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.


Farm events

Saturday April 5 bird walk: On Saturday April 5, we’ll be hosting a morning birding field trip for the Columbia Audobon Society; if you’re interested, please see the information on their field trip page.

Sunday April 6 tour, 2 p.m.: There will be a farm tour on Sunday, April 6 at 2 pm, open free to any prospective members who want to learn more, and any current members who just want to visit the farm and catch up with all our doings.¬†Goat kidding is likely to happen sometime between now and mid/late April, so there’s a possibility this event could provide an opportunity to meet the kids, but no promises. Please contact us if you’re planning to attend.


Website highlights

Winter is always a time for web work, so we thought we’d point out a few pages (some of them new) that may be of interest to CSA members or prospective members:

Share photo page: Last year we started taking weekly photos of a standard full share to document the CSA’s baseline. These became a really useful resource and we’re going to continue the project this year. Look through these for a rough sense of how 2014 might look, remembering that there wasn’t a January share this year (i.e. share #2 of 2013 will be somewhat equivalent to this year’s share #1).

Produce pages: This winter, we put together a photographic collection of the produce types we grow that are likely to show up in a CSA share. We’re working towards having a linked page for each type of produce with basic handling & preparation guidelines, along with our estimate of standard share quantities. It may take us a few years to finish all of these, but we’re hoping these will keep the newsletter shorter, as members can refer to these pages with any question about what’s listed for the week.

Culinary herb page: A member commented in the end of year survey last year that they sometimes had trouble identifying the herbs that arrived in their share, so we’ve put together a photographic collection of the herbs that have some potential of being offered through the CSA. (Not all of these may be available every year.) As for the produce pages, we plan to eventually have pages that provide more information about handling and use.

Crop management page: As part of our decision to drop organic certification, we’re putting more work into presenting our management practices publicly online, rather than in a private certification packet. We plan to add more information as we have time.

Biodiversity posts: We are slowly working to photographically document biodiversity at Chert Hollow Farm, including wild species and domesticated species & varieties of plants & animals. As our photo collection grows, and as time allows, we’re putting up posts featuring one species or variety at a time. Check these out for a glimpse into some of the biodiversity here.

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