And We're Off

 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%.

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.