Scent

 Squash seeds. Just add water!

Squash seeds. Just add water!

2018 Week 17, Winter CSA Pickup 11 of 13

Oh what a busy day was yesterday! I spread and 'placed' the soybean and pearl millet that will scythe or crimp into an in situ mulch for our autumn broccoli-family crops. I spread and rolled a new clover-grass mix in field 1, the first trial of a really, really cool if it works 'pasture-raised vegetable' system -- imagine a 'pasture' with a 6 inch wide strip running every 2 feet, but this pasture is a specially curated mix to deeply mine, hydraulically lift, and fungally entwine in a way that minimizes competition. I also planted 10 beds of fall and winter potatoes, with a good mix to trial for yield and flavor -- Purple Viking, Kennebec, Canela Russet, Elba, German Butterball, and Red Pontiac, leaving just Papa Cacho and Strawberry Paw to plant in another site later this week. Plus, I seeded another round of snap beans, soy beans, radishes, and turnips. All because, since daybreak, you could smell on the wind the scent of coming rain.

But we got it all in, and now this rain is perfect for the farm. In fact, it shows me how the farmer's heart is somewhere always stuck between the clouds and the land; because if all that went in yesterday hadn't, this rain would be a consternation, and not this peaceful settling.

Greenhouse work today, with more summer squash, cucumbers, and corn to seed, plus hot peppers to pot-up. Last week I thinned the basil and celery, which was such a tease to smell! A couple came by the farm a few days later, inquiring about the CSA, and asked if I grew 'Striped German' tomatoes. "Not this year," I said. Though I grew and loved it in New Hampshire, I kept it off the list, because .... But I reminisced too long with them, and so now the seed is on the shelf for next week's planting, making the 98th variety for the year. Yes, I too am quite keen for the arrival of our summer crops. :)

A final note about the farm fox, whom I saw five times last week. Because we call the feral cat who walks the fence, Saw Seuah, which is Thai for 'tiger,' we will name our new friend, Jing Jog. Smile if you see him or her.

We are on for a new round 4-week round of the Winter CSA, except this last one will go 5 weeks to the start of Summer. In deep thanks for your sticking by the farm these last 5 months, and because we are at the proverbial bottom of the barrel for some things, let's cut the price in half, and call it $65 until summer. If you happened to miss a week or two that you already paid for, do feel free to reduce that by however much you feel is fair.

Atelier Farm CSA Open House & Field Walk
I finalized the dates for the Open House & Field Walk, which is now Sundays, May 6th & 20th, 2-4pm. The farm is open to all -- current members, prospective members, neighbors, and passersby. I plan to explain the why and how of the CSA for new and potential members, and to give a tour of the farm ... while we all wear our "future goggles." If you want to see more of the story, please come! I guarantee to talk more in those two hours than I will the rest of the year. :)

My best,
See you on the farm,
Austin

PS: I harvested the littlest bit of Asparagus on my walk around the farm, but kept much back to help it root itself for the next 50 years. We have some -- and it tastes great! -- but not loads.

Veggies
Dry Beans
   - Carolina Crowder
   - Kenearly Yellow Eye
   - Kebarika
   - Midnight Black Turtle
   - Quincy Pinto
Popcorn - Cherokee Long
Winter Squash
  - Long Island Cheese
  - Seminole

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Kohlrabi
Onion
Parsnip
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potato
Radish, Winter
Rutabaga
Turnip, Winter

Medicinal Roots
Ashwagandha
Burdock / Gobo

Culinary Herbs
Chives, Garlic / Chinese
Parsley
Hot Pepper

Tea Herbs
Anise Hyssop
Basil, Italian
Catmint
Chocolate Mint
Lemon Balm
Lemongrass
Peppermint
Shiso
Spearmint
Sunset Hyssop
Thai Sweet Basil / Horapa
Tulsi / Holy Basil

 Fifty varieties of heirloom tomatoes find a new home. Don't worry, I know which is which.

Fifty varieties of heirloom tomatoes find a new home. Don't worry, I know which is which.

 Fifteen varieties of watermelons in the first round. "Just plant a watermelon on my grave and let the juice <slurp> slip through ..."

Fifteen varieties of watermelons in the first round. "Just plant a watermelon on my grave and let the juice <slurp> slip through ..."

Now and Later

 Millennium asparagus begins to pop up. It's the first year, so we can't harvest much -- a week or two this year, two or three next year, etc. -- but we have 1700 feet ringing the farm, so I think the few of us Winter CSAers should get quite enough.

Millennium asparagus begins to pop up. It's the first year, so we can't harvest much -- a week or two this year, two or three next year, etc. -- but we have 1700 feet ringing the farm, so I think the few of us Winter CSAers should get quite enough.

2018 Week 15, Winter CSA Pickup 10 of 13

Happy snow-day, all,

Although we have had a chilly spring -- and this will show in a later Summer CSA cropping -- I'll foolishly go on the record with a, "Well, it looks we're about out of the woods, and into warmer weather," luck-testing challenge to the farm gods. Because it just feels like it's time for things to grow. :)

The milky oats, radishes, turnips, snap peas, and spring spinach all germinated, though I am waiting a bit to see their rate. The carrots and beets are hanging out, but should germinate shortly with this good soil moisture and some warmer spring weather. The transplanted lettuce and onions look great, though the brassica -- kohlrabi, cabbage, kale, broccoli -- suffered some major, and historically anomalous, transplant shock. I did an immediate re-seeding, and have spent much time contemplating and researching the reason for their demise: my current best guess is wind, which we have had a lot of lately -- gusts up to 40mph, and steady 15-20mph blows. The beets, lettuce, and onions did not seem to mind, so it may be a particular interaction in this plant family. I'm on it. :)

On the perennial front, the moved rhubarb looks great, the asparagus is starting to pop, and each raspberry variety, in its own time, is leafing out. How exciting. The strawberries look better every time I look, which makes me think a simple row cover over the winter spinach -- sans hoops -- will be all we need next winter -- warmth, protection from dessication, and no great snowfall to keep us from uncovering it for harvest.

Also note that we are entering the mythological 'Hunger Gap,' that time of year when the storage crops wane and the fruits of summer are still just seeds. I have learned a lot here this first winter, and feel like next winter will be pretty awesome -- with respect to mass quantities of greens and prettier carrots -- but am glad we have strawberries, rhubarb, asparagus, and the dry beans to help us through this spring.

I have tentatively penciled-in a Sunday, May 13th, 2pm, Farm Tour and CSA run-through for all new and returning members, and perhaps the public as well. Let me know if I've chosen a bad day.

See you on the farm,
Austin

 

Veggies
Dry Beans
   - Carolina Crowder
   - Kenearly Yellow Eye
   - Kebarika
   - Midnight Black Turtle
   - Quincy Pinto
Popcorn - Cherokee Long
Winter Squash
  - Long Island Cheese
  - Seminole

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Kohlrabi
Onion
Parsnip
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potato
Radish, Winter
Rutabaga
Turnip, Winter

Medicinal Roots
Ashwagandha
Burdock / Gobo

Culinary Herbs
Cilantro
Chives
Hot Pepper

Tea Herbs
Anise Hyssop
Basil, Italian
Catmint
Chocolate Mint
Lemon Balm
Lemongrass
Peppermint
Shiso
Spearmint
Sunset Hyssop
Thai Sweet Basil / Horapa
Tulsi / Holy Basil

 A funny scene. Past research and my own experiments show a somewhat steady lb/acre yield within a pretty large window of potato spacing. With red clover in the middle, and the pathways tilled to install white clover, there isn't space for a traditional potato hilling. Instead of 1' spacing in a furrow, for this early potato planting we have 2' spacing and post-holes.

A funny scene. Past research and my own experiments show a somewhat steady lb/acre yield within a pretty large window of potato spacing. With red clover in the middle, and the pathways tilled to install white clover, there isn't space for a traditional potato hilling. Instead of 1' spacing in a furrow, for this early potato planting we have 2' spacing and post-holes.

 'Natascha' (yellow) seed potatoes cut for planting. In at the same time went 'Yukon Gem' (white), 'Chieftain' (red), and 'Bora Valley' (purple). These are the early types for summer, while in a few weeks I plant the later-maturing varieties for fall and winter.

'Natascha' (yellow) seed potatoes cut for planting. In at the same time went 'Yukon Gem' (white), 'Chieftain' (red), and 'Bora Valley' (purple). These are the early types for summer, while in a few weeks I plant the later-maturing varieties for fall and winter.

