Monday, August 29, 2016

CSA Newsletter ~ Week 12

There is nothing nicer than waking up on a Sunday morning and hearing rain! We got 1/4 inch which made most of the vegetables smile again.
When dealing with a drought you always have a few happy dances when certain crops come to fruition! This weekend I took a look under the floating row covers to discover that the broccoli has turned up for the party a few weeks early!
This year again we will be adding brocco leaves as everyone did seem to enjoy them after a little persuading last year!
This week we will be introducing ground cherries to the boxes.  We have never grown these before but one of our CSA members got chatting to me last season and as most know it does not take much to persuade me to try growing something new!

Louie enjoying his first swim!
Two of our CSA members recently reminded us of the joys of the Crowe River.  We decided over the last few weeks to get up nice and early and head up to the river. We got to dip our toes at 7.30am in the morning and also got to enjoy watching Louie learn to swim. 
Now that Louie has been swimming twice over the last few weeks, we now find him waiting in the back of our truck ready to head out again!

This weeks basket:
Ground Cherries
Broccoleaf -Use them as a replacement to kale or spinach!
Ground Cherries
Sweet peppers
Watermelons - This will be the last week of melons! We hope you have enjoyed them?
Zucchini - Zucchini Taco's
Green Onions

Monday, August 22, 2016

CSA Newsletter ~ Week 11

First soil building cover crops are in!
We did get a bit more rain yesterday morning which came just at the right time, as last week we had lifted most of our storage onions to cure and Michael had prepped beds ready for cover crop seeding.  We are using a mixture of rye/vetch and oats/vetch this year.  These cover crops help to prevent soil erosion in winter along with adding organic matter to the soil.  We are adding the vetch this year to help add more nitrogen to the soil. 
 #healthysoils #buildingsoil #organicfarming 
We would love to say the drought is over but it is a long way from that.  Our stream still has not come back yet, even though our grass is looking rather green again. Sprinklers did go back on last week to help water in transplants and lots of direct seeding that we did.  So keep up the rain dances as we still need lots more of it!

Our trusty spade said enough is enough!
This weeks basket:
Lettuce - Please be aware the lettuce may be a little bitter due to lack of water
Kohlrabi - We uncovered these this week to do some weeding and we are not sure how but they are huge! These are meant to be for later in the season but due to the size and that we do not want them to split we are going to pick the largest ones to go in this weeks boxes
Thyme - If you do not want to use this fresh place your thyme in a brown paper bag to dry.  Once dry strip leaves or leave on the stem and store in a mason jar for use through winter.
Eggplant - Iman bageldi or spiced eggplant and tomato
Sweet Peppers

Monday, August 15, 2016

CSA Newsletter ~ Week 10

We finally got some rain on Saturday! By end of day the rain gauge read just over half an inch but the picture  gives you an idea of how much more rain we actually still need.  We did get some transplanting done, along with two nights off from moving sprinklers.  I think you could hear everything from vegetables, farmers, trees to animals take a sigh of relief for the rain and also to get a break from the feeling like 44 degrees that we had had for the previous few days!
Now we are just getting ready for tomorrow's deluge! Fingers crossed it is a day of gentle rain!
Please do not get us wrong we are loving that we finally have some rain but now we have to keep a careful eye on the crops to make sure they do not split from getting so much water in a short space of time! As they say when it rains it pours!

Enjoying the puddles!

This weeks basket:
Cherry Tomatoes
Field Tomatoes
Salad onions
Sweet Peppers or Eggplant
Zucchini All being well we should have zucchini as well!
Hot Peppers - Please remember we do not include these as part of the CSA box as we think it is unfair for those who do not like heat.  So we will leave a basket at the stand and at pick up points so that you can help yourself to them!

