Abbe Hills Farm CSA

  (Mt. Vernon, Iowa)
[ Member listing ]

Send the rain our way. Raffle tickets for SE Linn Community Center

Greetings shareholders,
This week, we should have broccoli, cabbage, onions, dill, chard, kale and collards, summer squash, green beans, potatoes, and garlic.  We'll also try to get a few more beets out of the ground for you.   The first sweet corn has tassled so I supposed it will be ready to eat in about three weeks - later than everybody else and probably smaller ears - but amazingly yummy.
We need rain.  The harvests the last seven weeks have been over-the-top-abundant.  Perfect temperatures and plenty of rain will do that for you, if you can get the crops planted, which we were able to do quite well this spring.  But now the summer crops have used up most of the moisture that was stored in the upper layer of soil and they are ready for a big old drink.  I expect we will be yanked back to more realistic size harvests starting this week.  We are irrigating tomatoes, peppers, winter squash, melons, and cantaloupes, but most of the other crops are on their own.
It's so dry, I can't get the disk in the ground and I don't want any of my workers to run the tiller because it is dangerously dusty.  We won't be planting anything until we get at least a little rain to settle the dust and soften up the surface.  The poor hens have been stuck in the same pasture for the last two weeks - the ground is so hard we can't pull out the fenceposts to move them!  And we can't get the garlic out of the ground - keep bending the forks!  (Seems a little too much like last year.)  So, wash your car, hang out your laundry, don't mow your grass, whatever you have to do to get some rain moving in our direction.
Some/most of the summer squash this week will come from my friends at Local Harvest CSA near Solon.  They have too much so they are sharing with us.  Seems like all 100 billion cucumber beetles in the world came here and left everybody else alone.
I've got raffle tickets for Southeast Linn Community Center for sale.  Lots of great prizes, but the best part is that you get to help us support our community center, which provides food, coats, school supplies, and lots of other things to children, families, and seniors in the Mt. Vernon and Lisbon school districts.  Money from the raffle sales is used for the basic stuff - light bills, staff salaries (very puny, by the way), and building upkeep.  Raffle tickets are $1 each, but you should really just make yourself feel really good and buy them 20 at a time!
See you this week,


lots of rain, Dan's bringing beef

Greetings shareholders and friends of Abbe Hills Farm CSA,

Market this week is at the Mt. Vernon Community Center at the east end of downtown, 11:00 until 1:00.  Charlotte isn’t able to make it, but I’ll be there will bells on – and with lots of very nice lettuce, plus some arugula and spinach, and eggs.

Sadly for me, this is the last market of the winter.  The regular Mt Vernon Farmers’ Market starts on Thursday, May 2, 4:00 until 6:00 at the park on the west end of downtown.  Of course, the hoophouse is finally full of lovely greens now that the market is ending!  I’ll be in the field (hopefully) and won’t be able to make it to market in the afternoons, so you’re going to have to come to me to get your crunch.

I have to talk about the weather.  It’s awful.  We received 5.25” of rain last week.  The first 3” soaked in completely.  Perfect.   The next 2.25”, not so much.   Pile on about 6” so far this week, and we’ve got a problem.  Then there is the cold.  And wind.  And clouds.  Not such a great spring so far.  Although the subsoil moisture is being replenished, which is a relief.  And the pond and wetland are full to the brim, so that kind of water will actually recharge the aquifer, which also makes me feel better.

My best guess is that we will need about 5 days of sun, warm, and wind to dry out the soil enough to do field preparation.  After that, if it continues to be dry, we commence planting.  I’ve got over 2000 lbs of seed potatoes and 25,000 onion plants ready to go.  Plus thousands of little plants in the germination house and hoophouse that will soon be ready for transplanting.  We’re going to be BUSY when the good weather gets here.

One good thing - I think this might be the year of broccoli. I accidentally started too much in the germination house, which might be a good thing for you.  Of course, I’m not making any promises until I actually see you walking out of here with broccoli sticking out of your bag.  But it looks good so far.

There is grassfed BEEF.  Here is what Dan wrote: 

 I'm excited to be able to deliver 20 lb. boxes of mixed beef cuts to Susan Jutz's CSA delivery site in SE Cedar Rapids on Earth Day, Ap. 22. Thanks to the help from Edgewood Locker, we've been able to divvy up my harvested beef into "snow flake" boxes. (No two boxes are identical, but I try to make them all equivalent.) All boxes have 3 packages of steaks; 2 roasts; minute steaks; stew meat, (no bones); boiling beef, (contains some small bones); and at least 4 lbs. of hamburger. No organ meats. Some boxes may also contain a small package of soup bones or short ribs. The boxes are priced at $120 per box. Place orders by replying to , or 563-516-1007 by noon on Sunday April 21.  Hamburger is also available, priced at $5.50/lb., while supplies last. Liver, heart, and tongue are available at $2.50/lb, and soup bones at $3/lb.