 I've been trying to bring back 'righteous' as a word. Because, righteous. Corn seeds root out. Espresso, Bodacious, and Incredible are new this year, while Kandy Korn and a bit of Ruby Queen -- the red one -- return, and Silver Queen retires. Corn won't germinate in cold weather, but it will grow ... which means if we start corn in the greenhouse, then transplant out in the spring a few weeks later, we can have early corn. Last year we had it the first day of summer. Let's see what we get this year.

I've been trying to bring back 'righteous' as a word. Because, righteous. Corn seeds root out. Espresso, Bodacious, and Incredible are new this year, while Kandy Korn and a bit of Ruby Queen -- the red one -- return, and Silver Queen retires. Corn won't germinate in cold weather, but it will grow ... which means if we start corn in the greenhouse, then transplant out in the spring a few weeks later, we can have early corn. Last year we had it the first day of summer. Let's see what we get this year.

 The onions go out. Last year worked so well, I kept it much the same, with the exception of less seeds per cell to increase bulb size, swapping Walla Walla in and Candy out, adding Newburg as a yellow storage trial, and decreasing the shallots until I find a variety which gives a solid yield.

The onions go out. Last year worked so well, I kept it much the same, with the exception of less seeds per cell to increase bulb size, swapping Walla Walla in and Candy out, adding Newburg as a yellow storage trial, and decreasing the shallots until I find a variety which gives a solid yield.

And We're Off

 The first 50 varieties of tomatoes come up -- the Cherries &amp; Earlies. I just doubled the quantity of cherries from last year, and upped the larger heirlooms by 50%.

The first 50 varieties of tomatoes come up -- the Cherries & Earlies. I just doubled the quantity of cherries from last year, and upped the larger heirlooms by 50%.

2018 Week 13, Winter CSA Pickup 9 of 13

What a week ahead! In the field I am set to direct seed beets (with Chioggia by request, and a few other new varieties), radishes, turnips, and more peas and fava/horse/windsor beans, plus potato "seed" by hand. Next up I'll transplant the onions, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, and hardy annual flowers. In the greenhouse I seed our first cucumbers (10 varieties to trial for yield and disease resistance) squash (2x2017's quantity, and 'lemon squash' is back after not having grown it since 2013), corn, eggplant (2x2017), sweet peppers (2x2017), hot peppers (2x2017), husk cherries (so many new types to try this year in search of the Indian 'gooseberry'), celery & celeriac, the basils (with a holy/tulsi/grapao trial in search of the kind the Monsoon Siam restaurant prefers), the summer annual flowers (13 varieties against last year's 3), and some of the fancy herbs like lemongrass and ashwagandha.

EarthTools in Owenton, Kentucky, my walking tractor dealer, repaired -- that is, took apart and rebuilt with a few new pieces -- the engine and miscellaneous handlebar issues for half the cost of shipping. A big sigh of relief and 'Thank you!' to Joel, David, Dennis and the whole crew over there. I am excited to have it back and better than ever. Monday morning will be a long walk behind it clearing all the beds for the above seeds and transplants, plus a brand-new field opening up-top for flowers and herbs.

Funny how the heart works. For the last month I have sometimes felt autumn out there in the fields, even though we were this side of the solstice. But now, whether it is the juiciness of the new green, or the way my day is beginning to end before the sunset, or the actual passing of the equinox, all I feel is spring. And, now, having just my second in Virginia, it feels more like home to have the snowmelt signifying that fact. So, here's to Spring, and that great farmer feeling best known as "joy."

I have been watching the $ out : $ in this winter, and it looks like you all are not quite taking the full $100 you are paying for the month, though it's close. By the end of the season, I will make sure that balances out, most likely by making the 13th week free, and also, if the gods allow, by having a good strawberry harvest! The same will be true for the Summer CSA. If the average $ out/share/wk isn't up to $20, the CSA can go the little bit longer it would take to make sure you're getting more than you paid for. That said, we start a new four-week block this week.

I know I am running on, but note that I have been working on making the Winter CSA better for next year: 20 varieties of beans with appropriate help on how to use them; 24 beds of spinach so that we can all turn green!; a few new tea herbs like nettles, milky oats, and Kentucky Colonel mint; as time goes on and our pasture dirt turns to garden soil, some better looking root crops; and, eventually, some corn for polenta and grits. If we were to sell beyond 30 winter shares, I would also have the farmstand open every Wednesday, with the recommendation that one come every-other week, but have the alternate week as a fall-back. If you have any more suggestions, please let me know!

My best,
& see you on the farm,
Austin

Veggies
Dry Beans
   - Carolina Crowder
   - Kenearly Yellow Eye
   - Kebarika
   - Midnight Black Turtle
   - Quincy Pinto
Popcorn - Cherokee Long
Winter Squash
  - Long Island Cheese
  - Seminole

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Kohlrabi
Onion
Parsnip
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potato
Radish, Winter
Rutabaga
Turnip, Winter

Medicinal Roots
Ashwagandha
Burdock / Gobo

Culinary Herbs
Cilantro
Garlic
Hot Pepper

Tea Herbs
Anise Hyssop
Basil, Italian
Catmint
Chocolate Mint
Lemon Balm
Lemongrass
Peppermint
Shiso
Spearmint
Sunset Hyssop
Thai Sweet Basil / Horapa
Tulsi / Holy Basil

 Thinning the first lettuce transplants. Seeds never cease to amaze me; their roots, to wit.

Thinning the first lettuce transplants. Seeds never cease to amaze me; their roots, to wit.

 One of you asked how the parsnips were so long in this clay. I broadfork all the root beds -- carrots, parsnips, burdock, sweet potato, etc. It takes up to an hour a bed, so doing it for all 250 beds would be a bit much. But doing it for just the roots is a great way to spend a morning. Our soil is still too chunky, so I had to wait for the tractor to return before I could seed these to carrots.

One of you asked how the parsnips were so long in this clay. I broadfork all the root beds -- carrots, parsnips, burdock, sweet potato, etc. It takes up to an hour a bed, so doing it for all 250 beds would be a bit much. But doing it for just the roots is a great way to spend a morning. Our soil is still too chunky, so I had to wait for the tractor to return before I could seed these to carrots.

 Before the snow fell, and while the tractor was away, I prepped some beds, then planted the milky oats, a first bed of spring spinach, and the early umbeliferous herbs -- dill, cilantro, parsley, and cutting celery. The cilantro, "pokey Joe," is a chef taste-test winner I am excited to have on the farm this year. Also note, to the right, the garlic as it comes in.

Before the snow fell, and while the tractor was away, I prepped some beds, then planted the milky oats, a first bed of spring spinach, and the early umbeliferous herbs -- dill, cilantro, parsley, and cutting celery. The cilantro, "pokey Joe," is a chef taste-test winner I am excited to have on the farm this year. Also note, to the right, the garlic as it comes in.

 I have been enjoying beans and rice lately, as well as the sweet potatoes cut into thick wedges and baked for 45m at 350F. If you feel inspired to inspire a fellow member with your favorite winter dish, let me know and I will pass it on. Oh, and soba noodles cooked in sesame oil, too, with raw, diced carrots, radish, and onion on the side to add as one pleases.

I have been enjoying beans and rice lately, as well as the sweet potatoes cut into thick wedges and baked for 45m at 350F. If you feel inspired to inspire a fellow member with your favorite winter dish, let me know and I will pass it on. Oh, and soba noodles cooked in sesame oil, too, with raw, diced carrots, radish, and onion on the side to add as one pleases.

Tomatoes

 Strawberries under cover. I almost removed their blanket a week ago, but we had three 20F mornings in a row, so we'll wait a little longer. Assuming all goes well, I would expect the earliest to fruit around May 1st.

Strawberries under cover. I almost removed their blanket a week ago, but we had three 20F mornings in a row, so we'll wait a little longer. Assuming all goes well, I would expect the earliest to fruit around May 1st.

2018 Week 11, Winter CSA Pickup 8 of 13

Here's a big, "Hip, Hip," to seeding the year's first tomatoes. Per Craig LeHoullier's newish book, Epic Tomatoes, rather than 20-row trough trays -- which give 20 varieties per tray -- this year each variety went en masse into their own cell in a 50-cell tray. With 50 varieties -- 25 Cherries, 25 Earlies -- it gives just one tray to cover and keep warm while we watch for germination. It also, we hope, means a clean and ordered movement into the field over the next month, because when I or you bite into a most amazing tomato, let's make sure we know which one it is! Regarding time: 1 week to germination + 5 weeks to transplant + 10 weeks to earliest maturation in summer + a few weeks for slower spring growth = 16+ weeks = 4+ months = an early-to-mid-July harvest, if all goes well.