Monday, August 8, 2016

CSA Newsletter ~ Week 9

Fall Squash patch in need of some rain!
I would love to say that things have changed but they have not!
Quinte Conservation have now issued a Level 3 water condition  and Agriculture Canada have said we are experiencing a D2 condition or "severe drought" in the area.
Our Fall Squash patch is starting to wither under the heat, along with all our fall transplants, even with irrigation our rutabaga are about the size of my thumb!  We do lots of transplants as it allows us to guarantee harvest but with this drought they are struggling to survive.  We have taken to direct seeding as they seem to be germinating, not wonderfully but they are germinating, better than our greenhouse starts and holding on a little better at present in the ground!
As I write this the weather network has just put out another heat warning of 40 degrees for Thursday and Friday! 
A few members have commented that Michael and I are not as bubbly or as chatty as normal or have not been over to the farm stand to chat, so we thought we would address this but I have actually used another vegetable growers comments as Stephen has summed up perfectly how so many of us are feeling in the current situation.
"Happy to say goodbye to July. It was a month of too much work and too much stress. I've had to cancel out on friends to keep things running.  
We've lost 90% of the trees we planted in the spring, have invested huge amounts of staff time and materials into keeping us going, and everything we do takes longer in these dry conditions. We have put up a good fight against this drought. Sadly, as we haven't had any of the big rains hit us our water table continues to drop by inches per day.  
We don't need much, just a little rain goes a long way. We just need something. As a result of all this I feel just plain exhausted and more emotionally negative than I feel that I have ever been. Looking forward we are faced with some tough choices. 
We will have to dump crops and likely cancel our winter CSA. We may have to find work off farm to cover our expected losses.  
I feel burnt out, depleted, and am working to keep a positive spin on things while my livelihood literally dries up and evaporates in front of me. I hope August will prove more friendly."
Stephen L. Chair of NFU local. 
This sums up how we feel at the farm at the moment and to be very honest our situation is identical to Stephens. We are also dumping crops, and trying to figure out if we will have any type of vegetables for the November CSA and our bulk boxes this winter.  If we don't then sadly we will be working off farm this winter to balance out our losses from the rest of the season. :-( 
So we thank you all for your understanding in why we are not your normal happy farmers at present.

This weeks basket:
Kale - We have had a few complaints about too much kale! Kale at present is holding on really well and while we have it we are going to add it to the boxes. Lettuce is in the field but needs more water and at present we are unable to transplant anymore as the heat is just killing it! We have already lost 156 lettuce transplants.
Chard - Again it is small bunches as the drought is just causing all our chard to bolt and go to seed!
Shishito Peppers
Shishito Peppers - These are new to us this year, but one crop I have always wanted to try! Shishito peppers are a mild Japanese pepper for roasting, pan-frying and grilling! I am going to give a slight warning as Pepper lore has it that the occasional fruit will display heat. 
Tomatoes - One tub from the hoop houses and 1 tub of field tomatoes
Melons - Sad news is that the patch is already started to die back but it is looking like we will have melons for this week and fingers crossed at least next week as well.  Please eat these ASAP as they are ripe!
Tomatillos - Yield is low this year. You can make a quick and refreshing salsa with these.
Simply chop into quarters, along with an onion, Heat oil in a pan, saute the onions till soft then add in the tomatillos, some chopped garlic and some hot peppers, and cook until the tomatillos go slightly mushy and to a jam like consistency. 
Eggplant Jackie e-mailed me this recipe link for an eggplant ragu, Jackie did say that it was a little bit of work but well worth it! 
We are also hoping for.....
 Zucchini and Beans
Bonus Item/Help yourself - We never see hot peppers as part of your vegetable basket so we always just leave a basket at the stand and at the delivery point for you to help yourself to.  Please remember even hot peppers are in short supply this year, so please just take what you need.

Monday, August 1, 2016

CSA Newsletter ~ Week 8

What can we say but it is dry out here at the farm! 
At present it is a battle to keep the transplants alive with the continuous heat we are having.   We do feel a little worried we may have a little dearth in the vegetable production as it becomes a huge battle to keep the transplants alive.  We have prepped beds today and have watered the beds this afternoon. We will do so again tomorrow afternoon before we put the transplants out in the evenings when it is cooler. Then we just have to keep everything crossed that the daytime heat does not kill them, but there is only so long we can put off doing this and the long term forcast is not showing any sign of this heat going away!  
We do have to say a huge thank you to Linda and Skye for weeding the carrots on Friday and for Jess and Nate for helping to get the garlic dug and cleaned and for several of our members who have offered to bring tankers of water out to the farm.  This little farm is feeling the support of it's community this week!
Watching the storms roll in while weeding!!!

This weeks basket:
Potatoes - Treasure these little babies! We dug 100ft of potatoes today and normally the yield from this would last us a good few weeks this year due to the drought we got 64lbs from 100ft! :-(
Tomatoes - Again this week you will get two tubs. One of hoop house tomatoes and one of field tomatoes
Basil - The basil this year is doing really well, I wish I could say that for the rest of our herbs! This drought has taken its toll on the herb patch and the parsley, sage, chinese leeks and thyme are not doing well at present.