Bird list & natural events, March 2014

March continued the cool, dry trend of this winter, useful for getting outdoor work done but of increasing concern for the coming growing season. It turned out to be a nice birding month, with reasonably stable weather making it easier to observe consistently. A month that began with lows below 0 ended with highs around 70, clearing demonstrating the seasonal changes underway as we appreciate the gentle warming of spring. Continue reading

Farm tour April 6 for potential & current members

This coming Sunday, April 6, we will be hosting a free farm tour for current & potential CSA members. This will be a great chance to learn about the farm if you’re considering joining, and to reconnect with us if you’re returning from last year. With planting now underway, we’d really like to finalize the membership, so please spread the word to anyone who might be interested (and check out this recent nice piece on local CSAs in the Columbia Tribune) Details below the break. Continue reading

2014 CSA preview

The first vegetables of 2014 are underway in the greenhouse, the garlic is waking up in the field, and with the soil rapidly warming, meaning a flurry of planting and transplanting will be happening in the next few weeks. Given the late arrival of spring and the cold soil temperatures, we’ll probably be on a similar schedule to 2013 (another cold spring), with the first distribution happening around early May. The planting plan is similar to last year, with the caveat of uncertainty that always accompanies farming.

We have membership openings available for 2014, as there’s always turnover from year to year as people’s situations change, especially in a community as dynamic as Columbia. If you’re considering joining this year, check out our 2014 CSA information, and you may also be interested in our 2013 CSA survey results to see how members felt about last year. You can officially join up by filling out the online survey at the bottom of the CSA information page.

Below, we’ll highlight some other items of interest for potential & current CSA members. Continue reading

Dropping organic certification, part III

Our farm has been certified organic for 5 of its 7 years in business, including our transition from a market & restaurant focus to a CSA, but we’ve decided to drop our certification for 2014 and the forseeable future, effective March 15. This decision has been developing for a long time, and was the topic of countless hours of discussion over the last year. This is the third of three posts in which we attempt to discuss and explain some of the myriad experiences and reasons behind this decision, though we can’t possibly cover everything.

PART III: The benefits of dropping certification Continue reading

Dropping organic certification, part II

Our farm has been certified organic for 5 of its 7 years in business, including our transition from a market & restaurant focus to a CSA, but we’ve decided to drop our certification for 2014 and the forseeable future, effective March 15. This decision has been developing for a long time, and was the topic of countless hours of discussion over the last year. This is the second of three posts in which we attempt to discuss and explain some of the myriad experiences and reasons behind this decision, though we can’t possibly cover everything.

PART II: Some of our specific concerns and problems with certification Continue reading

Dropping organic certification, part I

Our farm has been certified organic for 5 of its 7 years in business, including our transition from a market & restaurant focus to a CSA, but we’ve decided to drop our certification for 2014 and the forseeable future, effective March 15. This decision has been developing for a long time, and was the topic of countless hours of discussion over the last year. Over the next three posts, we’ll attempt to discuss and explain some of the myriad experiences and reasons behind this decision, though we can’t possibly cover everything.

PART I: Some of our concerns with the USDA Organic system as a whole

Continue reading

Bird list & natural events, February 2014

Well, wasn’t February fun? Temperatures were seriously cold for all but one brief warmup, the month averaging a good ten degrees below average. Although snowfall was above average due to one major storm, moisture totals were about half average for the second straight month. After the summer of 2012, it makes us nervous to head into a growing season with the ground already abnormally dry. The beginning of March, with record-cold temperatures, is not boding well for getting the CSA off to an early start. Despite all this, we were able to spend a lot of time outdoors this month, as cold & dry conditions are generally great for getting winter logging work done, and were able to observe a lot of interesting bird and wildlife activity. Continue reading

Good weather, good work, good food, good life

There are hard days on the farm, and then there are days like Tuesday. Sunny, temperatures soaring to near 60º on a warm southerly breeze, the snow & ice of a long winter melting rapidly with the delightful gurgling of awakened streams. We’ve been getting a lot of useful things done lately, but this temporary relief from the cold made everything seem even better. Here’s a photo essay of some mid-February farm conditions and projects. Continue reading

Farm news: happy hour this Friday, email trouble, etc.

There are several issues of interest to existing or potential members happening at the moment, which we’ll lay out here partly due to some issues with email. On the farm, we’ve been using nice days for logging work (generating mulch for paths & orchard, lumber for projects, and fuel for biochar pits) and indoor days for accounting, taxes, planning plantings & the CSA, and other fun stuff.

Happy hour Friday January 31

Join us for a Happy Hour get-together at 5:00 pm this Friday, Jan 31, at Trey Bistro. Existing and potential members welcome! We’re in planning mode and would love input from existing members on various aspects of the CSA, and we’d just like to provide a winter opportunity to get together, as well. For prospective members, this is an opportunity to meet us and talk about CSA options. Trey has been a loyal wholesale customer for years, so we’re happy to support the Bistro with our business on this evening.

Email trouble

We’ve been having email trouble recently. It appears that our email host’s IP addresses were being used by spammers and became blacklisted, thus contaminating our reputation as well. Suddenly a number of domains, including AOL and Mizzou, were rejecting any messages sent from our domain/IP as spam, meaning messages to many of our members weren’t getting through. Obviously this was a serious problem, but dealing with such time sinks is just draining.

We ended up purchasing a dedicated IP address for our domain to (hopefully) eliminate such issues now and in the future, though this is another expense to be eaten by the business. We hope email is back to normal, but would encourage anyone who expects to get messages from us to (a) set our domain as safe in your own email settings, (b) check the blog on occasion for announcements, and (c) get in touch if you think you haven’t been hearing from us.

Keene Street delivery possibility?

We’ve had a potential member inquire about deliveries to a Keene Street location. This is outside our normal delivery zone, but given the cluster of medical/health locations, it’s an area we wouldn’t mind serving. However, we’d need enough people there to make deliveries worthwhile and/or affordable. If any current or potential members work in that area and would like to discuss direct delivery, please get in touch. We’d be able to reduce the delivery costs significantly with a couple more members there.

Winter egg sales

We’re going to try holding regular egg dropoffs every other week, probably on Mondays, and will use the farm’s webcalendar to note these dates & locations. Those who have been egg customers in the past will receive emails about these unless we’re told otherwise, whereas we won’t bother anyone who hasn’t been an egg customer unless you ask to be on the list.