The sunroot (Jerusalem artichoke) grew a little taller than I expected, at 15 feet, so I am moving them out of the orchard. I dug several hundred pounds over a couple afternoons last week. They have had the winter to convert their inulin to a more digestible starch, and are currently at their best. I like to think of them like water chestnuts -- crunchy, but otherwise un-flavored -- and so use them accordingly. Cooking too much makes them soft, but is otherwise a fine way to prepare them, too. Do have a go.

Some farm/farmer notes: We are just a couple weeks from spring, and so have had the winter to watch how the cover crops faired in their different roles. For all this past talk of tomatoes, cover crops are my favorite to grow. Some pictures to follow, but a few upshots:

  • Rot A, Clean. With a new scheme, rotation A has more relay cropping -- one crop out, the next crop in -- and so can't take any cover. This does, however, make a relatively easy movement into Rot B.
  • Rot B, Staple beans. I removed 'the goonies' -- the funny rotation of staples below the old 35-bed fields of annuals -- and made a simpler 5 x 45-bed rotation scheme. Moving things around, this means 4 fields of veggies and a new field / staple rotation of beans, corn, and possibly oats -- principally for garlic and strawberry straw. This rotation was previously a traditional bare-ground start, and will still be, but will add the zone two-row's red clover early in the growth of the corn and beans. Due to the nature of the crops that follow the next year -- big seeds or transplants -- a late fall flail mowing should be all we need in preparation. If we were were tractor-less, a scythe and rake would also do, and I can experiment with both that and the timing, just in-case a late-fall cutting of clover reduces its winter hardiness.
  • Rot C, Zone two-row. The zone two-row worked better than expected, with the middle red clover naturally making it through, and the edges of berseem clover and spring barley growing well in the fall, but dying over the winter, as hoped. I did scythe the barley in fall for fear of mature seed. I will also need to find a better way to keep the red clover in its zone, as wheel hoeing through their impressive taproots would be nice to design out of the equation in coming springs.
  • Rot D, overwintering in-situ mulch. The zone 7 winter-hardy trials -- Lana / woollypod vetch and winter barley -- did not make it past the -5F low on the farm (and perhaps some of the 0F nights). We will go with the more standard cereal rye & vetch components next year, but likely keep the crimson clover and possibly Austrian winter pea additions. We also need to seed a little later in the year, or otherwise irrigate to assure a quality stand.
  • Rot E, last summer in-situ mulch. Last year's soybean & German/foxtail millet did not degrade all that much over the winter, but some perennials and cool-season annuals were starting to make their way through, with much wild garlic/onion in some places. The mulch rakes out easily, and wheel-hoes thereafter, but likely does not make a fine-enough seedbed for small seeds -- early carrots, radishes, spinach, etc.. It either needs tillage, less clay, more soil friability, or possibly less soil moisture at time of wheel-hoeing to keep from essentially making accordions of a weak sod. In the future I will be using Japanese (rather than German) millet for an earlier seeding -- 12 weeks after last frost is the new earliest transplanting date in this rotation, with 10-11 weeks of soybean&millet growth to mechanical killing -- and, in the quest for less tractor time, see about wheel hoeing well in advance of seeding the smaller seeds.

    Also due to the increase in rotation size, I have added 16 beds of winter spinach to the end of this patch. The experiment next year will be tunnel-less but otherwise covered -- and uncovered -- spinach for the winter.

See you on the farm,
Austin

PS: I will be grabbing some spinach this Tuesday. See the above note for the implicit apology for this year's trial spinach.

Greens
Spinach, to some extent

Veggies
Dry Beans
   - Carolina Crowder
   - Kenearly Yellow Eye
   - Kebarika
   - Midnight Black Turtle
   - Quincy Pinto
Popcorn - Cherokee Long
Winter Squash
  - Long Island Cheese
  - Seminole

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Kohlrabi
Onion
Parsnip
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potato
Radish, Winter
Rutabaga
Turnip, Winter

Medicinal Roots
Ashwagandha
Burdock / Gobo

Culinary Herbs
Cilantro
Garlic
Hot Pepper

Tea Herbs
Anise Hyssop
Basil, Italian
Catmint
Chocolate Mint
Lemon Balm
Lemongrass
Peppermint
Shiso
Spearmint
Sunset Hyssop
Thai Sweet Basil / Horapa
Tulsi / Holy Basil

 Overwintering In-Situ Mulch test #1: Wollypod Vetch, Winter Barley, and Crimson Clover. A cold Zone 7 winter, so only the clover made it through, as the muck of old vetch shows. Good to know.

Overwintering In-Situ Mulch test #1: Wollypod Vetch, Winter Barley, and Crimson Clover. A cold Zone 7 winter, so only the clover made it through, as the muck of old vetch shows. Good to know.

 Overwintering In-Situ Mulch test #2: Hairy Vetch, Cereal Rye, Crimson Clover. Not the best photo, but all made it through, as one would expect. Although this patch is thin, the rest of the field looks better, and will form a roll- or scythe-down mulch come summer.

Overwintering In-Situ Mulch test #2: Hairy Vetch, Cereal Rye, Crimson Clover. Not the best photo, but all made it through, as one would expect. Although this patch is thin, the rest of the field looks better, and will form a roll- or scythe-down mulch come summer.

Rotation for easier viewing.

 The end-of-the-day meandering is always pretty, but now it's getting brighter.

The end-of-the-day meandering is always pretty, but now it's getting brighter.

Compression Spring

 I do believe we've seen this before. Garlic popping through the straw, and a greenhouse starting to fill with seedlings.

I do believe we've seen this before. Garlic popping through the straw, and a greenhouse starting to fill with seedlings.

2018 Week 9, Winter CSA Pickup 7 of 13

Hi all. This Wednesday marks the start of another four-week bunch. I am very eagerly watching the greens re-growth, and expect some lettuce shortly. Hip hip.

It has been so nice these last two weeks to get a bit of work done out in the fields. I mowed and weeded all of the raspberries for this coming fall, harvested another bed of carrots -- an emergency late fall planting that's somewhat tiny -- and moved the rhubarb. "Moving the rhubarb," it turns out, is something like a 25-hour job. It sure is nice to so poorly estimate a task at this time of year, rather than in a month when things start getting hectic.

The rhubarb got a new home because I changed my orchard plans to allow for better scythe-flow. They are now in-line with the orchard trees -- mid-way between the fruit-trees and the future nut-trees -- and part of a companion mix that might reduce disease, attract beneficial insects, balance root space, and correct a carbon dioxide imbalance that a grass sod would create. Comfrey, chives, mint, perennial flowers, some nitrogen-fixing legumes like white clover, some tap rooted 'weeds' like plantain and dandelion, and a small balance of clumping grasses get seeded next.

I also got some good-bad news from the small-engine mechanic. The good news is that my tractor won't start because a $1.50 compression spring snapped. The bad news is that he got the spring, and it looks like it will be cheaper to buy a new engine -- two CSA shares in value, ugh -- than get it back in place. So, while we sort this out, I will be prep'ing the beds by hand. Although the tractor being down is a definite bummer, the prospect of manual bed prep excites me ... actually. Much of the farm-design works toward a low horsepower agriculture, and this finally makes me walk the "well, in theory, one day, it would just require a wheel hoe"-talk.

I was at a pruning workshop over the weekend, and was all too easily convinced that proper orchard floor management can make a peach tree possible in Virginia -- which, heretofore, was an 'organic' impossibility. So, in the spirit of confirmation-bias, I am pencilling-in some peaches. There is a spot at the bottom of the farm I call the 'gravity point,' and it would love a ring of peaches. I won't guarantee them 6 years-out, but right now I'm rather looking forward to them.

In a total non-non-sequitur regarding the tractor and more trees: As always, if you know of any prospective Summer members, send them my way, and I'll send money yours. The farm breaks even at 25 shares, and we are up to 5 paid at this point, which, if my calculations are right, means we still have room. ;)

I forgot to show everyone the tomato book last week. If you missed it, we now have a book of the photos and stories behind the 97 varieties of tomatoes planned for this summer. Fun.

Be so well,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Veggies
Dry Beans
   - Carolina Crowder
   - Kenearly Yellow Eye
   - Kebarika
   - Midnight Black Turtle
   - Quincy Pinto
Leeks
Popcorn - Cherokee Long
Winter Squash
  - Long Island Cheese
  - Seminole

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Kohlrabi
Onion
Parsnip
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potato
Radish, Winter
Rutabaga
Turnip, Winter

Medicinal Roots
Ashwagandha
Burdock / Gobo

Culinary Herbs
Cilantro
Garlic
Hot Pepper

Tea Herbs
Anise Hyssop
Basil, Italian
Catmint
Chocolate Mint
Lemon Balm
Lemongrass
Peppermint
Shiso
Spearmint
Sunset Hyssop
Thai Sweet Basil / Horapa
Tulsi / Holy Basil

 The rhubarb started to wake-up, so I got busy moving it.

