Well, folks, we made it. Another CSA season is in the books and I can’t thank you all enough for taking this roller coaster of a farm season with us and for supporting the TC3 Farm! Many of you have been with us since year one, while others have joined along the way and for some, this is your first season being a CSA member. We’ve come a long way since that first season when it was just myself and a roto-tiller. I had minimal help that first summer, since the degree program didn’t start until that fall. There wasn’t a barn to work out of, a cooler to store veggies in, sinks to wash in or hoophouses or a greenhouse to grow veggies in year-round. I was driving all over Dryden and Cortland, relying on the help of friends who wanted to support the farm by giving us a place to start vegetable seeds, wash and store vegetables and even a little space to grow some food. Now, after completing our 5th CSA season, the farm is starting to come into its own. There’s still a ways to go but with the support of awesome members, like you all, we can get there!
Throw your hands in the air and wave ’em like you just don’t care for Mudfest 2018!
This has been a rough month, to say the least. Not exactly what I had envisioned after an amazing summer and a great start to September. But now we are trudging through mud to the finish line, as the 2018 CSA season nears the end. The cool, wet and muddy conditions have caused a great deal of angst this month. There is standing water in many of our fields and many crops just perished with all the wetness we’ve had. Due to the lack of sun and an unseasonably cold late September and October, many crops just haven’t grown to size or barely at all. Ah, such is the life of the modern day farmer.
Operating a CSA is a big challenge, especially with the changing climate. Sharing the risk with great members like you all, make it worth it. Overall, it’s been a fantastic season. We just have a slight limp to the finish line. When I switched to start offering two different share sizes and the free-choice model last season, I wanted to make sure that I could accommodate the variation in the weather and not be bound to a set amount of food each week. I feel great that through 20 weeks of the CSA season, we distributed the high-end (or exceeded) amount of veggies 13 times. I do the best I can to plan around the weather, it’s just that sometimes it’s completely out of the farmer’s hands.
Last week was one of the coldest weeks that I can remember for mid-October. We usually experience some light frosts in early October but nothing like what happened this past week. With the temperatures dipping like they did, we focused on clearing out the hoophouse tomatoes and peppers so they wouldn’t be a complete loss. After harvesting those crops, we turned our attention to the field and got as many beets out of the field as we could. That was an eye-opening experience for the students. It was last Wednesday and it was a cold and wet day. As we were out there, the rain turned into sleet for a while. Just as morale was deteriorating, the sleet/rain stopped and the sun was shining. But that was short-lived, as the sleet returned. Everyone persevered through it and we were able to accomplish what we set out to. I also had a window to prep the ground where our garlic is going to be planted for next season. I was a little nervous about getting the tractor back in the field with how wet it has been but the weather cooperated for a couple of days and I was able to get in late Friday afternoon. If everything goes as planned, we’ll plant garlic next week.
Well, after a promising start to last week, weather-wise, the wet, cold weather has come back with a vengeance. Looking ahead at the forecast things don’t look too great for the remainder of the season. We had our first sub 40 degree night over the weekend and it looks like our first frost will be hitting us later this week and the possibility of the dreaded 4 letter S-word. But we shall see. With temps dipping below 40 degrees and the threat of frost coming, many crops will perish with the cold temperatures. It’s been a good run but all things must come to an end. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Light frosts will actually start to sweeten many of the crops that are still in the ground. And we still have a lot to get out. My hope is that there will still be enough time before we are in consistent sub-freezing temperatures. We’ll do a big push this week to get out as much as we can. We’ll actually start with the peppers and tomatoes in the hoophouses since most of our remaining field crops can handle the weather. Even though the hoophouses add some extra warmth, the lack of sun and close to freezing temperatures will surely mean the end of those crops. If we get them out this week, we should be able to have them for the remainder of the CSA season.
The wet weather of October continues. We got close to 3 inches of rain last week and the fields are an absolute mess at the moment. There’s standing water in some parts and soupy mud in others. We haven’t gotten enough sun to really dry things out. A lot of the late season field work I was hoping for may not happen. I’m just hoping for enough of a dry spell that I can do one last field prep of where the garlic will be planted later this month. One of the benefits of being a mostly human-powered farm, is that we are still able to get out into the fields to harvest and some cleanup projects. It’s not ideal but we are able to do it. I feel for our neighbors who have livestock or dairy operations and are struggling to get corn harvested or hay cut. Aah, the joys of farming.
Well, folks, we are now entering the home stretch of the CSA season now that October is upon us. The leaves are beginning to change and the weather outside feels like fall. A friend and I were talking about how if we were getting the current temps in April, we would be rejoicing. But now, … Read more