December is here
Actually, it has been here for a week or two, but such is the nature of this blog (especially without Brosi around).
The farm has been a fairly quiet place since the Thanksgiving rush has passed. Many of the inhabitants have left - Brosi is back home, the summer workers no longer come around, the turkeys and broilers are gone, many of the pigs have disappeared. Even the ever-present insects are largely gone, aside from a few half-frozen grasshoppers we occasionally find in the greenhouse. Not until noon do they come groggily to life and half-heartedly hop away from you. The plants, too, are largely gone or dormant - long past are the days when I could walk around the farm and wonder at all the veggies growing, way too many for the boxes to come. Now I am happy for the few crops still at it out there - kales, mostly, and a few Asian greens and leeks.
On the other hand, deep winter has not yet settled upon us, so we can be thankful for the chance to walk around the farm at all. Once the snows really come we rarely even venture so far as the creek, instead living out our lives in the acre or two of land that comprises the greenhouses, packing shed, wash station, and barn. If you don't mind the crisp mornings, or the frost not burning off until lunchtime, now is a fine time for a farm walk.
I have been busy of late preparing the seed order and planting schedule for next year. I'm trying to pay particular attention to it since I'm supposed to be presenting on that very subject at this year's PASA conference in February! Keeping the CSA supplied year-round with vegetables is a tricky task and one that I like to think we get better at every year. There are inevitably going to be weeks where you don't get much - and other weeks where you get too much - but we really do try to balance that out. Factor in planting times, different varieties, expected yields, and the occasional insect outbreak or freak weather event, and the planning can get a little complicated!
Folks always ask me what we do to keep busy in the winter time- you all know we harvest salad mix for the CSA, but what else goes on here? Well Adam has to make all those crates you all love, especially when you forget to return them. Steve is busy fixing up and/or winterizing animal housing; as our resident mechanic he also spends a lot of time each winter doing maintenance our our tractors, ATVs, trucks, and farm implements. When most of your tractors are older than most of your farmers, there is a good bit of maintenance to do! The greenhouses require attention on more than just CSA harvest day - keeping weeds and pests to a minimum is a busy job. We're also spending time right now pruning the blueberries, mulching strawberries, garlic, and overwintering carrots, chopping and splitting firewood, fixing our walk-in coolers, cleaning our irrigation supply room and barn, taking all our used plastic mulch to get recycled, and testing out recipes for Food Shed products! And of course the farm is transitioning to an LLC business structure, while Marsha is busy with year-end accounting and bookkeeping. It's also about time to start looking for new summer members, so if you've gotten this far be sure to tell your friends how busy we are all the time!
I hope your holidays are approaching with lots of joy and very little stress. We'll see you all soon! - Dave