Thursday, January 24, 2013

2013 Is On the Way

The season has begun. Traditionally the day that the first seed of the year is planted is when we know we are at the beginning of the growing season. Our anticipation is high, as are our hopes. We feel that our plan to grow to 150 members and add a full-time employee is a bold move, and one we embrace.

Growing food for a living and feeding a portion of the local community is not the type of livelyhood Rebecca or I saw in our cards during our school years. But as we enter our tenth CSA season we know that there is nothing else we would rather be doing. So we look forward to watching the wonders that come from feeding the soil and growing plants, to welcoming hens to the farm, to eating the best food imaginable, to sharing it all with a supportive community, and to the sweat and sore muscles that tell us we did our best.

We still have lots of openings at our four distribution locations, so head over to our website, or send a link to a friend and join in the experience that is Community Supported Agriculture.

First seed of the 2013 season
This is our first Spring with a high tunnel, so what we need to do to get it ready for the harvesting of mid-April crops is new to us. We do have a clue though, and began in earnest on Wednesday prepping the ground. Step one was to clear out any remaining debris and weeds from the Fall planting. This is to help keep down disease and bug pressure from leftover pests.

Next step was to give the soil a breath of fresh air. The broadfork is the tool used by many to open up the soil down to a foot or so, and to help loosen it up for seedbed prep. Below are a couple photos of Rebecca in action. It is as good a workout as any stationary bike or treadmill, so if you need some exercise don't spend your money at the gym, come out to the farm. There is another 800 feet of broadforking to go.

Stabbing the broadfork
Driving in the broadfork

Prepping the high tunnel
Of course the fields will need attention soon too. A week ago we got our delivery of Missouri Organic compost. Two truckloads will be spread throughout the season to add organic matter and nutrients to the soil. We learned last year that it arrives a little hot, so we got it early and plan to spread some the next time the pile isn't frozen.

20 yards of compost
And now we know where to find Rocky first thing on a cold morning. You can't blame him for sleeping on a warm pile of compost instead of the cold ground. He even prefers it to the staw bale dog-house we built him. And of course there is nothing like a compost-dust covered dog to nuzzle up to you in the morning.

Rocky staying warm on the compost pile

Monday, January 14, 2013

If it is January and you are still looking for that perfect calendar, now is the opportunity to buy the 2013 Fair Share Farm CSA Farming Calendar at a reduced price. At $10 each they are a bargain, and the profits go towards our 2013 capital fund.

Click on the photo in the upper right corner of this blog and you will be directed to our website, where you can purchase them. We appreciate your support.

Tom and Rebecca

Welcome to 2013

Well it has been awhile since our last post, but we are still here. We have been spending our December with family, friends and each other. A trip to New Mexico, Xmas with my family in Cincinnati, and some down time at the farm has been quite rejuvenating.

On the train

Relaxing at the hot springs

On the pond with friends
January brings us back to business, and the excitement of the coming 2013 CSA season. Our 2011 apprentice Luke Knutter has joined us full-time. He will help us gear up as we expand the CSA to 150 shares, and will also be learning all the details of running the farm.

One of the first orders of business was tractor maintenance. Our gas tractor (aka Grandpa) was leaking and falling apart a bit by the end of the season and in need of maintenance. Immobile in December, he was a pretty sight nontheless in the snow. But we got him running and look forward to a repair free 2013.

Grandpa in the snow

Tractor repair
These first two weeks of the year have been filled with work, including: placing the seed order, ordering equipment, fixing tractors, cleaning the lower barn, designing a new cooler, planning for a laying chicken operation, entering 2012 data into the computer, presenting at the Great Plains Growers Conference, cleaning out the high tunnel, finding this year's apprentices, scouting out a new Brookside distribution site, and meeting with the Core Group yesterday.

We plan to begin seeding the onions and leeks in the greenhouse sometime this week. Signup information will be filling your in-boxes in the next day or so too, as we finalize the details of the coming season's costs, dates, and distribution locations.

The snow is gone, and warm weather is forecast for later this week. And while Rocky will miss the snow, we will have plenty of chances to walk the farm with him.

Rocky prancing at sunrise
Snow angels