The last vegetables of the CSA season are here! Thank-you to all of our share members for supporting us in 2019: your enthusiasm for and love of our vegetables makes the work worthwhile! I will spend the next few weeks closing the farm down for the winter and keeping my fingers crossed that this all happens before the snow flies.
For those of you eager to sign up for our 2020 season, I expect to have sign-ups live by mid-November. As mentioned in a previous post, we are transitioning to an online CSA management system and all the details of the system and the 2020 shares will take a couple of weeks to compile. As in previous years, this early sign-up will be for existing members only and any new member spots will open up in early January.
One exciting addition for the 2020 season is the return of egg shares and sales! Now that our kids are getting older, they are looking for more meaningful (aka paid) ways to work on the farm. Terran will be working part-time in the fields with me during the summer and Rowan is going to manage the egg production. This means that we can increase our chickens to meet the demand for our eggs. We will be offering two ways in which you can purchase eggs: a full-season egg share or weekly sales. The full-season share is a pre-paid commitment to 1 dozen eggs for 24 weeks (of course, if you are a big egg eater you can purchase more than one share). In addition to the egg shares, we will also have weekly sales for those that would like the occasional option of eggs. With our new system, you can order your weekly eggs when the share contents are emailed to you and the cost automatically comes off your credit card (no need to remember cash at pickup).
After a few weeks hiatus due to insect damage, we have some beautiful fall kale in the shares this week. Fall kale is the best kale because the cooler temperatures and occasional frosts sweeten the leaves and keep them tender. Aside from using in smoothies, soups, and stews, here are a few ideas for your kale:
Honeycrisp Kale Salad
Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta
Kale and Quinoa Patties
The leaves on our sugar maple trees are a gorgeous burnt orange colour and we had a heavy frost a few nights ago: now it is feeling a lot like fall here! While my time spent in the fields does lessen slightly in the fall, there are still many field tasks to do to put the farm 'to bed' for the winter. With the help of some work-share members, I have been busy rolling up landscape fabric and row covers, harvesting the last of the storage crops, and pulling the spent summer crops from the fields. Each year I aim to accomplish more cleanup tasks before the snow arrives because it is disheartening to see your unfinished work revealed as the snow melts in the spring.
Rob, Terran, Rowan, and I also started the construction of our greenhouse extension this weekend! I can't wait for this new structure as it is going to be a great space for growing tomatoes and other heat loving crops in the summer and loads of greens in the shoulder seasons. The first stage of construction involves leveling the site, building the wooden foundation and securing the foundation with t-bars. The t-bars are driven into the ground on an angle every four feet or so and this prevents the greenhouse from lifting off in high winds. Since these t-bars have to be four feet deep and we are sledging them in by hand, Rob and I are getting our shoulder and forearm workouts in in spades. Once the base is complete we will be erecting the metal ribs and then the final step is pulling the plastic. Late fall isn't the ideal time to pull plastic due the higher winds and lack of heat and sun, which help to stretch the plastic tight. But building a greenhouse during peak harvest and planting season is rarely a feasible option so we make do with the fall!
As I work on the last tasks of the 2019 season, I am also deep in the planning for the 2020 season. I am particularly excited for two things next season: our longer CSA season (which I have mentioned in a previous post) and a new online platform that is going to offer some awesome options for share members while streamlining the administrative side of the farm for me. I will share more details once they are finalized, but the best part of the this platform (called Harvie) is that will allow all share members full customization of their shares. This means you will never be offered a vegetable you hate or cannot eat and you can mix and match the vegetables you receive to fit with your plans for the week, what is growing in your garden, or the changing preferences of your children! And you will also have the option to order extras on any given week if you are entertaining guests or doing some preserving. Full details will follow later in the fall but feel free to chat with me at pickup to learn more about how this system works.
I hope each share member has a lovely Thanksgiving weekend filled with good food, friends, and family.