The rhubarb started to wake-up, so I got busy moving it.

 I couldn't get them all in the shot. About 15 vultures enjoying the new spring thermals. I also saw 100+ geese vee-ing north that same afternoon. Remembering an old Henry Bugbee quote, I watched them pass by, then just before they left, hurried as fast as I could to count one side of their formation, and then double for a total. Even after farming in Maryland on a tributary of the Chesapeake, I've never seen so many.  “Friday, October 30, 1953 … A flock of wild geese passed over our house – geese such as I have often attended to most cleanly before – and I rushed to the window all-eagerness for them, but with a slightly spoiling expectation. I counted them all before they disappeared in the stormclouds downwind – there were forty-five. On telling of them and their number I met with a true question:  If you counted them, how could you have seen them?  ”  &nbsp;&nbsp; --Bugbee, Henry. “The Inward Morning: A Philosophical Exploration in Journal Form.” (1958).

I couldn't get them all in the shot. About 15 vultures enjoying the new spring thermals. I also saw 100+ geese vee-ing north that same afternoon. Remembering an old Henry Bugbee quote, I watched them pass by, then just before they left, hurried as fast as I could to count one side of their formation, and then double for a total. Even after farming in Maryland on a tributary of the Chesapeake, I've never seen so many.

“Friday, October 30, 1953 … A flock of wild geese passed over our house – geese such as I have often attended to most cleanly before – and I rushed to the window all-eagerness for them, but with a slightly spoiling expectation. I counted them all before they disappeared in the stormclouds downwind – there were forty-five. On telling of them and their number I met with a true question: If you counted them, how could you have seen them?
   --Bugbee, Henry. “The Inward Morning: A Philosophical Exploration in Journal Form.” (1958).

Miracles

 The Onions pop from their soil blocks.

The Onions pop from their soil blocks.

2018 Week 7, Winter CSA Pickup 6 of 13

The upside to nothing in farming ever being a foregone conclusion -- that the seeds come up, or the rains come down, or the tomatoes mature, or the farmers' market fills with veggie-lovers -- the upside, is that everything's a miracle. And so it is with our first beets and onions. We put them in the soil-blocks, we water them, we heat them, we protect them from critters -- and, of course, we cross our fingers, and our toes, and our eyes. We do this, spring after spring, and when they come up ... every time, we marvel. As though this weren't a 10,000 year-old profession, and weren't also ours to boot. But, yes, the onions and beets are up, and the farm, as all do, continues to move from fist pump to jig to fist pump, and back again.

We have had 4.5 inches of rain so far this month, with more coming in the forecast. It may or may not delay an early March planting of spinach and carrots -- which, themselves, may or may not be delayed by the weather that follows. More importantly, though, the pathway to the greenhouse is currently soggy. I will be rolling out some tarps, but do know that I have a gravel path (and cottage garden) entry all ready and planned. I hope to have the money for the gravel by June, or earlier if CSA sales go well. Please hold tight until then, and thank you!

See you on the farm,
Austin

Veggies
Dry Beans
   - Carolina Crowder
   - Kenearly Yellow Eye
   - Kebarika
   - Midnight Black Turtle
   - Quincy Pinto
Leeks
Popcorn - Cherokee Long
Winter Squash
  - Long Island Cheese
  - Seminole

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Kohlrabi
Onion
Parsnip
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potato
Radish, Winter
Rutabaga
Turnip, Winter

Medicinal Roots
Ashwagandha
Burdock / Gobo

Culinary Herbs
Cilantro
Garlic
Hot Pepper

Tea Herbs
Anise Hyssop
Basil, Italian
Catmint
Chocolate Mint
Lemon Balm
Lemongrass
Peppermint
Shiso
Spearmint
Sunset Hyssop
Thai Sweet Basil / Horapa
Tulsi / Holy Basil

 A new critter cage / seedling house for the spring. We lost onions, tomatoes, flowers, squash, watermelons, and many flowers last year to critters ... which was no fun. So, here's to fun! It does equally well in spring and summer -- twin-wall polycarbonate on the sides for insulation and light, and any top insulation for spring, with a breathable top for summer. Hip hip.

A new critter cage / seedling house for the spring. We lost onions, tomatoes, flowers, squash, watermelons, and many flowers last year to critters ... which was no fun. So, here's to fun! It does equally well in spring and summer -- twin-wall polycarbonate on the sides for insulation and light, and any top insulation for spring, with a breathable top for summer. Hip hip.

 This is how we start. Remember when it was sunny, all that last week ago? I don't. :)

This is how we start. Remember when it was sunny, all that last week ago? I don't. :)

Rainfall

 Les fleurs d'hiver ...

Les fleurs d'hiver ...

2018 Week 5, Winter CSA Pickup 5 of 13

Happy Groundhog day, all. Even if Bill Murray hadn't commemorated this mid-way through the journey, from the solstice to the equinox, with so fine a look at 'seeing' -- it is a movie about waking-up, isn't it? -- we'd be doing it here on the farm. Groundhog day marks the start of our farm year; we liven-up the greenhouse with seed flats of onions, beets, and hardy-annual flowers, and then follow it with kale, cabbage, broccoli, and kohlrabi a few weeks later.

A tray of onion seedlings, just popping from the soil, or still struggling to break free, might not be much to the un-farmed heart, but that green has iridescence, and we can taste it. It tastes like the entire expansiveness of our human life, we farmers might mutter. We would mutter, because who else could glance at a seed and know a truth like that? But we would accept the unbelieving, because everyone must have their own secret that stays secret, even though it has been said.

Aside from getting our soil-mix and cover crop seeds, planning the future farm, and weeding the asparagus for a new experimental seeding of subterranean / sub-clover as a kind of living/not-living mulch, I have spent most of my time updating the new crop and variety labels. As part of that work, I collected the histories and photos of the approximately one hundred tomato varieties planned for the coming year, and will have those in a book for you all this summer. When I bite into a lunchtime tomato-basil sandwich, I know the story behind the seed. Now you can, too.

See you on the farm,
Austin

 

Veggies
Dry Beans
   - Carolina Crowder
   - Kenearly Yellow Eye
   - Kebarika
   - Midnight Black Turtle
   - Quincy Pinto
Leeks
Popcorn - Cherokee Long
Winter Squash
  - Long Island Cheese
  - Seminole

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Kohlrabi
Onion
Parsnip
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potato
Radish, Winter
Rutabaga
Turnip, Winter

Medicinal Roots
Ashwagandha
Burdock / Gobo

Culinary Herbs
Cilantro
Garlic
Hot Pepper

Tea Herbs
Anise Hyssop
Basil, Italian
Catmint
Chocolate Mint
Lemon Balm
Lemongrass
Peppermint
Shiso
Spearmint
Sunset Hyssop
Thai Sweet Basil / Horapa
Tulsi / Holy Basil

 Grey, rainy days are some of my favorite.

Grey, rainy days are some of my favorite.

Hibernacula

 Round three of the seeds comes in. Our seed bins are overflowing, and it feels good: there's so much promise! / The difficulty of farming must, I now observe, self-select the short-of-memory or the native optimist. Because I'm so excited for next year, and it's going to be great! :)

Round three of the seeds comes in. Our seed bins are overflowing, and it feels good: there's so much promise! / The difficulty of farming must, I now observe, self-select the short-of-memory or the native optimist. Because I'm so excited for next year, and it's going to be great! :)

2018 Week 3, Winter CSA Pickup 4 of 13

Good morning all,

There has been some proper winter weather on the farm -- -4F low the other week, 2F this morning at waking, 10F as I type. Chilly, but not quite the -28F that settled onto my old New Hampshire farm; though reminiscent of my first winter there, when 'the polar vortex' was in the news, and all the farmers' winter greens turned to mush. On this farm, despite the collards turning floppy, and some covered lettuces getting frost burnt, this cold is a really good thing. We now know which crops and varieties to jettison in this system, which to keep, and which to look to for next year. That said, it won't be until Tuesday afternoon that I can see how the lettuce did in this new round of near-zero weather. Also, let's hope the cold is enough to decrease the pest populations.

Elsewhere on the farm, I have been in the office finishing-up my taxes for the year, updating the website, working on plans for our entryway (think wild flowers and an actual path), pondering marketing options, iterating the cover crop plan, and staking out the next three months of work. Fun!

On the marketing front, I've add a "Free Share Raffle." I suppose a $20 raffle ticket isn't free, but the share that follows is. Everyone who joins the CSA (and those who already did for this coming summer) are automatically enrolled. Once we have enough $20s to make a share, I pull a name from the hat and someone gets their share for free. If you know of anyone who might be interested, pass on the word: our homepage is atelier.farm, our CSA info. page is atelier.farm/csa, and our raffle is atelier.farm/sign-up/raffle. Ask questions if you have them.

