s extremely helpful to know that we are part of a community.