Week of October 2nd – CSA Newsletter

Well, it’s finally happened….. The first frost of the year. After another beautiful start to the week, the end of last week finally returned to appropriate fall temperatures. And then over the weekend we had our first two frosty mornings. The first frost of the season is always a little bittersweet to me. I look at it as the end of the summer season of vegetables and then the true start of the fall heartiness. Lots of the fall crops that we grow begin to sweeten up as their sugars go into overdrive with the cooler nighttime temperatures. Our fall carrots (which we haven’t begun to harvest yet) really benefit from this. Even though we had these frosts, there wasn’t too much damage. I was hoping to get one more harvest of basil but it was toast this morning when I got out to the field. The only other crop that showed any significant signs of damage was our beans. We have two more plantings out in the field, one that we started harvesting last week and one that is loaded with flowers. I’m hopeful that we’ll still get some more beans but we’ll have to wait and see.

Last week we continued to our push to get ready for the winter months on the farm. Because the weather can turn to the point of no return at any moment, we are trying to get larger quantities of our root crops out of the ground. We were able to get more beets, carrots and potatoes out of the ground. Hopefully, most of the rest of them will be out by the end of the month. Another big job last week was to “top” our heirloom tomato plants.

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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 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 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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Week of August 14th – CSA Newsletter

It was a somewhat quiet week on the farm last week. The Sustainable Farming and Food Systems students are done with their Summer Internship, although we had a couple of students who came out because they missed the farm so much :)! I even took a long weekend to enjoy a camping trip with my family. And even though taking a 3.5 year old on her first camping trip is exhausting, it was a much needed break from the grind of a farm season. We still have our youth workers through the end of this week, so we plugged away at as many projects as we could get through. We took a break from a lot of the ongoing hand weeding and focused some of our energy on some lingering housekeeping. The barn and classroom got a great cleaning and we got mostly caught up on a project that is usually done in the late fall, sanitizing our seedling trays. “Why do we sanitize our trays?” I’m glad that you asked. Even though our plants don’t spend a lot of time in their trays, we want to make sure that we aren’t harboring any diseases that may linger into the next season. It’s not the most glamorous job but it’s an important one. Another glamour-free job that we started to tackle last week was moving rocks. The joke around hear (any many of my friends) is that the best crop on the farm are rocks. Some of the rocks in our fields (ok, most of them), make transplanting, direct seeding, weeding and even harvesting a real pain. We move them out of the fields into big piles at the end of our beds, always thinking that we’ll get to moving them. Well, that usually doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. This past week we moved about 2-3 tons into our massive rock pile. My estimates is that we’ve pulled about 20 tons of rocks out of our fields since we started farming this land. So, if you were looking for some rocks for a project around the house, just let me know:) 

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Week of August 7th – CSA Newsletter

Holy smokes, we made it through last week without any rain until Friday night. What a relief! That meant lots of busy work on the tractor. We were able to get a field mowed that has had standing water for most of the season. The next step is to get it plowed so we can … Read more