On the recipe front, if you haven't tried the burdock yet -- a supposed heavy-metal and liver detoxifier -- I made a nice broth the other day that you might like. Take a burdock root, a carrot, and a radish, slice them into rounds, and drop into a non-metallic pot with 2-4 cups of water. I heated the mix in a slow-cooker on low for the day -- about 6 hours, but 4 would probably do. It all just tastes like a nice warm broth.

Also, beet kvass. It's super simple: 1) cut beets into a jar, 2) add water, 3) sprinkle in a little salt, 4) screw on the lid. I used a wide-mouth ball jar and have a breathing lid for fermenting pickles, but a loose seal would probably work absent that. Wait a few days, give it a go.

See you on the farm,
Austin

PS: Unless otherwise requested, the Summer CSA will be Wednesdays, 3-6pm. Let me know your preferred days and times with this super easy calendar thing. :)
 

Expected Harvest

Greens
Lettuce, perhaps

Veggies
Dry Beans
   - Carolina Crowder
   - Kenearly Yellow Eye
   - Kebarika
   - Midnight Black Turtle
   - Quincy Pinto
Leeks
Popcorn - Cherokee Long
Winter Squash
  - Long Island Cheese
  - Nantucket Long Pie
  - Butternut
  - Seminole

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Kohlrabi
Onion
Parsnip
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potato
Radish, Winter
Rutabaga
Turnip, Winter

Medicinal Roots
Ashwagandha
Burdock / Gobo

Culinary Herbs
Cilantro
Garlic
Hot Pepper

Tea Herbs
Anise Hyssop
Basil, Italian
Catmint
Chocolate Mint
Lemon Balm
Lemongrass
Peppermint
Shiso
Spearmint
Sunset Hyssop
Thai Sweet Basil / Horapa
Tulsi / Holy Basil

 Fuzzy photo for a fizzy drink. This is the beet kvass just as the lid goes on -- red and gold beets, you might note. After a few days the beetiness saturates the liquid.

Fuzzy photo for a fizzy drink. This is the beet kvass just as the lid goes on -- red and gold beets, you might note. After a few days the beetiness saturates the liquid.

Full circles

 Atelier is 5 acres in a broader 60. Sunset walks around the larger acreage are very nice for farm-plan dreaming.

Atelier is 5 acres in a broader 60. Sunset walks around the larger acreage are very nice for farm-plan dreaming.

2018 Week 1, Winter CSA Pickup 3 of 13

Happy New Year, everybody,

I hope you are warm, full, and thriving ... and encouraged by a new year. And if not, then all our fingers crossed and arms out and ears open in offering.

We passed the solstice into winter with some very workable weather, and so we managed to mulch all of the orchard trees, which means that the farm looks great right now: all of the blackberries, saskatoon, rose hips, and tree rings are weeded, covered, and ready for spring. Once the coldest weather passes, come late February, I will prune the 20 different kinds of fruit trees, shrubs, and berries we currently have. That is also when the raspberries get their mowing/pruning and weeding. They looked really good last year -- their first months after planting -- and so I am hopeful for them this summer. The same goes for the strawberries, in fact, which are cozy under their cover as you read.

In four more weeks, I scoot the sweet potato bins around and make room on the greenhouse heat mats for fresh seedings of onions, scallions, shallots, broccoli, kale, cabbage, and some hardy annual flowers. Just a few weeks after that, while we're still in winter, the summer tomato seeds come out. Which is to say, to every bin of vegetables at pick-up, there are many months of growing back-story. And, while I suppose the vegetables to you are a full and satisfying meal, for me those months from winter seed to summer dinner come out more like a full and satisfying life. Thank you all for letting me have that.

The Winter CSA continues, $100 for the month of January. If you could come with your check/cash, that would be great. (Or, sign-up online via credit card + its associated fee.) We will again have two Wednesday pick-ups, this January 3rd and the 17th, 3-6pm. Let me know if you will be early or late, and I will adjust. The last Wednesday -- the 31st -- will count as 'February.'

We have some very cold weather forecast for tonight -- with probably 5F on the farm. We will see how the uncovered collards and tatsoi make it through. I am confident with 10F, but am curious about 5F.

Summer CSA 2018: Unless otherwise requested, the CSA will be Wednesdays, 3-6pm. Let me know your preferred days and times with this super easy calendar thing. :)

See you on the farm,
Austin

PS: My sister Courtney drew a really lovely 2018 Lunar Calendar for her Root & Star children's magazine. It's useful for me on the farm, and maybe for you, too.

lunarcalendar2018_540x.jpg

Expected Harvest

Greens
Collards
Lettuce
Spicy Mix
Tatsoi?

Veggies
Dry Beans
   - Carolina Crowder
   - Kenearly Yellow Eye
   - Kebarika
   - Midnight Black Turtle
   - Quincy Pinto
Leeks
Popcorn - Cherokee Long
Winter Squash
  - Long Island Cheese
  - Nantucket Long Pie
  - Butternut
  - Seminole

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Kohlrabi
Onion
Parsnip
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potato
Radish, Winter
Rutabaga
Turnip, Winter

Medicinal Roots
Ashwagandha
Burdock / Gobo

Culinary Herbs
Cilantro
Parsley
Garlic
Hot Pepper

Tea Herbs
Anise Hyssop
Basil, Italian
Catmint
Chocolate Mint
Lemon Balm
Lemongrass
Peppermint
Shiso
Spearmint
Sunset Hyssop
Thai Sweet Basil / Horapa
Tulsi / Holy Basil

 Fruit trees weeded and mulched, raspberries waiting.

Fruit trees weeded and mulched, raspberries waiting.

Good night

 Some of the 15+ watermelons to trial for next year. I've momentarily dropped the more finicky melons to give space to focus on the watermelons. Is this what I get for having no frozen strawberries or raspberries in winter this year? -- a sweet-tooth appeased with watermelon seeds?

Some of the 15+ watermelons to trial for next year. I've momentarily dropped the more finicky melons to give space to focus on the watermelons. Is this what I get for having no frozen strawberries or raspberries in winter this year? -- a sweet-tooth appeased with watermelon seeds?

2017 Week 51, Winter CSA Pickup 2 of 13

Good morning all,

I hope you are enjoying these great long nights, as I am. Popcorn and a movie? Warm tea and a slow morning? These short days have been great for doing what is hard to do long -- rolling out 10,000 pounds of lime and gypsum for the fields by hand, so far, 4 hours at a time -- bookended by farm planning/dreaming. Curious after a marathon seed ordering session, I checked the numbers for farm plan 2017: 140 crops and 492 varieties across flowers (63 crops / 73 varieties), fruit (18/69), herbs (11/20), and vegetables (48/330). Tomatoes, at ninety-five varieties, constitute a large portion of the veggies. The future is less varieties -- why grow nine kinds of cucumbers? -- but for now we are seeing what works on this farm. If I sell enough shares, more perennial fruit and nuts could hop on top of that list. To that end, with the help of our farm's paternal benefactor, in the form of a loan, I ordered all of next year's seeds! It feels very good to have them here or in the mail, and to move on to the next big item on the list.

I can't wait to see you all this week. Please do let me know how the greens:veggies ratio worked-out. And I noted in the numbers that no one took any of the non-butternut winter squash. The remainder, in my opinion, are by far the better tasting varieties. I made some yummy seminole squash - sweet potato biscuits and pasta sauce. Do try!

See you on the farm,
Austin

PS: You get 10% cash back from every share that you successfully refer into the Summer CSA. :)

PS2: JD passed on her Burdock / Gobo  recipe for all you to have.

Kinpira Gobo (Braised Carrot & Burdock Root)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: Serves 3-4 as side dish

Ingredients:

  •     1 burdock root
  •     1/3 carrot
  •     1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  •     1 Tbsp. roasted white sesame seeds
  •     Ichimitogarashi (optional)
  •     Ito Togarashi (Red chili pepper threads) (garnish)

Seasonings

  •     3/4 cup dashi stock
  •     2 Tbsp. sake
  •     1 Tbsp. sugar
  •     1 Tbsp. mirin
  •     1 ½ Tbsp. soy sauce

Instructions:

    Peel gobo’s skin with peeler or traditionally we scrape (peel) the skin off with the back of kitchen knife. Then diagonally slice thinly so that each piece is about 2 inch length. Then collect some of the slices and cut into thin matchbox strips. Soak the gobo in water or vinegar water (just one drop of vinegar would do). Change water a couple of times until the water becomes clean. Then leave the gobo in water until you are ready to stir fry.

