CSA distribution #20 & newsletter

The next CSA distribution will be Monday September 23 and Thursday September 26. This return to regular weekly distributions will also mark the transition into fall crops, as a number of long-running summer items will be replaced by new ingredients for you to enjoy. It’s been a busy few weeks of catching up with overproduction and work backlogs, but we’re cautiously optimistic about moving forward into fall.

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Help free Shakir Hamoodi, for his sake and ours

Once again, supporters and family of Dr. Shakir Hamoodi are mounting an effort to convince President Obama to commute his current 3-year jail sentence to time served, achieving his release and return to his family & business (past efforts have been ignored). Beyond our personal opinion of the matter, discussed in this piece from last year, this situation affects every member of the Chert Hollow Farm CSA and all those with an interest in the stability and success of our farm. Continue reading

CSA distribution # 19 & newsletter

This share is staggered over two weeks in an attempt to give your tired farmers a bit of a break; thus the distributions will be Thursday September 12 and Monday September 16, with normal distributions resuming Monday the 23rd. The impressive produce abundance is wearing us down, with near-constant harvest & food preservation sucking up time and energy, particularly in the hot dry conditions that also make irrigation a constant management concern. This is not unique to us, as noted in recent newsletters from both Happy Hollow Farm and Fair Share Farm. Thus we present a minimalist newsletter; enjoy the abundance of produce while it lasts. Continue reading

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Bird list & other natural events, August 2013

August was our third dry month in a row, and with the rising heat by the end of the month it really began to feel like a flashback to last year’s brutal summer. Overall it was a remarkably stable month in terms of weather; very little variation in temperature, few notable weather systems: it was like farming in California, for better and for worse. The days just quietly passed by, crops grew like crazy, and the natural world puttered along. Horseflies grew really intense toward the end of the month, with Joanna killing 42 in one evening’s session of field work, and Eric multiple times killing 4 in one blow on the pigs’ backs. Continue reading

CSA distribution #17 & newsletter

The next CSA distribution will be Monday August 26 and Thursday August 29. The following Monday (Sept. 2) is Labor Day, and we WILL be delivering as usual that day & week. As noted on our web calendar, we have a break built into the schedule in mid-September. To avoid the build-up of too much produce, we are staggering the days that won’t have shares. There will be NO share on Monday September 9 or Thursday September 19. Deliveries will be normal on Thursday the 12th and Monday the 16th. We skipped the break that we had hoped to take in June due to the weather-induced late start to the season, but at this point we are on track (barring catastrophe) to have 26 or 27 distribution weeks by Thanksgiving, so we think we’re justified in taking a breather.

Don’t forget this Saturday’s CSA potluck & farm tour, your best chance to see the farm in mid-season, meet other members, and explore their culinary skills. Leave a comment, or email us, to let us know you’re coming. Continue reading

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CSA distribution #15 & newsletter

The next CSA distribution will be Monday August 12 and Thursday August 15. We knew last week’s utopian theme wouldn’t last, and sure enough we’ve confirmed an outbreak of Spotted Wing Drosophila (see below) on the farm that is devastating our blackberries and could spell disaster for all sorts of berry harvests in future years; there’s also at least some concern regarding tomatoes. The exact contents of this week’s share are uncertain, being dependent on a variety of items yielding enough, which in turn mostly depends on actually getting enough sun for that to happen. Continue reading

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2013 CSA potluck & produce tasting

We’re excited about hosting our annual potluck & produce tasting for CSA members on Saturday, August 24 starting at noon. We’ll start by setting out food, then eating & socializing; this event is a great way to meet other members. Next, we’ll tour the farm & digest a bit. Finally, we’ll return to the house for a produce tasting that will most likely feature multiple varieties of tomatoes & sweet peppers.

Members: Please RSVP by commenting on this post, sharing what you intend to bring, so the menu can be balanced by all attendees without a lot of coordination on our part. If you’re not sure yet, even a general category (main dish, side, salad, dessert, etc.) is helpful for planning. Feel free to add more specifics later, if you wish. If you’d rather not use your full name, that’s ok as your email address (required to comment but not displayed on the site) should identify you to us. Read on below for more details & guidance.

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Bird list & other natural events, July 2013

This July really ought to be discussed in two parts. The first 3 weeks or so, it was seasonal to warm and really dry: we only recorded 0.25″ of rain through July 20. That’s worse than the equivalent period in July 2012, in the midst of the brutal drought. We were getting really worried about a growing repeat of that year, especially given the less than two inches recorded in all of June.  As we noted in last month’s natural post, “With some reasonable rain soon, we could be primed for a nice summer”. It took another three weeks, but then two and a half inches in the last ten days turned things around and got us headed into August with wonderfully seasonal to cool temperatures. All in all, we’ll look back on this month with fondness, now that we know how it ends. Still, only 2.71″ total compared to a monthly average of 4.37″ means we remain in a dry spell that could quickly turn problematic again. Continue reading