Abbe Hills Farm CSA

  (Mt. Vernon, Iowa)
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First veggie pickups week of June 15/18

Greetings shareholders and others,

Well, I’ve washed and put away my spring chore coat two times now, but I had to get it out again this morning.  It is COLD out in the country.  Because of all the cold and wet, the vegetables are growing slowly, so I’m planning for our first veggie pickup to be the week of Monday, June 15th and -Thursday, June 18th.  Pickup is 4:30 -7:00 pm.   I’m not sure what we’ll have yet, but at least radishes and bok choi, probably head lettuce.  If you are getting this note by email, it means you are registered as a shareholder.  If you are reading the blog, maybe you haven’t registered yet, or maybe I got your paperwork misplaced somehow.  Please email or call me if you think this is you.  895-6924

The crops we planted early from transplants or tubers are doing well, things like broccoli, cabbage, bok choi, onions, potatoes, and kohlrabi.  Things planted from seed have had a tougher time.  For example, leaf lettuce planted May 4 (actually, a little later than I like), after 4 weeks, has leaves about the size of dimes.  I’m talking about a tough time if even lettuce is having trouble !  I know all you town people can’t believe that it is so much colder in the country, but there is a big difference.  I always am amazed at how much early produce there is at the farmers’ markets.  I’m not sure how they do it, but I think it has something to do with scale.  I do all the soil preparation with tractors and heavy(ish) equipment, so I can’t get on the soil as early as you can in a home garden, and then the soil seems to warm more slowly since the air is cooler, especially at night.  We also plant quite a bit with machines since we have to do such large plantings, so that sometimes delays us while we wait for the soil moisture to be (mostly) correct.  So all in all, I believe it takes heroic efforts to have vegetables ready this time of year.  I’m not that heroic.  Not to worry, we’ll still have 20 weeks of produce, but will run until October 31, long after all the sissy gardeners have given up!  I’m a way better farmer in the fall.

Except for the slow growing crops, the fast growing weeds, and the herd of ground squirrels who live and eat here, everything else seems to be falling into place for a productive and fun season.  The workers are efficient, the walk-in cooler is nearly restored, the hoophouse is marvelous, and the rains have been timely.   It’s going to be great.

I plan to write a weekly update about what’s happening at the farm to post to the web.  I should have it posted by Sunday night or Monday morning each week and should be able to tell you what vegetables to expect that week, and any other timely news.  I’m not yet able to publish it on my site (, so I’ll be using the blog provided by for a while.  You can get automatic emails when I post the weekly report if you go to the blog and click on the little orange square, then follow the short instructions.  I think this will cause my posts to be automatically emailed to you.  It should be handy and make it easy for you to think about other things Monday mornings, and won’t clog up my computer sending out to a massive email list.  (If you know how to install WordPress and would volunteer to put it on my computer for me, please let me know.  We think this will make it possible to have the blog on the Abbe Hills website, but the installation is a little complicated.)

Sorry I’ve kept you in the dark about the upcoming season this long.  Hope this note is helpful.  Attend a farmers’ market this week and next and get started on that great early produce.  See you in a couple of weeks.


(If I could figure out how to do it, this is where I would post a photo of the 87 kindergardeners who came to visit the farm this week.  Maybe I'll learn how to do it by next week's post.)


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