18 Jan · Fri 2019
It seems so simple grow a vegetable garden and distribute them through a CSA. The challenge is to keep the crops producing for the whole season. Unlike many other farming enterprises CSA farming is a continual cycle of plant, till, maintain, harvest repeat. The farms growing corn, tobacco or 1,000 acres of carrots can plant the whole crop at one time and work around the seasonal variations but the whole planting gets the same treatment on that same schedule. For the CSA there is a constant cycle of seeding transplanting, planting out, soil prep,trellising, weeding harvest and resetting the fields for another cycle. Throw in a week of heavy rain followed by another you carefully planned schedule gets thrown in the compost heap. Never a dull moment! We will be back at it for another season regardless. Hope you consider joining me on this agrarian adventure for 2019.
Posted by Farmer Mike @ 09:11 AM EST
17 Feb · Fri 2017
eing a CSA member you need to be flexible and open minded. As a small one man farm I work very hard at providing a great variety of crops to keep the shares interesting. There is a tricky balance between growing interesting things and productive thing. Most members who participate in my CSA comment on the nice variety of crops included in the share. A lot of CSA's get good at growing a few major crops and hammer their customers with chard or beets or what ever they grow well. I try to grow some reliably crops, some new crops and some more difficult to grow ones. So each week there are some staples, something interesting or new to you and some odd ball once in a while. I try to keep it interesting and sometimes at a compromise to volume.
Those productive weeks I add more to hopefully make up for any shortages in the future. Last year there were not too many short weeks most weeks were fairly generous.
Posted by Farmer Mike @ 09:13 AM EST
31 Dec · Sat 2011
Dear CSA Members,
This season was particularly challenging due to the climatic extremes experienced during just a few weeks that impacted a large portion of the season. A relatively hot dry spring and very wet August impacted many crops that were planted and maintained in a timely manner but failed to produce a sizable harvest. Peas, and beans were most impacted in the spring and tomatoes suffered severely after the hurricane and tropical storm. All in all I was able to harvest most of the crops I planted, not always in the quantities planned, notably summer squash and cucumbers were lacking, but peppers and sweet potatoes were prolific. The chickens were laying plenty of eggs until a few predator issues and low production at the end of the season. Rather than racing from week to week to wrap up the season as fast as possible I enjoyed this year a bit more by staggering the delivery weeks, and harvesting the crops as they ripened.
Next season I am planning to slightly reduce the number of share from 70 to 60. This is mostly an attempt to step back and work a bit more on efficiency and organic management. I will start taking subscriptions starting Feb 1, 2012. The format for the season will be similar with 20 shares spread through the growing season.
Earlier this season I had considered not having laying hens next year. However, I received many positive comments regarding the fresh egg s, and now I don’t think I can eliminate them from the farm. The big issue was that the hens take up a great deal of time each week, 8-10 hours between feeding, moving, washing and packing eggs. Also there is an unrecognized time lose on those days when one gets out, needs to be chased down and returned to safety. Even five minutes a day adds up to 30 hours a year (nearly a full week of labor) which could be directed to other crops. I won’t be getting the replacement chicks until February so the eggs won’t be in the share until July.
Next year’s crop plan is to slightly reduce diversity by planting fewer varieties but more of each type. I figure that if I need to harvest 10 crops per week over 20 weeks I should only need 200 individual crops. For example I am focusing on just eight tomato, pepper and eggplant varieties. One of this winter’s projects is to select the best varieties for each crop and get those seeds ordered (and planted); cabbage, tomatoes and eggplant can be started New Year’s day .
I hope that you enjoyed the CSA experience this year. If you are planning on joining next season I give prior participants a month to confirm starting February 2012, then open the registration to others starting March 2012. With the reduced shares available I expect the CSA to fill out quickly. If friends or neighbors are interested please let them know to contact me in February. If you opt not to join next season there are no hard feelings. I realize the CSA experience is not for everyone, and life situations change. You are always welcomed back if you want to try another season.
Happy Eating and Happy Holidays,
Good Fortune Farm
Posted by Farmer Mike @ 01:05 PM EST