The last two weeks of dry weather offer a welcome window of opportunity to get some early field work done. Seeds are not only being sown in the greenhouse but directly into the soil in a number of well drained fields, dry enough for the tractors to get in and prepare some planting beds. Sowing now means we can enjoy an earlier harvest to coincide with the start of the regular CSA season in early April. The crops being sown now are carrots (Early Nantes), beets (golden, red and striped), japanese turnips (white and red), sugar snap peas, cilantro, arugula, and asian greens. Most of them can withstand some frost and germinate under cool and moist conditions. It’s also good timing to transplant all the chard, kale, lettuce and broccoli seedlings sown in the greenhouse last December. Being cramped in little plug trays they are all “eager” to grow in real soil, outdoors.
Answers to questions from our members:
Why are the Brussels sprouts in the CSA boxes packaged off the stalk?
It is true that often stores will sell Brussels sprouts (usually conventionally grown) on a stalk, however that method of harvest means that the entire plant is harvested in one swoop. We like to let the plant grow and have an extended harvest, which can last 2 – 3 months. It is more challenging to grow Brussels sprouts organically, especially with regards to aphid control since these little critters like to hang out in the numerous crevices the plant and sprout have to offer, so harvesting the individual sprouts gives us a little more control over the quality/damage of the crop. Typically Brussels will keep growing, we let them until about March, by then the little sprouts will want to bolt into flowers.
Why don’t we get preserves every week?
Some members asked why there aren’t preserves in every weekly share like there used to be in previous winter seasons. Both the upfront cost of making the preserves as well as a more limited fruit/produce supply from the past summer season played a role in having a reduced supply of preserves this winter. Instead of the weekly preserves, we decided to source with other farms to provide a more diverse selection of fresh winter grown produce. So for example, this week the celeriac is from Lakeside Organics, and the Bearss limes are from Steve Marsilisi. Look for mushrooms and more citrus in future shares. In total, we allocated 3 preserves for the winter season (one more left). Thanks for your understanding, and I apologize for the confusion.
We welcome everyone’s comments and questions. Your feedback is important to us and we will respond either through the newsletter or in-person as soon as we can. We also welcome any written contributions to our newsletter that may be of interest to the rest of our community, please contact me, Farmer Tom, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.