    Cut carrots into matchbox strips.

    In a frying pan, heat oil over medium high and stir fry gobo first. Then add carrot next after you cook gobo for a few minutes.

    Add Seasonings and cook until most of liquid evaporates.

    When the liquid is almost gone, add sesame oil and sprinkle sesame seeds and ichimitogarashi. 

Expected Harvest

Greens
Kale
Lettuce
Spicy Mix
Spinach?
Tatsoi

Veggies
Dry Beans
   - Carolina Crowder
   - Kenearly Yellow Eye
   - Kebarika
   - Midnight Black Turtle
   - Quincy Pinto
Leeks
Popcorn - Cherokee Long
Winter Squash
  - Long Island Cheese
  - Nantucket Long Pie
  - Butternut
  - Seminole

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Kohlrabi
Onion
Parsnip
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potato
Radish, Winter
Rutabaga
Turnip, Winter

Medicinal Roots
Ashwagandha
Burdock / Gobo

Culinary Herbs
Chives
Cilantro
Parsley
Garlic
Hot Pepper
Lemongrass

Tea Herbs
Anise Hyssop
Basil, Italian
Catmint
Chocolate Mint
Lemon Balm
Lemongrass
Peppermint
Shiso
Spearmint
Sunset Hyssop
Thai Sweet Basil / Horapa
Tulsi / Holy Basil

 Some nice solstice oak.

Some nice solstice oak.

 Garlic tucked-in for the winter, straw spread on with workshare James.

Garlic tucked-in for the winter, straw spread on with workshare James.

 Strawberries tucked-in for the winter, with help from workshare James and his commandant, JD.

Strawberries tucked-in for the winter, with help from workshare James and his commandant, JD.

We happy few

 Some farm friend in the lower field. The fence has kept out the deer, but rabbits, fox, groundhogs, and possum have so far left their trace.

Some farm friend in the lower field. The fence has kept out the deer, but rabbits, fox, groundhogs, and possum have so far left their trace.

2017 Week 49, Winter CSA Pickup 1 of 13

Hello Winter CSA'ers. We are a small but merry bunch. Welcome to Winter! Hip hip!

Pick-ups are every other Wednesday on the farm, 3-6pm -- though we can adjust hours if slightly earlier or later suit any of you, and we can talk make-up days. Although the Winter goes as long as you like, depending upon availability -- it's the first year here -- and your preferences, here is the schedule should it actually go the distance:

  1. 12/06/17
  2. 12/20/17
  3. 01/03/18
  4. 01/17/18
  5. 01/31/18
  6. 02/14/18
  7. 02/28/18
  8. 03/14/18
  9. 03/28/18
  10. 04/11/18
  11. 04/25/18
  12. 05/09/18
  13. 05/23/18

Vegetable field work is hours away from being done for the year, which means a nice transition into soil nutrition -- lime and gyspum to spread -- and orchard care -- fruit trees to weed, mulch, and prune; blackberries to trellis; raspberries to mow and weed; and perennial herb and flower beds to clean and peruse for a possible spring reseeding. Also, as many seeds to order as the pennies permit.

Last week during pick-up, I walked the farm with an eye to the future, and spent the last few days running all the necessary numbers. The current finalization is an orchard expansion upward into the annuals -- blueberries, kiwiberries, muscadine grape hybrids, justaberries, seaberries -- with pomegranates and hazelnuts interlacing what is already there. PLUS, movement of the annual herbs and flower, and strawberries, to the top by the greenhouse, and the whole mid-rotation into grains: wheat, corn, staple beans, and possibly barley. The orchard fruit trees especially take money, so if you know of anyone who may be interested in joining next Summer, their dollars would make it happen a year or two sooner rather than later. And you get hundreds of dollars back for signing them up! :) Win-Win-Win.

Happy Winter everyone,
Ask questions if you have them,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Kale
Lettuce
Spicy Mix
Tatsoi
Tokyo Bekana

Veggies
Dry Beans
   - Carolina Crowder
   - Kenearly Yellow Eye
   - Kebarika
   - Midnight Black Turtle
   - Quincy Pinto
Leeks
Popcorn - Cherokee Long
Winter Squash
  - Long Island Cheese
  - Nantucket Long Pie
  - Butternut
  - Seminole

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Celeriac
Kohlrabi
Onion
Parsnip
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potato
Radish, Winter
Rutabaga
Turnip, Winter

Medicinal Roots
Ashwagandha
Burdock / Gobo

Culinary Herbs
Chives
Cilantro
Parsley
Garlic
Ginger
Hot Pepper
Lemongrass
Turmeric

Tea Herbs
Anise Hyssop
Basil, Italian
Catmint
Chocolate Mint
Lemon Balm
Lemongrass
Peppermint
Shiso
Spearmint
Sunset Hyssop
Thai Sweet Basil / Horapa
Tulsi / Holy Basil

 An ugly shot, but these are two quick hoops up for the winter. Some 15-inch ground posts plus 10-foot EMT bent to size, means a crawl-able tunnel for winter greens. When the farm is fully up and running, we'll have 5 hoops for the winter -- in the grain rotation and following a spring/summer fertility cover crop. Some of the advantages to these small movable hoops are: reduced cost, soil health in rotation, natural rain water and leaching as opposed to salt-buildup from well water, rotation-based fertility, disease reduction in rotation, and relatively easy future expansion.

An ugly shot, but these are two quick hoops up for the winter. Some 15-inch ground posts plus 10-foot EMT bent to size, means a crawl-able tunnel for winter greens. When the farm is fully up and running, we'll have 5 hoops for the winter -- in the grain rotation and following a spring/summer fertility cover crop. Some of the advantages to these small movable hoops are: reduced cost, soil health in rotation, natural rain water and leaching as opposed to salt-buildup from well water, rotation-based fertility, disease reduction in rotation, and relatively easy future expansion.

Warm Tea

 My sister snapped a photo as she stopped by to find me packaging the dried herbs for winter tea.

My sister snapped a photo as she stopped by to find me packaging the dried herbs for winter tea.

2017 Week 48, Summer CSA Week 26 of 26

This is the last week of the Summer CSA, so let's do first things first: Thank you! Thank you all so much for being a part of the farm in its very first season. A first year in any spot, but especially one un-farmed, is a bit like pin-the-tail-on-the donkey, with much blindness and guessing. And so I very, very much appreciate your patience and kindness all summer for what to me has been uncharacteristically hit-and-miss production. To you I extend a long bow in gratitude.

Beyond that kind of thankfulness, though, is a simpler one. I am very happy and thankful for having met you all, and for having had the chance to grow for you. Thank you!

I harvested the winter carrots, radishes, turnips, beets, and rutabaga last week, and will gather the parsnips and burdock today. The sun rises and sets with the farm now, and I got to watch it as I topped the last carrots at dusk, then wished for a headlamp as I walked the row to gather them. I had this feeling as the sun sank down and the gloaming came on, and I sat on a bucket with carrots in my lap, that I was being remade. So let us add fall twilight to that list with the rain, of rebirths and remakings we did not know we needed, but are given all the same. I do not think it is a coincidence, that of the twilight and the rain, both are a kind of letting go.

See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Tatsoi
Kale
... and more?

Veggies
Leek
Popcorn
Winter Squash
  - Long Island Cheese*
  - Nantucket Long Pie
  - Butternut
  - Seminole

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Kohlrabi
Onion
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potato
Turnip, Winter

Herbs
Cilantro
Garlic
Ginger
Lemongrass
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric

 I bottled 100+ jars of dried herbs for winter tea, which is more than we need, and less than we had, but a good time all the same.

I bottled 100+ jars of dried herbs for winter tea, which is more than we need, and less than we had, but a good time all the same.

A Thanksgiving

 Tatsoi flattens-out in the cold.

Tatsoi flattens-out in the cold.

2017 Week 47, Summer CSA Week 25 of 26

The garlic is in! I broadforked 8 beds, amended with lime and gypsum, and planted three varieties for next yar -- Shvelsi (a beautiful purple-stripe), Music, and Silverwhite. I will cover with straw once this crazy wind calms down, which has been a happily steady 10-15 mph gust all morning.

I also ordered the tomato seeds this morning. We had about 45 varieties this year, but will up it to 100 next year in an expedited search for what grows well on this farm. Part of the increase is a new early maturing generation to start the season, and an abundance of red slicing types, as none that I tried this year were especially successful. I'll have the labels in the field for watching their health, but anyone interested in a field-walk tomato taste-off next summer should let me know. Aside from the one exception -- Sungold, the super sweet orange cherry -- all are heirlooms or otherwise open pollinated types. I will also do a better job presenting the history of each variety, as I expressed that not-well-at-all this year.

