Well folks, we made it! The start of the TC3 Farm CSA is here. It’s hard to believe, but we are embarking on our 5th season and I’m appreciative that you are taking this journey with us. We have a long way to go, but the farm has grown immensely since our first summer when it was me and a rototiller. It’s been a whirlwind start to the season. We broke ground about 3 weeks later than we usually do because of the cold wet spring we had and then things got unseasonably warm. Definitely a strange start to the season but we are doing our best to be resilient. There’s a great group of student interns this summer who have been working their tails off since they started at the end of May. We’ve been doing our best to get ourselves caught up. I don’t have an exact number but there are probably close to 20,000 plants in the ground already. I think we’re about a week behind at the moment and with all the uncertainties that come with farming, I’d say that’s pretty good. I could go on and on with all that we’ve been up to but that would take way too long. Some highlights so far for this season are: we have 25 varieties (700 plus plants) of beefsteak, cherry and heirloom tomatoes planted in the hoophouses, 1000 new strawberry plants got put in the ground and after last season’s complete onion failure (I don’t even want to get into it), there are 6000 onions, leeks and shallots in the ground and they are doing pretty good.
In addition to all the transplanting, cultivating, greenhouse seeding, field preparation that we’ve been up to, I also take students on field trips to area farms and food businesses that make up our local food system. This is an important aspect to our program because I think it’s crucial for our students to see all the different possibilities for careers within the food system.
We started off the summer with a trip to one of our Sustainable Farming and Food Systems graduates’ operation, Blue Spade Farm, where meat goats are raised. It was great for our current students to see a former student carve a niche for themselves in the agricultural world. This week, we went to visit our friends over at Edible Acres.
They are a local nursery that specializes in hardy perennial plant stock. We got to visit their home site, where they have converted a half-acre lot into an edible food forest using permaculture principles. It’s a homesteaders dream!
Let’s talk about this week’s CSA share. The beginning of the season is all about greens. This week there will be a choice of beautiful mini romaine lettuces, swiss chard, kale, mizuna (which is a very mild Asian mustard green), another Asian greens mix, radishes, carrots (stored from last season), seedlings (lots of herbs, cucumbers and tomatoes to choose from) and I’m hopeful that there will be strawberries (we’ll check them on Wednesday. All of the greens can be used as a salad or stir fry this week. This year’s strawberry crop isn’t the best. With all the rain we got last season, the plants didn’t fare so well, plus the patch got super weedy. But as I mentioned above, we planted 1000 new plants this season.
Have a great week!