Another Crazy one in the books
In this newsletter:
1) - Message from Robin
2) - Season Wrap-up
3) - Great pics of the Farm!
4) - A little bit about the future
5) - CSA value breakdown
6) - SURVEY!!!
MESSAGE FROM ROBIN
Holy big year, batman! (I can say that for real with a name like Robin). Lately, whenever someone asks how the season went, I list all the great things that happened (awesome production, good weather, busy store, great team) and then stop for a second, wondering why it seemed so HARD. And then I realize. . . A - pandemic. B - new baby in May. C - general lack of sleep due to A & B. Despite this, Florian (our new boy) has been pure joy, and has also been a very nicely behaved baby, if there is such a thing. Fiona has embraced her big sister role with verve, and although the house is a little messier, and we're a little tireder, we're super grateful to have gotten here despite the whole "farming in a global climate and pandemic crisis" thing. I've taken up mountain biking this summer, to help with the lack-of-sleep thing, and I highly recommend it as remedy to general global malaise.
As Tim said last week, the first 9 weeks of CSA involve so much planning, work, hoping for the right weather and dealing with the wrong, that it really moves by at a snail's pace. Every second between April and August is critical, and every window of good weather has to be used to its fullest. And then. . . we turn the corner into September, and we literally reap what we've sown for 9 more frenetic weeks. The second half of CSA always flies by for us in the field, as we settle into our harvest schedule, and after we don't have much control over what's been planted and how its growing.
And how did it grow? Well, it was a fantastic growing year, as we hope you noticed! A combination of the perfect weather and a new fertility regime, along with the continued benefits of our permanent bed system resulted in a kicker year for tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beets, onions, leeks. . . you name it! We re-discovered our appreciation for Hakurei turnips, and revelled in thick-skinned red peppers. We hired Jess' mom to transform all the excess veg in our newly certified commercial kitchen, and now our freezers overflow with soups, sauces and salsas.
These photos don't feature the vegetables, but the people that grew them. And with such an amazing team, how could we not grow the most amazing veggies??!! Big thanks to Willow's mom, Barbara Brown, a professional photographer, for these amazing pics.
The soil, bugs, and birds
Getting a little scientific with soil tests and fertility mixes has given us a lot of confidence that we can grow what we need on a little less land. This should help us confront a growing weed problem, all the while introducing more biodiverse habitat corridors throughout the farm for the birds and the bees. Literally. Many of you came out to help with our windbreak project, which was truly inspiring. It is difficult to keep aspiring towards sustainability goals while growing a business and raising kids, but the support of the community and our share members make it all worthwhile.
But we haven't given up, far from it! This fall we're re-investing in our greenhouse production. It's always been a love-hate relationship with our greenhouses. On the one hand, you cannot argue with having tomatoes in the first CSA baskets (something we're still working towards). On the other hand, the tremendous fossil fuel consumption of these crops feels like we're mortgaging our children's future for convenience of tomatoes and eggplants in June.
So we're going to try to have it all, by investing in electric heat in all the greenhouses, supplied by clean power from Hydro Quebec. And so we are actually mortgaging our specific children's future for the collective good of our whole community. We do so with the confidence and knowledge that our terrific CSA community will in turn support us, to make it viable, all the while enjoying more and earlier tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and others in your baskets (ginger?! mushrooms?! blueberries?!)
The breakdown of the CSA this year:
We really gave it to you guys this year! The bumper production was reflected in a bumper haul for the CSA, with the highest basket values we've ever seen on this farm. How did it break down?
Full CSA average basket cost: $36.50. Full CSA average basket value: $45!!! or a 23% bonus over the price you paid!!!!
Half CSA average basket cost: $39 Half CSA average basket value: $45, or a 15% bonus over the price you paid!!!