Well, folks, we made it. The 4th season of the TC3 Farm CSA is complete. A big heartfelt thanks to all of you for supporting the farm this year! It really means a lot.
Just like last year, the weather had a huge impact on the growing season. I know I’ve mentioned this in earlier newsletters, but after experiencing an extreme drought and extreme wet weather in back to back years, I’d take the drought over the wet 10 out of 10 times. They both have their own issues but we can do more in a dry year. A wet year like this poses a whole lot of problems. First and foremost, it’s hard to get fields prepped when it’s always raining. And that throws planting schedules off or plantings get completely missed, especially with a lot of direct seeded crops, which happened plenty of times. Then there’s the weed pressure. All plants love water and the weeds are no different. Disease pressure also tends to be a little higher during a wet season. The plants rarely had time to dry out, which made them a little more susceptible to certain diseases. Pests are pests and they will always be an issue but I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen more snails or slugs than I have this season.
Even in an extremely wet year, there were a lot of positives. This was our largest CSA membership to date. We’ve almost doubled in shares since our first season in 2014. Again, thanks to you all who have been with us since the beginning and to those who have joined over the years. I also think that our new share options worked out pretty good. It’s always a little nerve-racking to think if there is enough food each week but I think we did well in that department. Even with crop failures (I’ll get to that in a bit), there was a good amount of diversity each week. I think that there were only a few weeks out of the 22 where a new item wasn’t introduced. And let’s give a little shout out to carrots and spinach. Those are two crops that we have struggled with over the years. In previous years, there may have been 1 or 2 distributions of little dinky carrots and that definitely was not the case this season. This was also the first year that we had spinach in this shares. It definitely wasn’t as often as I would have liked (or what we had planned) but it was a start.
In addition to the many missed plantings (many of the fall direct seeded greens) due to the wet weather, there were also plenty of crop failures this year. We spend a lot of time in the winter months planning our farm season with what we are going to grow. But once April comes around, we tend to be at the mercy of the weather. For better or for worse. Many, if not most, of our fall crops that were transplanted did terrible. A lot of it was due to both weed pressure and it just being too wet. I think one of the best things about being a diversified farm is that we’re not “putting all of our eggs in one (or a few) baskets”. In any given year some things are going to do well and others not so well. This year was a prime example of that.
Last week’s big project was harvesting carrots. The mud and rain couldn’t stop us. There was huge puddles everywhere and our feet were getting stuck as we moved along the bed. But we made a big dent with the remaining carrots in the field and will continue to harvest them of the next couple of weeks.
Alrighty, drumroll please…… The last share of the 2017 season will have a choice of eggplant, spinach, kale, fingerling potatoes, beets, carrots, kohlrabi, black radishes, fennel, watermelon radishes, beefsteaks, heirlooms, cherry tomatoes, green tomatoes, garlic, hot peppers, rutabagas, green peppers, sweet peppers, suntan peppers (these are peppers that are in between green and sweet) and parsley.
Thanks again for such a wonderful season! Until next time…..