2014 CSA distrubution #8

Another week, another busy stretch. Garlic harvest is about to start in earnest, let us know if you wish to take part in this interesting but time-consuming task over the next few weeks, in exchange for some extra heads. We have harvested the first two varieties so far, and all the signs are pointing towards an excellent garlic year…a very big relief after two sub-standard garlic years.

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2014 CSA distribution #7

Welcome to summer. Long, hot days on the farm under continued good growing conditions result in copious vegetables and somewhat stressed farmers. The peas are taking over where the strawberries left off as a harvest time sink. Planting, weeding, mulching, and other tasks continue to more than absorb what time and energy we have available.

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Using share #6 (in an hour!)

This weekend we hosted a fun event, inspired by this earlier post, to demonstrate easy & tasty ways of preparing an early-summer full share. With our two attending households, we walked the fields on a beautiful afternoon and harvested the share’s contents together, a great chance for kids to get their hands on the source of their food. Then we laid the contents out on a table, took a photo, and after a brief discussion, dove into the cooking. The time stamps on the photos show that exactly 63 minutes after arranging the fresh share on the table, with an attentive audience, we’d prepared everything in the share into a diverse and tasty set of dishes that we enjoyed together. If the two of us can prepare a whole share in an hour, so can you! using_share6_2Harvesting the share on a glorious June afternoon. Continue reading

2014 CSA distribution #6

We’re enjoying the days with highs in the 70s in mid-June, and the soil moisture has been nicely recharged for now. However, the weeds are growing like mad, and the crops would like to see some sun before damp conditions cause disease to take hold. A well-timed WWOOFer (farm-stay visitor) is helping us this week, meaning that we have high hopes of getting caught up on weeding & more.

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Farm-to-table event: using early summer shares & cheesemaking

Given the positive response to May’s “Using share #2’s spring vegetables” post, we’re going to do it again with a twist. Next week’s share #6 will mark the transition to early summer vegetables, replacing spring items with  beets, cabbage, chard, & kohlrabi. This Saturday, we’re going to host a “how to use your share” cooking event on the farm, assembling a full share #6 and preparing the whole share together with attendees to demonstrate various ways of using these ingredients and our diverse herbs. We’ll also demonstrate the making of ricotta cheese, the easiest way to use our fresh goat’s milk. When everything’s ready, we’ll enjoy a fun tasting meal with whomever attends. This is a great chance for members to learn more about the produce in their shares and how to use it. Continue reading

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Bird list & natural events, May 2014

May was mostly warm & dry, finishing a few degrees above normal and with only about 2/3 normal rainfall (most of which fell early in the month). Obscured in the warm average was the major cold snap mid-month, in which we suffered three nights of frost and much of the northern half of Missouri set record lows. Last May was quite different, logging an awful 12″ of rain and more moderate temperatures. Compared to that, we’ll take the overly dry conditions, but it’s still of great concern that we’ve had below-average rainfall every month since October (save April). There’s just no pleasing farmers in a Missouri May. Continue reading

2014 CSA distribution #4

We’re settling into the weekly routine that will govern the rest of the growing season, harvesting & distributing twice a week while managing everything else in between. It’s awfully dry up here, haven’t had the same rains as Columbia and points south, and that’s going to be a growing concern if it continues. But in the meantime, the hard work and stress of spring is paying off in a good-looking farm as we dive headlong into summer. Continue reading

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2014 CSA distribution #3

Finally, regular weekly distributions! This will be a pretty similar mix to last week. With warmer, sunnier weather this past week (though we still really need some rain), we’re seeing lots of crops growing quickly. As, of course, are the weeds. It’s been a marathon of transplanting & more this week, now that we’re finally free of frost, and most crops look great so far. High hopes for a productive summer.

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Anticipating early & late frosts

Learning to understand and predict local weather is a really important skill for properly managing our diversified farm. There are so many ways that weather conditions can hinder or help our work, and general forecasts don’t always cover what we need to know. Case in point,  predicting when we’re going to have a frost in our valley regardless of whether it’s regionally expected.This skill can mean the difference between significant crop loss and success at extending/completing our growing season. You’d never know it from the muggy, high-80s conditions this week, but we saw last week’s three nights of frost coming. Continue reading