Note that the ginger and turmeric will only last in the fridge so long, but both freeze well. Please take some while it's still fresh!

For the last month I had a "snackluck and field walk" comment on the board, but somehow forgot to talk with you all about it. If you are interested in a farm tour some coming Sunday at 2pm, let me know at pick-up!

Happy Thanksgiving!
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Tatsoi*
Kale
... and more?

Veggies
Broccoli
Leek
Popcorn
Winter Squash*
  - Nantucket Long Pie
  - Butternut
  - Seminole

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Kohlrabi
Onion
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potato
Turnip, Winter

Herbs
Cilantro
Garlic
Ginger
Lemongrass
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric

 Starting to broadfork the garlic beds, which is a hopeful antidote to the drowning this spring.

Starting to broadfork the garlic beds, which is a hopeful antidote to the drowning this spring.

 Shiso dried down. Although it's the first year, there is still a fair quantity of herbs for winter. So, hip hip.

Shiso dried down. Although it's the first year, there is still a fair quantity of herbs for winter. So, hip hip.

 Washing the turmeric and ginger.

Washing the turmeric and ginger.

Field walks

 Popcorn stalks laid down.

Popcorn stalks laid down.

Expected Harvest

Greens
Arugula
Bok Choy
Lettuce
Kale
Spicy Mix

Veggies
Broccoli
Leek
Popcorn
Winter Squash

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Fennel, Bulb
Kohlrabi
Onion
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter

Herbs
Cilantro
Garlic
Ginger
Lemongrass
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric

2017 Week 46, Summer CSA Week 24 of 26

Good morning all,

October and November had been so far a bit of a dream, warm and even green, with the grass still growing. But we woke Saturday morning right back where we ought to be, to Jack Frost and his artwork in every corn of the farm. I spent the day prior pulling the last muddy ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, and ashwagandha roots -- all tropical plants -- for ourselves, before winter took them for her own. It occurs to me, and I should let you know, that most of those, particularly the turmeric and ashwagandha, go well decocted into a warm milk.

With the schedule just slightly less frenetic, it has been so, so nice to walk the farm with an observant and dreaming eye, rather than a task-based one. Standing in the orchard, I can feel the trees accumulate their years -- the farm's logo -- which is something of a metaphysical, even emotional, stance against the grass of the vegetable patch above it, which shows not even a trace of all this summer's effort, and all these years never has. See even just the title of Arlo's, "A Farm Dies Once a Year."

And I can see the mulberry trees I have yet to plant or even buy, twenty-five foot sentinels stationed along and outside the fence, food for the birds and wildlife, so that they might-just-maybe have their fill before coming to our own berries. Also, the fence-line they walk draws the distinction between effort -- our farm -- and maybe what we could just call 'breathing,' but you might also call 'wild' -- which is the tall grass in the wind outside of it. It can't just be the farmer who feels so much to walk through unmade land, but certainly that heart feels the difference. And to me it feels like breathing.

So, a deep breath,
a long bow of thanks to you all this first season,
See you on the farm,
Austin

 Leeks, left to decompose after prepping in the field.

Leeks, left to decompose after prepping in the field.

 Rutabaga likes the frost, getting sweeter as the winter proceeds.

Rutabaga likes the frost, getting sweeter as the winter proceeds.

Rounding the Horn

 Autumn sunset crawls up the farm.

Autumn sunset crawls up the farm.

2017 Week 45, Summer CSA Week 23 of 26

Four inches of rain came last week, and we have a drizzly week ahead, so it is too wet to broadfork the garlic beds. That said, the second it isn't, we will have them ready, and the garlic in. New next year will be Shvelsi (aka Chesnok Red), a really beautiful purple-striped hardneck, as well as the Music and Silverwhite we grew this year. I popped the garlic on Saturday -- separated the cloves from the bulb -- in preparation, all-the-while trying to soak this past year in. You may recall that this is the first crop I planted last year for this year's CSA. So, in a way, we are rounding the horn again.

I have 5+ folks from outside the Summer CSA who are interested in signing-up for the Winter CSA, but space is limited. If you are interested in staying-on for winter, you can sign-up online, or just come with a check, and I can sign you up. Let me know soon, either way, so I can let these other folks know, too.

Do note that this Winter will be more provisional than Summer, running 4 weeks at a time ($25/wk  or $100 / 4-week chunk), until we run out of storage crops, or perhaps the winter greens fail. As the summer yields were lower than expected, and my system for growing winter greens is untested here in VA -- and different from what I did in NH and MI -- I would rather not guarantee a whole winter in advance. I hope you understand, but do ask questions if you don't.

On the line-up:

Greens: arugula, spicy mix, lettuce, kale (until it's too cold), and spinach -- with an eye on the health of the spinach.

Roots: beets, carrots, kohlrabi, onions, potatoes, sunroot, sweet potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, turnips -- and some bonus celeriac, which may have hollow heart.

Other:  winter squash, dried beans, popcorn.

Herbs: Fresh cilantro, parsley, scallions; dried: tea herbs from summer, hot pepper, garlic.

As I noted before, the Summer CSA is now for sale! I have corrected the plan so that next year is way better -- more of everything in quantity, duration, size, and health, plus the fall planting of kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, etc. will go in a month earlier, plus the raspberries will be in.

Get 10% back for every dollar you successfully refer into the CSA. Think $100 back for a typical household of 2 adults. Signing-up sooner rather than later helps the farm, as we are still in start-up mode. Also, there are only 25 'shares' available this year, due to the new format. As before, you can pay on the way in summer, after a deposit to get us started and the seeds and plants ordered.

See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Arugula
Lettuce
Kale
Spicy Mix
Tokyo Bekana

Veggies
Broccoli*
Leek
Popcorn*
Winter Squash

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Fennel, Bulb
Kohlrabi
Onion
Potato
Sunroot
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter

Herbs
Cilantro
Garlic
Ginger
Lemongrass
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric

 Asparagus yellowing-out for the fall. For a few years, we can pick a week in spring for each year it has been in the field. In short, we get a week of harvest next year. Hip hip.

Asparagus yellowing-out for the fall. For a few years, we can pick a week in spring for each year it has been in the field. In short, we get a week of harvest next year. Hip hip.

Fall Cleanup

 Turmeric after the frost, coincidentally on 10/26-27, the calculated average first frost for the farm. Reminds me of the frost-burnt tips of the corn from all those moons ago in Spring.

Turmeric after the frost, coincidentally on 10/26-27, the calculated average first frost for the farm. Reminds me of the frost-burnt tips of the corn from all those moons ago in Spring.

2017 Week 44, Summer CSA Week 22 of 26

It is fall clean-up time on the farm, and the work feels great. All of the old beans that I left after harvest to mature as a cover crop, are now mowed into pieces for the fungal life to pull on in. The same is true for everything now past, like the popcorn, the summer squash, or old flowering lettuce. I also mowed the orchard, to give a good look for blackberry, saskatoon, and rose hip weeding, as well as a way in to mulch our small fruit trees. It was a dry summer, but most of the trees look good. I am also perusing the possibility of more fruit -- blueberries, kiwi berries, and grapes -- into the mix, though it will take some shrinking of the 'annuals' portion of the farm.

I will unexpectedly be out of the state this Wednesday for a funeral, but I will have the CSA set-up just before I go, so no worries on your end.

As I noted before, the Summer CSA is now for sale! I have been correcting the plan to make next year way better -- more of everything in quantity, duration, size, and health, plus the fall planting of kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, etc. will go in a month earlier, plus the raspberries will be in. Get $100 off for every share you successfully refer into the CSA*. Signing-up sooner rather than later helps the farm, as we are still in start-up mode. Please ask questions if the new format befuddles, but otherwise think of it as a free-choice buffet.

See you on the farm, next week,
Austin

*I still think of a share as a household of two adults etc. ...

Expected Harvest

Greens
Arugula
Bok Choy
Lettuce
Kale
Spicy Mix

Veggies
Leek
Winter Squash

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Fennel, Bulb
Onion
Potato
Sunroot (Jerusalem Artichoke)
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter

Herbs
Cilantro
Garlic
Ginger
Lemongrass
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric

Frost

 Some 'Khing Yai' Thai ginger. The fancy translation is, get ready: 'big ginger.' 'Bubba Baba Blue' Hawaiian ginger is the other in the field. Enjoy all over the place.

Some 'Khing Yai' Thai ginger. The fancy translation is, get ready: 'big ginger.' 'Bubba Baba Blue' Hawaiian ginger is the other in the field. Enjoy all over the place.

