CSA distribution #4 & newsletter

The next CSA distribution will be Monday May 27th (Memorial Day) and Thursday May 30th. This will be another relatively small share, but keep in mind that we’re still weeks behind on the growing calendar, and are providing 100% field-grown crops (no hoophouses or other such infrastructure). Even the big commodity farmers have been way behind planting schedule, though they get lots of support that vegetable growers don’t. Even though the spring crops have been off to a slow start, we have every hope of achieving an abundant summer & fall, providing an excellent quantity and quality of diverse produce for all of us to enjoy. Continue reading

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CSA distribution #3 & newsletter

The next CSA distribution will be Monday May 20th and Thursday May 23rd. We hope and intend that shares will be weekly from now on, though the next few may still be somewhat small as crops catch up from the late spring. If you have questions about the delivery schedule, please check our web-calendar. For Monday members: Please note that the following Monday (May 27) is Memorial Day, when we will be delivering as usual; rapidly growing vegetables do not respect holidays. If you will have a problem receiving or picking up your share that day, please let us know via the survey. From now on, Monday members will receive their survey on Fridays, Thursday members on Mondays. Continue reading

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Why this spring’s weather will delay the next CSA shares

We’ve been writing about the difficult spring weather for months, but just to avoid any confusion, let’s be clear: there will be no CSA distributions for at least a week, and possibly two, due to the extraordinarily cold, wet, slow spring, in addition to the delays we’ve already suffered in trying to get going this year. These conditions represent the worst spring we’ve seen in seven years here, and are quite stressful and disruptive for us and other farmers we know. Here’s a specific look at just how the spring crops are doing so far, and why these conditions are problematic. Continue reading

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Bird list & other natural events, April 2013

We could write a novel about how frustrating April’s weather was, especially following on the heels of March. Despite a few misleadingly hot, sunny days, the month overall was disproportionately cold, wet, and cloudy. Various markers of spring are well behind normal, as are pretty much all our crops. Soil temperatures have remained lower than desired, regular rain kept conditions problematically soggy, and with so little regular sun, transplants and newly seeded crops grew quite slowly if at all. We did compile a very nice bird list for the month, but overall this April, like March, is best left quickly behind us. Continue reading

Recent & upcoming farm tours

We recently hosted a farm tour for Earth Dance Farms, a sustainable farming educational organization based in St. Louis. We were one stop on their 2-day trip that allows their interns/apprentices to visit & learn from various mid-Missouri farms. The visit was quite enjoyable with lots of interest and enthusiasm on both sides. Their summary of the whole trip can be read here, serving as a really interesting take on just how diverse individual approaches to farming can be. We humbly note, however, that we hold only Master’s degrees, not PhDs. In addition to writing about the visits, they also sent us a nice thank-you including this pleasant summary:

I know that all of our apprentices were amazed by your farm. It is unique amid all of the other farms we visit, in the Columbia area and closer to us in STL. Seeing it and understanding your practices inspires people to expand their thinking about what a “farm” means.

For CSA members who would like to enjoy a similar visit to the farm, we’ll be holding a tour this Saturday from 2-4 pm. The weather looks reasonable, so this will be a great chance to enjoy a pretty walk through our pastures, fields, and forests as spring finally takes hold. We’ll also be able to answer any last-minute questions before deliveries begin next week, and hope many folks can attend in order to meet other CSA members and start building this year’s community. If you need directions, please email us.

 

CSA distribution #2 & newsletter

We had hoped to offer the first CSA distribution of spring on April 22nd/25th, but are having to rewrite this newsletter as another week of cold, overly wet weather looms with far less sun than than desired. We need some consistent warmth & sun to allow for winter spinach to green up properly and ensure a good harvest. We now anticipate distributing on Monday April 29 and Thursday May 2.  This will technically be share #2, following the January share that served as an early-signing bonus for members, though it kicks off the full 2013 season. We have now closed the membership, so share #2 will also function as a full trial run of this season’s delivery routes & customization system; we ask that all members review our 2013 member guidelines for details on how this season will work. Read on for details on this share, what’s happening on the farm, and information on an upcoming CSA member event. Continue reading

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Early April farm happenings

Spring has finally arrived in our valley, and with vigor. In just the past week of warm weather, an intense flush of green growth has invigorated the grasses, weeds and wildflowers everywhere we look. Lots of spring birds are arriving, while a diverse chorus of frogs provides background ambiance.  The very slow start to spring pushed our outdoor work far behind as we waited for the soil to dry & warm. Finally, last week’s dry spell allowed us to undertake a marathon week of bed prep, seeding, transplanting, and more, exhausting ourselves thoroughly while enjoying finally moving forward with the growing season. This important work was cut off by the recent swath of strong storms which dumped over 2″ of rain, very heavy at times, and caused various problems with flooding and erosion (with minimal problems in the growing area, but roads especially aren’t pretty). And, of course, this once again slows down our planting & seeding plans while we wait for things to dry out.  We  could really use a nice, long stretch of pleasant weather, however unlikely that is in a typical Missouri April (the upcoming forecast has repeated rounds of rain again). Read on for some photos of early spring on the farm, and a glimpse of the first new crops of the year. Continue reading

Bird list & other natural events, March 2013

We could not imagine two months much different than March of 2012 and 2013. Last year we basically had May in March, getting the natural & growing season off to a worryingly early start. Now the opposite is true; it stayed so cold and snowbound most of the month that we’re as far behind now as we were ahead in 2012. Compare the two monthly temperature graphs below for March 2012 and 2013 in Columbia, from the National Weather Service. The average high for March 2013 (47.5 F) was lower than the average low for March 2012 (48.4 F); for reference the normal average is 55.3 (high) & 34 (low). The paired photos in this post also vividly demonstrate the difference.

march_temp_graphs Continue reading