Thursday, March 31, 2016

A March Like No Other

It is the last day of what seems to have been an endless March. This year has come to life about as early as we have ever seen. The fields are planted with potatoes, peas, onions, herbs, lettuce, carrots, beets, chard, cabbage and broccoli. A first from what our records show.

This unique situation has made us anxious, hopefully in a good way. Timing is everything with vegetable growing. The soil has felt wonderful, and things seem to be doing well.

Tom and I are joined this year by apprentices, Kimberly and Karen, along with Jody, who has returned for a third season here working part-time. Add in the CSA members and our farm team for 2016 is set.

Thanks to the Core Group for a smooth as always sign-up meeting. The cash flow that CSA brings to the farm in mid-March is another example of how timing is everything. Thanks to all new and returning members.

Big news for the CSA:  we have a new site in the crossroads to pick up your share. The partners of the soon-to-be opening, Lifted Spirits Distillery at 1732 Cherry Street, just blocks away from the old Bad Seed, have graciously allowed us to use their space for CSA distribution. We are very grateful to their willingness to house us after a long search. 

In 2004 our first CSA share went out at the Crossroads farmers market started by local food pioneer, Heather Hands and her store, Local Harvest at 18th and Wyandotte. After a short stint on 39th Street we returned to the Crossroads and resided at Bad Seed for the past eight years. We are thrilled to keep our roots in this vibrant part of KCMO. 

For those who may be hesitant about the "bar" ambiance, we will be in a back store room that has it's own entrance, so no one will need to walk through a haze of spirits to get their produce.  But, of course, you can swing by the front of the building on your way, if you so desire.

Back on the farm, we have ambiance too.  Enjoy the roll of photos below.

Working on the deer fence

In the greenhouse

New cover crop planter-part of our SARE project

Row covering the cabbage
Home field at dusk

Sign up
Easter egg hen

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Getting Ready for the Season

While it has been a bit since we last posted, it is not because of a lack of activity on the farm. The modern world has shifted some of our on-line presence to our Instagram (fairsharefarm) and Facebook (Fair Share Farm-Community Supported Agriculture) accounts. They are linked together and are a convenient way for us to keep you informed on our daily progress.

Among the recent goings-on has been the burning of the native grasses on the parts of the farm surrounding our vegetable operation. Burning 175 acres is a two-day job, and we are happy that we were able to keep things tamed. Much of this area drains into our irrigation pond and our fields. Having our water flow through a restored prairie prior to using is yet another benefit of how the Graff family is managing the overall farm.

Our flock of 54 hens has grown from chicks in August to the egg layers of  the present. Between these birds and the flock at Urbavore Farm, we are happy to say that we expect to be able to provide egg shares for all those who want this year.
Late morning laying and brooding at FSF
On the vegetable front the greenhouse work has been going as good as ever. This year we started buying organic compost instead of making it ourselves. We are really impressed with the results we are getting from the Purple Cow Organics potting mix. It is saving us the time of mixing our own potting soil (all farm workers and apprentices cheer at this point), and the results have been consistent with extremely healthy plants.

Onions acclimating to the outdoors
Planting and seeding in the high tunnel has been going on for almost a month, and we are itching to get out into the field this week once the dampness from yesterday's rain is gone. Spinach is already in the ground, and we will next be planting potatoes, followed by the seeding of peas, carrots and beets. Kale, cabbage, lettuce and herbs are soon to follow. It may be an early spring this year.

Planting lettuce in the high tunnel
Potatoes warmed to the sprouting stage and ready for the ground.
Lastly for now is a reminder for all our members of the Annual Spring Sign-up Meeting on March 19 from 2 to 4 pm at St. James Lutheran Church on Vivion Road.

All Members:  Each share MUST send a representative.  You will be signing contracts, scheduling farm shifts, making first payments and potentially signing up with our Partner Vendors.

New Members:  Arrive promptly at 2pm for a 30-minute orientation

Returning Members:  Arrive any time between 2 – 3:15 pm. 

Don't forget to bring your checkbooks & calendars!   FSF does not have the capacity to accept credit cards on site, but we can invoice you through Paypal after the event.  Our Partner Vendors can only accept cash or checks.  You can also sign up for your farm shifts through our online system with your smart phone or one of our farm shift schedulers can get it done during the event.

Can’t make the date?  Reply to this email for info. on our alternate signup.