Expected Harvest

Greens
Arugula*
Tokyo Bekana*
Lettuce
Kale
Spicy Mix*

Veggies
Eggplant
Leek
Okra
Pepper, Sweet
Squash, Winter
Tomatoes

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Fennel, Bulb
Onion
Potato
Sunroot (Jerusalem Artichoke)
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter

Herbs
Cilantro
Garlic
Ginger*
Lemongrass
Pepper, Hot
Turmeric*

2017 Week 43, Summer CSA Week 21 of 26

All spring and summer we work to keep our plants alive, but some mornings in the fall we walk out in the fields and hear ourselves wonder, "Why won't you just die?" And we smile at that hearing. Well, we had our first semi-real frost, which killed the last of the basil, the beans, the summer squash, and most of the tomato greenery. The okra, surprisingly, still looks okay. In short, we are just about out of the summer farm, and into the fall one, with its roots and greens for the morning harvest.

The Winter CSA will most likely be a month-to-month affair, as I nail it down here in Virginia. The biggest loss so far are the potatoes, which I had already shifted into the Summer CSA. I am still watching the winter greens, as I know there is much weeding ahead before we are out of the one-inch woods.

The Summer CSA is now for sale. The farm depends upon your early sign-up to buy the seed and seed starting mix in winter that make our vegetables ready in summer. Onions, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and the like all start their life in February so you can have them in July. Get $100 back for every share you successfully refer into the CSA. In theory, you could get paid to be a member, if you're that good at marketing.

Okay, see you on the farm,
Austin

 So denotes the passage of frost. A Summer Squash leaf the morning after.

So denotes the passage of frost. A Summer Squash leaf the morning after.

 Just because I thought it was pretty. A Popcorn tassel before the compost heap.

Just because I thought it was pretty. A Popcorn tassel before the compost heap.

Green

 Arugula comes in.

Arugula comes in.

2017 Week 42, Summer CSA Week 20 of 26

A long morning fog, drizzle in the night, lushness in the field. It feels really nice to walk the farm right now, especially after such a droughty summer. The last planting of winter greens germinated perfectly with the rain, and the earlier batch that came in but spottily, is all there now. Timing -- heat and day length are the two main physiological variables -- is now the thing to watch. The upshot, though, is a green farm. On the greens front: kale, lettuce, and bok choy are new for the week. I will grab the arugula and spicy mesclun next week.

After a soil test this fall, I discovered the farm soil to be a bit more acid than the test last year. That's exciting news, as it's something measurable to correct among a raft of other more nebulous movements toward farm health. I ferried 13,000 lbs of lime (and gypsum) to the farm last week, then stacked the bags in the greenhouse with workshare James. I will be throwing it in a cart to spread in the months to come, thinking all the while of happier tomatoes and carrots. On that end, I have put together a preliminary review of each crop this year. It's super informative, but probably super boring for the non-farmer. Have a look if you're curious.

I have also been pondering how to phase the CSA onward and out of its start-up phase. I re-did all of the "CSA" information on the website, so if you are curious about the farm next year, do have a look. The principal alteration is a 'buffet' style CSA: so no points, no pounds, no gallons; just take what you need for the week. The price would be related to household size. It hasn't happened yet, so please let me know what you think if you're thinking about being a member again.

See you on the Farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Bok Choy*
Chard(s)
Lettuce*
Kale*

Veggies
Bean, Soy/Edamame (last week's)
Eggplant
Leek
Okra
Pepper, Sweet
Squash, Summer
Squash, Winter*
Tomatoes

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Fennel, Bulb
Onion
Potato
Sunroot (Jerusalem Artichoke)*
Sweet Potatoes
Turnip, Winter*

Herbs
Cilantro
Garlic
Lemongrass*
Pepper, Hot

Flowers
Flowers
Corn Stalks
Pumpkin Gourds

 The Spicy Mix pops up.

The Spicy Mix pops up.

 Sitting out at pick-up, they just seemed so pretty. Mostly 'Rossa di Milano' on the left, with a bit of 'Red Wethersfield.' 'Dorata di Parma' and 'Clear Dawn' on the right.

Sitting out at pick-up, they just seemed so pretty. Mostly 'Rossa di Milano' on the left, with a bit of 'Red Wethersfield.' 'Dorata di Parma' and 'Clear Dawn' on the right.

Abundance

 'Long Island Cheese' and 'Rouge Vif D'Etampes' winter squash curing in the greenhouse. Not pictured are 'Candystick Dessert' Delicata, 'Burgess Buttercup', 'Spaghetti', 'Waltham' Butternut, 'Nantucket Long Pie', and 'Seminole'.

'Long Island Cheese' and 'Rouge Vif D'Etampes' winter squash curing in the greenhouse. Not pictured are 'Candystick Dessert' Delicata, 'Burgess Buttercup', 'Spaghetti', 'Waltham' Butternut, 'Nantucket Long Pie', and 'Seminole'.

2017 Week 41, Summer CSA Week 19 of 26

While this first year has hit a few crops hard -- 90% losses on onions, potatoes, garlic, carrots, etc. -- I harvested 30 bins of sweet potatoes last week, which is about a half ton. For a tiny farm, that's pretty sweet. It also made me recognize a feeling I had been missing: abundance. It's the best part about farming, and its absence is at the heart of the worst. But, yes, all the better spirits of the farm dwell in its abundance.

So, sweet potatoes are up -- curing at the moment, but they should be ready Wednesday -- while that odd 36 degree morning brought the basil down. This is the last week of my favorite -- and your least favorite :) -- crop on the farm: edamame! Get it while you can! This rain is washing the newly spread milky spore into the ground, which we with-crossed-fingers hope will progressively reduce the Japanese beetle population -- who so loved the rhubarb, raspberries, rose hips, and asparagus this year.

Speaking of the rain, it has been a month since we had more than a passing drop of rain, so even this less-than-an-inch event is very much appreciated. The winter spinach, especially, will like it for moisture, as well as temperature, in its germination. I seeded two and a quarter miles of winter greens (by the row), but still quizzically peer at its potential. This rain should clear up any confusion as to its germination.

Be so well,
See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Chard(s)
Tokyo Bekana

Veggies
Bean, Snap
Bean, Soy/Edamame
Eggplant
Leek, Fall
Okra
Pepper, Sweet
Squash, Summer
Tomatoes

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Onion
Potato
Sweet Potatoes*
Turnip, Salad

Herbs
Cilantro
Garlic
Pepper, Hot
Peppermint*
Spearmint*

Flowers
Flowers
Corn Stalks
Pumpkin gourds

 Sweet Potatoes come out, so cleanly.

Sweet Potatoes come out, so cleanly.

Homecoming

 Bulb Fennel (l) and the last planting of Summer Squash (r) in the roll-killed Soybean &amp; Millet cover.

Bulb Fennel (l) and the last planting of Summer Squash (r) in the roll-killed Soybean & Millet cover.

2017 Week 40, Summer CSA Week 18 of 26

My best farming memories are in autumn, drinking morning tea with the new morning grogginess, harvesting the winter radishes just past the early-coming dark, or feeling an odd peace settling into the light, now red, in every corner of the farm. The rush now is different, too. These last big jobs are the last big jobs, and we do not have a word big enough for that feeling of contentment. Except, maybe, autumn.

We have one good, busy month ahead of us. I will start on the sweet potatoes today -- please give them a week to cure in the greenhouse -- plant one last big batch of spinach and lettuce for the winter, make room for the fall-planted garlic, transplant the winter herbs, and harvest all the last drying tea herbs before the frost. And then the orchard finally gets some love.

If you have any extra used bags to leave for your fellow members, I am sure they would be grateful.

Also, note that some wee pumpkin gourds and corn stalks will be in the share this week.

Be well & See you on the farm,
Austin

Expected Harvest

Greens
Chard(s)
Komatsuna*

Veggies
Bean, Snap
Bean, Soy/Edamame
Eggplant
Leek, Fall
Okra
Pepper, Sweet
Squash, Summer
Tomatoes

Roots
Beets
Carrots
Onion
Potato
Turnip, Salad

Herbs
Basil, Italian -- if healthy.
Cilantro
Garlic
Pepper, Hot
Tea herb not yet chosen*

Flowers
Corn Stalks*
Pumpkin gourds*

*New This Week

 A not-so-great photo of Rotation E's Soybean &amp; Millet roll-killed in-situ mulch, 6 weeks later. That's some wee 'North Pole' lettuce just transplanted in the right-most bed. It's working way better than I thought, so 'Yay!'

A not-so-great photo of Rotation E's Soybean & Millet roll-killed in-situ mulch, 6 weeks later. That's some wee 'North Pole' lettuce just transplanted in the right-most bed. It's working way better than I thought, so 'Yay!'