Week of September 25th – CSA Newsletter

Ok, so it’s September 25th. Fall is officially here and we just had our best stretch of weather all season by a long shot. These are strange times, my friends. I am definitely not complaining but we sure could have used some of these dry, warm days back in July. Aah, the life of a farmer. Loves being outside but never truly content with the weather.

Last week was a big week of visitors to the TC3 Farm. There were 3 different classes from Tompkins Cortland (2 English and 1 Environmental Science) and a group from New Roots High School. All in all, it was around 50 students out for a visit. It’s always great to have folks out for a visit and expose them to what we do at the TC3 Farm and all the hard work that the Sustainable Farming and Food Systems do during their internship. In the very least, I hope that we get folks thinking about where their food comes from and how their food choices can impact the local food system.

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Week of September 18th – CSA Newsletter

We love spotting a praying mantis in the field!

Alrighty folks, week 15 of the CSA  is here! We have 7 weeks of the CSA season left. I was getting a little worried about how the weather seemed to be turning so quickly but we got a nice reprise of Summer-like days, especially over the weekend, and this week looks like a perfect one.

Getting ready to seed an oats/peas cover crop.

I was able to take advantage and start planting cover crops in some areas that are done for the season. Cover crops play an important role on our farm in the fall/winter. Cover crops suppress winter weeds, provide erosion control, add organic matter and return nutrients to the soil. These are all important things since we don’t use any synthetic fertilizers or herbicides on our farm. It was pretty good timing when I got them in on Wednesday because we had a nice little rain on Thursday. When we were out in the field today, I noticed that they had germinated over the weekend. Hopefully, there will be a few more weeks of nice weather to help them establish themselves. I’ll keep you posted.

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Week of September 11th – CSA Newsletter

The weeks keep rolling by as we get closer to the impending end of the season. The mornings are much cooler and darker when I start my day and I’m afraid that I’ll be adding more and more layers sooner than later. But the optimist in me is ever hopeful that we will have a resurgence of warm dry days. As Autumn quickly approaches, we shift gears a little to start to get ahead. With the uncertainty of the weather, we want to stay on top of getting crops out of the ground. Last week we got a jump on getting a chunk of our potatoes and carrots out of the ground. Most of our potatoes have died back (their tops of turned brown and are starting to wilt) and because they are planted near our tomatoes that have late blight, it’s hard to tell if they are diseased or not.

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Week of September 4th – CSA Newsletter

Sunrise over the farm

Ok, so who forgot to pay their heating bill? Saying last week was unseasonably cool would be an understatement. We had nights in the 40s and even a couple that were right below 40. Friends of mine that farm in Cortland County even had a light frost. Yowza! I always look forward to the fall and cooler temperatures but this is definitely too early for me. There’s not too much that can be done so I try not to worry about it that much.

The students doing their internship on the farm this semester had a great week. There’s a lot to get caught up to speed but they seem to be rolling along with it. A lot of what we do for the first part of the semester is harvesting and post-harvest handling of vegetables with a little bit of planting sprinkled in. They seem to be catching on quick and are asking great questions and being thorough with their work. We’ve got a lot of work to do before the farm is put to “bed” for the season, so I’m hopeful that the momentum will continue.

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Week of August 28th – CSA Newsletter

Welcome to the CSA members who are starting pickups for the Fall Only share!

This past week marked the start of a new semester and that means a new “crop” of students who are doing their internship at the TC3 Farm. The start of the fall semester is always an interesting time because I am in full on farm mode going 101 mph and then I have to come to a screeching halt to get new students up to speed. I appreciate the new energy on the farm but it always takes a little time for folks to get acclimated. But the work doesn’t stop and these fine young folks will get thrown into the deep end of the pool. Let’s hope they don’t sink ;). We spent the first class doing an in-depth farm walk to familiarize themselves with the farm. This week, it’s back to the grind of harvesting and field work.

A big thank you to the folks who came out to the farm over the weekend to help us do a little weeding. We had a great turnout and got through a bunch of beds.

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Week of August 21st – CSA Newsletter

The sun rising over the farm

How are we just a couple of weeks away from September? This season is rolling right by. Here we are at week 11, halfway through our CSA season.

This past week we said goodbye to our student workers through Challenge’s Summer Youth Employment Program. They were a great group who were absolute troopers. Working on a farm is challenging. Your outside in all sorts of weather, your body is in weird positions for long periods of time and you do a lot of the same tasks over and over (I’m looking at you weeding). But these young folks persevered. Always doing what was asked of them with great enthusiasm. They will surely be missed.

Last week I ran into a CSA member who has a Fall Only share. They said, “Todd, what’s up with the woodchucks this year?” I just smiled and said that they haven’t been an issue this season. For those of you who are new to the TC3 Farm CSA or those who may have forgotten about the Great Woodchuck Battle of 2016, last year’s damage due to woodchucks was one of the worst I have seen in my years of farming. This relief in pressure is most likely two-fold. First, there has been a significant amount of rain this year (have you noticed?). This means that there are plenty of lush plants that are not our vegetables for them to munch on. Secondly, and this is just a theory but it makes sense to me, is that we dispatched such a large number of those little suckers, um, I mean, beautiful little creatures, that we actually knocked back the population for the time being. There has been some damage to some of our crops that a woodchuck could be the culprit of but it also may be from a rabbit as well. Anyhow, the update for 2017 is that there is no significant damage due to woodchucks.

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