And finally, if you want to learn to burn prairies, there is a free program (and I think there is going to be smoke) tomorrow, Saturday, April 20, 10:00 to 2:00 at the Goose Pond Natural Area near Center Point, sponsored by Linn County and the roadside people.  Please call Mary today at 377-5960 (x3) to register. 

You can join the CSA any time by sending me your registration and a little money. 

Hope to see you at market tomorrow,



very good rain Saturday, Sauerkraut Days this weekend, next week begins second half of the season

Greetings shareholders,
This week, we'll have sweet corn, eggplant, zukes and squash, green beans, potatoes, onions, garlic, kale and collards, cucumbers, the beginning of the tomatoes, and a little bit of cilantro and basil.  Sounds like summer, doesn't it!
The Monday people will get their choice of Bodacious or Serendipity sweet corn.  Serendipity is a corn you like.  I don't grow it too often because it's usually too sweet for me.  I prefer corn that tastes a little more "corny", but I plant it sometimes to humor you.  The cool weekend slowed down the maturing of the corn, exactly when we need to open up a new patch, so the Bodacious left from last week will be for the people who like it more mature, and the Serendipity for those who like it a little new.
Whoooeeee!!!  What a great rain Saturday afternoon.  We were lucky to get about 1.5", nearly as much as we've had in the last two months all added together.  It came fast, and there was too much wind (your sweet corn might have mud on it because the ears are laying on the ground now), but there was little serious damage and almost all of the moisture soaked in.  It's really going to help the fall crops that we already have planted (beans, beets, carrots), plus soften up the ground to make it possible to do tillage for the next round of planting (cabbage, bok chois, kohlrabi, lettuces).  And, I get a couple of days to take the irrigation pump to town for a checkup.  The poor thing's been running 12 hours per day, 6 days per week since May.  It needs a break.
Mt. Vernon and Lisbon people - we need your help.  Marty St. Clair and I are responsible for getting volunteers to staff the bingo tent at Sauerkraut Days in Lisbon next Saturday, noon until 2:00.  That's after the parade, before the water balloons.  Should be a good time to have some fun, meet some new people, and donate a couple of hours to the SE Linn Community Center.  If you'd like to help us, please let Marty or me know asap.  Anybody older than 15 can volunteer - you just have to be able to hand out the cards and collect the quarters.  Profits from bingo go to the Community Center this year.  Thanks.
This week is your last chance to get tickets for the SE Linn raffle, with the drawing also on Saturday at Sauerkraut.  $1 per ticket.  I'd be happy if I ran out of tickets some night this week.  And you'd be contributing to a good thing.
See you this week.

Happy Day! It rained!

Greetings shareholders,
This week, we'll have the first onions, more bok choi, Chinese cabbages, lettuce, the last spring turnips and radishes, broccoli, kohlrabi, kale, and the last garlic scapes.  The onions will be small, as will most of the onions this summer.  Bok chois are still delicious.  Here and here are a couple of recipe ideas for chois, Chinese cabbage, and other flavorful leafy greens.  You already know my advice - when in doubt, stir fry. 
The lettuce and broccoli might be a little damaged this week.  Heat is the enemy of good quality in those two vegetables, and we're going to have plenty of it this week.  We try to keep ahead of it, but aren't always able.  Lettuce "bolts" in heat, giving up on leaf growth and getting ready to make flowers.  It starts to look like a Christmas tree.  The flavor can be a bit strong, but still good, I think.  We've got more heat tolerant lettuces (we hope) that should be ready next week.  Broccoli turns brownish on the top when it gets too hot, and sometimes the stems separate too much.  Once again, heat is giving the plant the message that it's time to go reproductive.   Doesn't seem to hurt the flavor, but looks funny. 
Next week, I think we'll have beets and chard, small cabbages, summer squash, and new potatoes.
We had two rain events last week, .15" on Wednesday night, and a wonderful 1" rain yesterday morning.  I'm looking forward to taking a break from irrigating for a couple of days.  We had all of our hay down, drying.  It's not so dry now, which is a bit of a problem, but I'm sure glad the tiny alfalfa plants under the hay finally got a drink.  I was worried about their survival.  The moisture also softened up the ground a few inches down, so I hope that I can till some more garden in the next couple of days.  We've run out of space, and a few more rows will make it possible to plant okra, cantaloupe, brussels, and more beans.
The Japanese beetles have emerged and are starting to cause trouble.  Here is some info from Iowa State to help you identify them, and here is more info on management. 
See you this week,
RSS feed for Abbe Hills Farm CSA blog. Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader